A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Reading

Here it is, Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. And nothing says “summer” like a list of so-called “beach reads”, regardless of where you actually intend to do your reading. I’ve been sizing up the stack of unread books in my library (and my office) and have resolved not to buy anything new until I’ve gotten through at least half of them, which means the e-Reader I bought not long ago will have to wait. In no particular order, here’s what I hope to have read by Labor Day. Some of them I’ve started already, some are new; others have been hanging around for several years.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer (Penguin Press). The former winner of the U.S. Memory Championship shares his experiences, and gives us a glimpse into the history of remembering. I’ve already begun to build my Memory Palace. Now, if I could just remember where I left the darn book….
Episcopal Etiquette and Ethics: Living the Craft of Priesthood in the Episcopal Church, by (the Rev.) Barney Hawkins. New from Morehouse Publishing, this book addresses oft-asked as well as seldom-asked questions, such as “Is it all right to bless the food at a wedding banquet with a gin and tonic in my hand?” For me, the bigger question is: Do I really want to know I’ve been doing it wrong for 12 years?

The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture, by Francis Cardinal George, OMI. Though there is much about which the head of the Archdiocese of Chicago and I would disagree – should we ever find ourselves in such a conversation – he is a good writer. His discourses on classical theology bring me back to a discipline it’s easy to lose touch with in the daily work of parish ministry.

The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything, by Katharine Jefferts Schori (Skylight Paths).  The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church writes with passion and her signature deep spiritual intelligence about the way our faith speaks to the issues of the day and how we are compelled to keep bringing the Good News to a needy, hurting world.
American Judaism: A History, by Jonathan D. Sarna (Yale University). Recommended by my dear friend Anita Silvert; the title says it all.

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell (Simon & Schuster). Very thick. Very analytical. And, I’m told, very much worth reading.
Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith (because no matter what else I’m reading, I’ve always got a novel going). In what could have been titled Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh-der, the author takes on the story of the magi – yes, that’s right, those mysterious strangers from the second chapter of Matthew’s gospel – and asks the question: Who are these guys we’ve come to call “wise”? Smith is also the author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which reminds me, I’ve also got The Complete Jane Austen dutifully awaiting its turn.) 

So – wish me luck! And let me know what you’ll be reading. Who knows, it might make it to my list...in a few years!

No comments:

Post a Comment