The reason you should head to the classics section is that the books there have staying power. Most of the modern books in the store will be forgotten ten years from now. However, if a book remains in print several hundred years after it is first published, then you can almost be certain that it is worth reading.
My good friend Micah Thornton is moving this week to Louisville, KY to attend Boyce College. Since he won't have enough to read while there (ha-ha), I decided to swing by our Lifeway store to pick up a few books for him. I didn't even bother glancing at the "New Arrivals" section. Yuck. I headed straight to the classics. It was easy to find good books there. I purchased these four:
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (and 11 more classic messages) by Jonathan Edwards
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Joy by Charles Spurgeon
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I didn't want to only buy books written long ago. There are, after all, some good books penned today. I have found the Jerry Bridges almost always writes great books on sanctification. Therefore, I bought Micah a copy of The Practice of Godliness.
As modern Americans, we tend to think that anything newer is automatically better. This is far from true when it comes to books, especially Christian books. If you want to be certain of buying a good book, try some Christian classics. There is a reason they are called classics.