What Are You Reading This Summer?

With Bill GatesAmazon, and the New York Times releasing suggested beach reads, it's a good reminder to compile a list for this summer. What are your selections for faith and spirituality? In addition to theology, what else are you hoping to get to? What have you read lately that you highly recommend?

Given the signs of the times, feel free to suggest favorite TED Talks or podcasts. 

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Frank Gibbons
2 years 6 months ago
I just finished the heart-breaking "Mouchette" by Georges Bernanos. Even in translation Bernanos' beautiful prose harrowingly portrays the spiritual abandonment that is the lot of those trapped in generational poverty. Fannie Howe in her introduction explains why "Mouchette" is a Catholic work of art. "Mouchette" was made into an acclaimed film in 1967 by Robert Bresson. I'm following up with another French novel, "Woman of the Pharisees" by Francois Mauriac. I've read his "Viper's Tangle" and "Thérèse Desqueyroux" and admired them both despite the darkness that hangs over them. Lastly, I'm reading about five pages a day of "Finnegans Wake". I'm up to page 121. I don't know if there's any spiritual value to it. Of course, there is the "here comes everybody" factor (I really don't think Joyce was tipping his hat to the Catholic Church, but I'll listen to arguments.)
Matt Emerson
2 years 6 months ago

Mr. Gibbons -- thank you for your recs! 

Monica Doyle
2 years 6 months ago
Joan of Arc. A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison. I always find it fascinating the lens through which secular writers view the saints.
J Cosgrove
2 years 6 months ago
I would like to propose a new format for reading, namely listening. Now books on tapes are nothing new but there are some things which are just not available in print and can be consumed while driving to and from work or other errands or anytime in the car. My wife and I visit our children constantly and will listen to courses provided by the Great Courses that are economical if purchased through Audible. Each is about $12-$14 if you have a subscription and are usually 24 or 36 half hour lectures. Here are three I highly recommend which we have listened to on our car rides: Great American Bestsellers: The Books That Shaped America - fascinating stories of the most important literature in US history in terms of how they shaped the culture. Some will surprise you. Who was Ragged Dick, a main character from one of the most influential series of books in American history? Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases - 24 lectures, each a mystery. You are given the symptoms but what is the cause. For example, why is a newly born African American baby in Boston twitching in February? Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds - Live the day when Caesar was killed or when Pope Urban II gives a speech that inspires thousands of his subjects to embark on a crusade to Jerusalem or when Hannibal has Rome on its knees. The author, Professor Robert Garland, is a master story teller.
Anne Chapman
2 years 6 months ago
I often order books after reading a review or reference. Alas, I sometimes don't have time to actually read them once they arrive and they sit on the shelf. So this summer, I hope to catch up on reading books ordered during the last few months that are yet unread. The unread books include Eager to Love - The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Richard Rohr. OFM) The Dark Night of the Soul (Gerald G. May, MD) Christ Actually (James Carroll) No Man is an Island (Thomas Merton) Who is Jesus? (Thomas P. Rausch, SJ) Written That You May Believe (Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM) I recently finished listening to a very interesting selection in the "Great Courses" - The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon (Bart Ehrman, PhD, MDiv), available at the public library. I have placed a hold request for a couple of others. I listen in the car or while walking. I have downloaded a number of short podcasts (free) from iTunes and transferred them to my iPod. I walk for exercise and need something interesting to listen to. Free podcasts include a few talks by Richard Rohr and a couple of Joan Chittester talks also.
Janean Stallman
2 years 6 months ago
Anne, I have read four of the books on your list, but not the last two, which I will look into. My favorite was the one by James Carroll, whom I tried to defend on the book club message board. I have seen your responses, as well to the monthly reads. I think we are on the same page with much of our thinking and reading. I read Richard Rohr and Joan Chittister, as well. Bart Erhman is an acquaintance of my daughter's who is herself a Classicist. I don't read his books because he repeats the scenario of losing his faith and tried to discredit religious dogma. But, he is a recognized scholar of church history, so I'm sure his CD's were very interesting. Good luck with your summer reading. I'm lately into various books by Henri Nouwen, "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis" by Garry Wills, and a fun read called "Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice" by Belden C. Lane.

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