With so many Christian books published every year, it's increasingly difficult to get noticed on the shelves (particularly as there aren't as many shelves these days). The phenomenal response to our first round-up of extraordinary book covers from the 1970s and 80s might suggest that the best route to popularity is to hire a terrible illustrator, choose an entirely random title, and then ramp up the kitsch.
Whether publishers choose to follow my old-school success recipe is entirely up to them. Anyway, here are eight more terrific examples of the genre, a gift that just keeps on giving...
Jogging with Jesus - CS Lovett
Don't let the typography or the tracksuit fool you - this book is only 36 years old. C S Lovett (who also wrote 'Unequally yoked wives') clearly isn't. The back cover blurb pitches it as a guide to help you 'enjoy the benefits of jogging and at the same time develop a glorious relationship with the Lord.' That's right: it's not even a metaphor.
Time to Act - Paul Burbridge and Murray Watts
Well this might upset some people; those in dramatic circles would consider this book a classic. I include it because it beautifully illustrates the randomness that only 80s+90s Christian drama could deliver. Not even Monty Python would create a sketch featuring a circus ringmaster, a 19th century chamber maid, a soldier, a turkish clown and a puppet. Visionary stuff.
A Christian Response to Dungeons & Dragons - Peter Liethart & George Grant
There's a lot of words on this cover, but just enough room for a subtext-laden illustration of a 'beast' capturing vulnerable young people. D&D was of huge concern to the Christians of the 1980s, who saw it taking their children away from Bible studies and into dangerous encounters with 20-sided dice. This important book will undoubtedly have saved many lives.
Anybody Can Be Cool... - Lorraine Peterson
Fashion styles and ethnicities are effortless balanced in this majestic cover for a teen devotional. With its super-culturally-relevant title and attractive models, this image was reportedly the inspiration for 90s TV series Saved By The Bell.
NB: My greatest sadness in writing this article has been not being able to track down a copy of 'IF GOD LOVES ME, WHY CAN'T I GET MY LOCKER OPEN?'
The Giant Awakes - Jim Graham
Let's just explore this metaphor for a moment. The church is a giant, chained to the wall of... a church. So what is that church a metaphor for? A giant perhaps? Man, that's a thinker...
Feeling Great, Doing Right, Hanging Tough - Various
The leaping girl is doing her best to dress for the 80s while expressing a degree of biblical modesty, but this one is really all about the title. If you were to sum up the teenage discipleship journey, there are few phrases which do it better than this. The blurb says that the book 'zeroes in on potential problems for youth that can be transformed into blessings.' Inspirational stuff.
Good Morning Lord! - George Shinn
Not much to say about this one, apart from a plea to title writers everywhere. I'd argue from the extensive sub-heading that 'Good Morning Lord!' was probably not the best choice. He could have called it 'God's business', or 'Saved from the brink of bankruptcy' or something. Only a Christian book would make you work this hard to work out what on earth it's about.
Sing 'n' celebrate for kids! - Various
Skipping over the grammatical nightmare that is the 'n', this is brilliant because it's just about the most Christian-looking thing I've ever seen. The rainbow, the jargon, the comic sans-baiting font - all are present and correct and complement the slightly scary illustration of 'all God's children.' The interpretation of this phrase: four white boys, one black boy and a girl, has been implemented by Christian conferences ever since.
Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions for this, especially Elizabeth Massey. If you think you've got material for a third instalment, please tweet me your suggestions.
Martin Saunders is a Contributing Editor for Christian Today and an author, screenwriter and the Deputy CEO of Youthscape.