Summer Reading for the Socially Engaged Christian – 2018

May 24, 2018 — Leave a comment

 

Summer Reading 2018

Summer is almost here, a season when many people find a little more time than usual for reading!

Whether you’ll get some vacation time this summer, or whether your schedule simply slows down a bit, we hope that you will find some extra time for reading.

 

Here are 30 new-ish books that would make for superb summer reading!

 

[ Christian Discipleship ]  [ Gen. Nonfiction ]   [ Fiction ]
[ Theology ]   [ Biography / Memoir ]  [ YA / Graphic Novel ]
[ Poetry ]

Biography / Memoir:

 

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved 

Kate Bowler

( Random House )

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God’s disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward “blessing.” She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.

Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with “a surge of determination.” Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you “can’t do” and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before.

 

 

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

Austin Channing Brown

( Convergent )

From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America. 

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

 

 

Phyllis Tickle: A Life 

Jon Sweeney

( Church Publishing )

By the time of her death in 2015, Phyllis Tickle was one of the most beloved and respected figures in American religious life, and her writing offers a unique combination of the down-to-earth, deep spirituality, and scholarship. In this comprehensive new volume, Jon Sweeney, official biographer of Tickle’s literary estate, explores every aspect of her life, a more than 50-year legacy of poetry; plays; literary, spiritual, and historical/theological work; and advocacy. Himself an author and editor in the religion field, Sweeney examines Tickle’s personal and professional roots, from her family, long marriage, and life on The Farm in Lucy, Tennessee, to early academic career and move into book publishing, where her role as founding editor of the Religion Department at Publishers Weekly influenced the growth of spiritual writing and interfaith understanding during the 1990s.

 

 

 

Paul Simon: The Life 

Robert Hilburn

( Simon & Schuster )

Over the past three years, Hilburn has conducted in-depth interviews with scores of Paul Simon’s friends, family, colleagues, and others—including ex-wives Carrie Fisher and Peggy Harper, who spoke for the first time—and even penetrated the inner circle of Simon’s long-reclusive muse, Kathy Chitty. The result is a deeply human account of the challenges and sacrifices of a life in music at the highest level. In the process, Hilburn documents Simon’s search for artistry and his constant struggle to protect that artistry against distractions—fame, marriage, divorce, drugs, record company interference, rejection, and insecurity—that have derailed so many great pop figures.

Paul Simon is an intimate and inspiring narrative that helps us finally understand Paul Simon the person and the artist. “With train-wreck moments and tender interludes alike, it delivers a sharply detailed Kodachrome of a brilliant musician” (Kirkus Reviews).

 

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