Reading Guides

Englewood Books of the Year – 2008-2019

The Englewood Review of Books
Books of the Year
2008-2019
Page 2:

 
 

2011 Book of the Year:

Englewood BooksFood and Faith: A Theology of Eating
Norman Wirzba

(Cambridge UPress)
Buy Now:  [ Amazon

The fact that food and eating are central to all life is easily taken for granted. The fact that food and eating are intimately tied to the Christian faith is easily overlooked. For Norman Wirzba, life and food and eating and faith are all gracious gifts proceeding from the God of creation. The act of eating is itself fraught with significance, even aside from questions about animal husbandry, land conservation, and nutritional value. Eating establishes us firmly within the world of the living and every time we take a bite we proclaim that we are full participants in creation. We must also acknowledge with every meal and with every bite that life is a gift that is continually given. However, with each sustaining bite we not only receive life, but taste death. The very food that is given by God for our nourishment has required death of another participant in God’s creation—whether plant or animal, yeast, microbe or fungus—and those lives in turn have required the deaths of others. To be fully cognizant of the gravity of the gift of food, then, should cause our eating to be both humble and grateful. Wirzba notes that the refusal to accept the deaths of others as an ongoing, life-sustaining gift is in some ways a refusal to accept creation as it is, given by God, on  God’s terms.
– from our review by Mary Bowling
 
 

2012 Book of the Year:

Englewood BooksLiving into Community: Cultivating
Practices that Sustain Us
Christine Pohl

(Eerdmans)
Buy Now:  [ Amazon

“Every Christian should read this provocative book! Christine thoroughly delineates the interlocking relationships and dangerous deformities of practices that could deepen our communities but often destroy them. This volume is pertinent to our families, churches, even places of work.”
Marva Dawn

-Listen to a talk by Christine Pohl, based on this book
 
 

2013 Book of the Year:

Englewood BooksSlow Reading in a Hurried Age
David Mikics

(Harvard UP)
Buy Now:  [ Amazon

One of the greatest challenges that we face in Western culture at the turn of the 21st century is the problem of speed. This problem has been described in a number of different ways, perhaps most strikingly by sociologist George Ritzer, as the “McDonaldization of Society” (the title of his important 1992 book). Ritzer and other critics, including Wendell Berry, have emphasized the destructive powers of speed. Indeed, one of the most pressing questions that humanity will have to address in this century is: how do we slow down? The structure of Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is quite simple: a critique of our fast culture (“The Problem”), followed by an introduction to Slow Reading and how it offers an alternative to speed (“The Answer”), a meaty chapter on Mikics’s 14 rules for Slow Reading, followed by a series of chapters exploring how one might slowly read various genres of literature (novels, poetry, drama, essays).

Slow Reading done well, and especially in conjunction with other Slow practices, has the potential to radically transform our lives. David Mikics is to be commended for this book, and the robustness of the Slow Reading practice he has laid out here. We would do well to read, and re-read, it slowly and attentively, bearing in mind that the literary communities of authors and readers, are deeply interwoven with the real communities in which we daily live, work and have our being.
– from our review by ERB editor C. Christopher Smith

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