although we are in our thirty-fourth year as a magazine, we are still discovering new ways to serve our readers. The most recent evidence is being submitted here: the 1990 CHRISTIANITY TODAY Book Awards.

Not that having book awards qualifies as a new idea. In fact, we have waited this long to introduce book awards because of similar endeavors by other groups and periodicals in the past. So why now? Because, sadly, some of those award lists have ceased to exist. But we also want to add a twist to the old formula.

We begin a new tradition by offering two sets of awards: the Readers’-choice and the Critics’-choice Awards. We decided it would be interesting to find out both what our readers thought were the most significant books in the past year and what the experts thought.

Here is how we did it:

We started with the publishers—both general and Christian—and asked them to nominate books that were released either in late 1988 or 1989. Seven categories were chosen to represent the diverse interests of CT readers: Biography and History, Christian Living and Spirituality, Commentaries, Contemporary Issues, Fiction, Reference and Textbooks, and Theology and Doctrine.

For the Readers’-choice Awards, we published the list of nominations on a ballot in our November 17, 1989, issue. In addition to asking you, our readers, to vote for the most significant book in each category, we also asked you to write in your choice for the Book of the Year. The results appear on the next page.

For the Critics’-choice Awards, the process was more complicated. For each category we assembled a panel of judges who were known to have some expertise in the field being judged. We asked the panel to review the nominations in their category and to select the top six contenders. Then every judge was sent copies of the six semifinalists in his or her category. Based on the rankings of the judges, the winners were determined. The fruit of this intensive labor appears two pages hence.

And so a new tradition begins. We hope you enjoy it.

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