In 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.
Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.
We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.
This week’s post in the series is by Amy Frykholm.
Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ #5 (Last Week) – Doug Worgul ]
Amy Fykholm is Associate editor of The Christian Century, and regularly writes for a number of publications on religion, culture and spirituality. She is the author of three books in the field of religion and culture, ranging in subject matter from the end times to medieval mysticism to contemporary sexuality, but held together by their curiosity about the stories humans tell about God. Read our review of her recent book Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography.
These are the books that have become my closest friends. They are my guides, my consultants, my conversation partners. These are the books that I hope to still be pondering and talking with when I am old and blind and need someone to read them to me.
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[easyazon-link asin=”0061718963″ locale=”us”]Waiting for God[/easyazon-link]
By Simone Weil
Simone Weil was a French philosopher who lived on the border between Christianity and Judaism. I encountered this book when I was in college, and I was trying to teach myself a way of being religious that didn’t rely so heavily on my feelings about God on any given day. Waiting for God is a book that is respectful of God’s long, painful silences, that can encounter history without cringing in fear and that teaches that seeking is, in its own way, finding.
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[easyazon-link asin=”0316184136″ locale=”us”]The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson[/easyazon-link]
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Emily Dickinson never ceases to reward my careful attention. She is awful, silent, loving, powerful, full of longing, hope and emptiness. She doesn’t paper over any of human reality, but always asks it to speak another layer of meaning.
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[easyazon-link asin=”1557259070″ locale=”us”]Revelations of Divine Love[/easyazon-link]
By Julian of Norwich
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This book finds a language to speak to me about the love of God that no other text has provided.
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[easyazon-link asin=”0743201337″ locale=”us”]I and Thou[/easyazon-link]
By Martin Buber
This work is seminal to my life. Buber’s insistence that “All real living is meeting” compels me to ponder what living and meeting each mean whether I am taking a walk, cooking at the soup kitchen or trying to write a story.