I’m thrilled to read Mark Oppenheimer’s NYT religion column this week, which is about the glorious Eighth Day Books in Wichita, Kansas, which owner Warren Farha opened after the tragic death of his first wife in a car accident. Excerpt:
“It’s like putting together my best constellation of books,” Mr. Farha said of his inventory. “I worry from time to time if the bookstore is just a collection of my tastes. I hope it’s bigger than that.”
Mr. Farha, who with his second wife had a third child, has no plans to retire. When he does, none of his three children will take over. They have no interest. “It’s O.K.,” he said. “They’re all beautiful kids, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them.”
I wondered if he considered the store a form of evangelism. “Is it a Christian mission?” I asked.
He thought for a while. Eventually, he decided.
“It’s not a mission,” he said. “I just think by definition, if you have books that articulate truth, that it’s going to be a de facto Christian mission, because I don’t think you can separate different truths from each other. They’re all connected.”
And order something from the Eighth Day website. It’s not a substitute for being there, though. It’s definitely worth a roadtrip. You can tell from Mark’s column how one-of-a-kind this bookstore is. Treasure it. I was sorry to learn from the piece that the store may not survive Warren, but then I thought well, of course: Eighth Day is Warren. If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for? Though it’s not technically a Christian bookstore — a fact that Mark highlights in his opening paragraph — it’s nevertheless a pilgrimage site for Christian booklovers. I wrote about it earlier this year, calling it a “great American institution.” Now the readers of The New York Times will know all about it. Happy.