It’s not often that you see bibles in a retailer’s window in the heart of an Australian city. Yet this is what Dymocks on Adelaide’s busy Rundle Mall did earlier this year, to promote Valerie Volk’s latest book, Bystanders.
Trevor Klein, sales manager of Wakefield Press, who published Bystanders, Valerie’s sixth book, said it looks at familiar biblical stories from a different perspective, and that’s the appeal.
‘This is not a hyper-religious book’, he said, implying this is why Wakefield could safely take it on.
‘It’s a gentle introduction to Old and New Testament stories; it helps people to understand the Bible by bringing by them into direct contact with the stories. But it also takes readers who already know the stories to places they’ve never been before.
‘Valerie’s interpretation of each story from a bystander’s perspective is fantastic’, the publisher said. ‘The book is beautifully written; it’s up there with her best.’
Bystanders was officially launched on 1 October, at General Convention of Synod, where Valerie was the delegate for her congregation, Novar Gardens, Adelaide. Executive director of Lutheran Education Australia, Stephen Rudolph, who did the honours at the launch, says the book would be ‘entirely suitable for mid- and upper-secondary students, but also [would be] very appealing and engaging to the wider community’, as it urges readers ‘to think further and go deeper’.
Noting that the appendix contains questions relating to each chapter, he says ‘Bystanders is a ready-made resource’ for examination of issues such as domestic violence, family relationships, and roles of women.
Valerie hopes the book will be used as a teaching resource in Lutheran and other schools, in small-group studies in congregations, and for private reading and reflection.
Bystanders is available from Wakefield Press or directly from Valerie at her website.