Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Chris and I have been doing a psuedo-monthly book club. So far we've read like three books. Sigh. We will get better :)

Cathleen Falsani, former religion columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times and fellow Wheaton alum put up a summer reading list on her blog, The Dude Abides. I thought I'd recreate it for you all here if you're looking for some good books to read. I'm personally interested in all of them!

by Cathleen Falsani

Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir
By Susan Isaacs
This is one of the funniest, most inspiring books I’ve read in many a summer. Call it a middle-class-white-girl’s Dark Night of the Soul. Isaacs — an actor, writer and comedian — takes God to couples counseling and finds out that her troubled “marriage” is mostly her own, hilarious fault. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, put it this way: “If King David were a woman, and were funny, he'd be Susan Isaacs.”

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett
A friend who lives in rural Mississippi recommended this debut novel to me. “The Help,” she said, “go get it right now!” Set in 1960s Jackson, Miss., during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, Stockett tells the story of an unlikely counter-cultural heroine and young would-be writer named Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, who takes on the racist mores of the “cake-eating, Tab-swilling, cigarette-smoking” white women of Jackson society who enlist the help of black women to raise their children, but don’t trust them to polish the silver. It’s a heavy subject, but Stockett tells the story with wit and compassion.

God Says No
By James Hannaham
Like The Help, Hannaham’s novel navigates the dangerous world where faith and culture clash. In this case, it’s the intersection of religion and sexuality that provides the drama as Gary Gray, a young black man, struggles to reconcile his homosexuality and his Christian faith. Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) calls God Says No, “A tender, funny tour of a mind struggling to do the right thing. A revelatory and sympathetic guide to a misunderstood world.”

Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All
By Scotty McLennan
The author, McLennan, is dean of religious life at Stanford University and the real-life inspiration for the Rev. Scott Sloan of the comic strip Doonesbury fame. His book is a manifesto of sorts for those who are both unapologetically Christian and liberal. He takes readers through the major concerns of liberal Christianity, both theological and social, and draws conclusions that are sure to both enrage and amuse those who don’t share them.

The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels
By Janet Soskice
Set for release on Aug. 20, this book tells the little-known, fascinating story of Agnes and Margaret Smith, identical twins from Scotland who, in the late 19th century, travel to the Holy Lands and discover what were at the time the earliest known copies of the Gospels.

Between Wyomings: My God and an iPod on the Open Road
By Ken Mansfield
Grammy award-winning country music producer Mansfield takes readers on a trip through his own soul via stories from his heady days in the music biz, from the Hollywood Hills to London’s Saville Row to Nashville Honky Tonks. His own journey might inspire you to take your own.

Home Tonight: Further Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son
By Henri Nouwen
This slim paperback by the late theologian and author Nouwen is a gem. Long a favorite of mine, Nouwen tells the story of his own spiritual homecoming in this book that expands on his original classic The Return of the Prodigal Son. This volume is taken from a series of workshops Nouwen led about his encounter with Rembrandt’s 17th-century painting also called The Return of the Prodigal son. If you’re about to take a summer road trip, you might consider snapping up the audio version of this book, due to be released later this month.

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma

By Brad Warner
Warner, author of Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up, is a Zen monk and a punk rock musician who spent years working for a Japanese monster-movie company. His short bio alone makes this memoir intriguing. Add the story line of losing his mother, his grandmother, his job and his wife; with equal parts Zen-infused spiritual insight and bold truth-telling and you’ve got a page-turner.

The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion
By Sally Srok Friedes
This breezy memoir recounts how Friedes, a nice Catholic girl from Milwaukee, became a nice New York City Jewish wife, in a decade-long adventure that takes her through marriage, motherhood, and spiritual transformation.

Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine
By Huston Smith with Jeffrey Payne
At age 90, Smith, the spiritual adventurer and author of the religious classic The World’s Religions, tells tales from a lifetime on the front lines of religious exploration in search of God and authentic spiritual experience. From spinning with Sufi dervishes to dropping acid with Timothy Leary, Smith’s stories of, as he calls it, “whoring after the Infinite” are infinitely fascinating.

1 comment:

  1. some of these look great. we should check them out! some time...