A friend recently asked me how I make time to read so much. I laughed because I never feel like I find enough time to read. When the pandemic broke out I thought it would be a perfect time to read more, with fewer night meetings and social engagements. But I found that I often lacked the concentration to get absorbed in a book. The news and the worry were too distracting, a constantly running track in the backdrop of every moment saying, “Don’t relax.” The first two novels I read were probably good novels, but the timing was terrible. They both reminded me of the exact same issues we were dealing with during the pandemic, instead of lifting my soul to a new plateau! Now that we have sort of settled into a new normal and the rhythm of summer has beckoned, I have found the energy to dive into reading with new vigor. Here are a few things that have risen to the top of my list:
Deacon King Kong by James McBride is a hilarious novel that is also about serious stuff. It is about a church Deacon whose life is far from perfect but whose devotion is unwavering.
A Book of Uncommon Prayer by Brian Doyle is a delightful collection of honest prayers for everyday life, like when you see muddy paw prints on your carpet or for that moment when the right song arises at just the right time.
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. My husband and I listened to this novel on audio and found it a compelling story and beautifully written. It’s about the resilience of some orphan children around the time of the Depression.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander was written a decade ago but has received new notice in light of our nations wrestling with issues of racism. A fellow pastor recommended it to me and I found it to be a helpful historical background from which to think through where we are today.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney is just plain fun but not fluff! I pick this up and read it when I want to give myself a treat. Every chapter is clever and her phrases can be breathtaking!
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd is a non-fiction work written decades ago about a mountain range in Scotland. I’m just beginning it but have already been inspired to pay closer attention to creation and see it reverently, as a gift from God to savor.
The Psalms – Periodically I read a Psalm a day, usually beginning with 1. But this summer I began with 100! Each day I find one line in the Psalm that becomes a mantra for my day. It times of world crises or personal trials, there is no better book of the Bible to put into words our heartfelt prayers to God.
Keys to Bonhoffer’s Haus: Exploring the World and Wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoffer is a new book about the minister who participated in a plot to kill Hitler. It is written by Laura M. Fabrycky, a poet who is the wife of an American diplomat. She discovers new spiritual depths to Bonhoffer’s story while they are stationed in Berlin. Thanks to Mike Graves for suggesting it to me.
Grace and Peace,