Wednesday, April 27, 2005

take and read

A couple of you have asked for suggestions about good books to read. Here is a short list of some recently published works, and others that have been out there for awhile, but deserve renewed attention. Take a couple of them to the beach this summer!

Recently published, only in hardback as of April, 05:

Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. An insane woman who loves Jesus, and also happens to be an incredible writer. And funny. You will laugh out loud.

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead. A moving novel about a minister, nearing death and writing to his young son. She nails the inner life of a pastor. Awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. This book is so good that I am tempted never to write another word again, or certainly never another book.

Tim Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name. An honest portayal of racism in small town North Carolina, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in a Methodist parsonage.

In paperback, these have been in print for some time:

Wendell Berry, What Are People For? If America has a prophet, in the biblical sense, his name is Wendell Berry, a poet and farmer who lives in Kentucky. If you think the degradation of the environment might have something to do with human sin, Berry can help you.

Lauren Winner, Girl Meets God. The memoir of a young adult, who is the daughter of a lapsed baptist mother and a secular jewish father. She converts to orthodox judaism, later becomes a Christian. An evangelical who is pretty honest about a number of things, including sex, and as you might imagine, she has caught some flack for this. But she is real, as is her God. Winner spoke at the Novello Festival in Charlotte this year.

Walter Brueggemann, Awed To Heaven, Rooted in Earth. A collection of very powerful prayers from one of the great Old Testament scholars of our time. The language is vivid, and reading the prayers leads me into the presence of the Holy.

Tony Hendra,
Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul. A memoir of the relationship between a comic writer (Hendra), who leads a pretty abusive life, and his spiritual director, a Benedictine monk who lives on the coast of England. There are two surprise endings.

Billy Collins, Sailing Around The Room: New and Selected Poems. I heard him give a reading a couple of years ago. Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2001. If you think poetry is boring or difficult to understand, look through any book by Billy Colllins the next time you are at Borders or Barnes and Nobles.


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