Best Selling Books in Sociology of Religion, SSSR 2011

Posted on the Black, White and Gray blog on November 6, 2011, my thoughts on recent bestsellers in sociology of religion this year.

“Last weekend at the meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, I perused the book sale, wondering “What are other people buying? What should I be reading?”

On the last day of the conference, I asked Theo, the religion editor for Oxford University Press, to tell me which of Oxford’s books were selling a lot. He pointed at Christian Smith’s Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, and gave me a knowing look. Oh, yes, I said, all Smith’s books from the National Study of Youth and Religion sell well. Yes, indeed, he replied. If you pick up this book, get ready for a rather depressing read about the dominant culture of some (though clearly not all) youth: hedonism.

Two more books on youth and religion are also selling well, Lisa Pearce and Melinda Denton’s A Faith of Their Own and Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker’s Premarital Sex in America. Both are very popular among my undergrad students, so much so that I have had to put multiple copies on reserve at the library because so many students want to write their research papers using them. Neither should be read if you think your children or youth group attendees are angels; but if you want a sense of what youth culture is really like, pick them up.”

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