When it is time for the annual “Rector’s Summer Reading List” I know summer is near. I am always hopeful that I will have time to do more reading than the rest of the year’s busyness permits. So, here we go….in no particular order….with the usual disclaimer that I may not read all of these AND I may read more than what is in on the list! My goal is to be challenged in my thinking, to learn more about living faithfully as a follower of Jesus, and to be transported by good stories and beautiful writing. Please feel free to join in with me on these and to offer your own “summer stack suggestions” to me and to one another. Let’s get reading!
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake. This novel traces a family through the 20th and 21st centuries in NYC and their summer island in Maine. It is an exploration of memories as it seeks to prod us to think about the history of privilege and race in our country. Sounds like an ambitious task, but so far, I’m enjoying the writing and the story as it begins in 1935.
Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, by Jonathan Metzl. Metzl is Director of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University and addresses the current climate of division as a physician and mental health professional.
These Truths: A History of the United States, by Jill Lepore. At almost 800 pages before the extensive endnotes, Harvard historian Lepore gives us a one-volume account of our country. Asking whether the “truths” of “political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people” (Thomas Jefferson’s words) are being realized in the events of our country since 1492.
Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. A recommendation from my friend Rabbi Steve Schwartz—“In the information overload age there is precious little time to ponder, reflect, and just think. Merton, Trappist monk and mystic, argues in this slim volume that moments of quiet reflection are necessary for personal health and growth, and also for the cultivation of a society of tolerance and respect for all.”
An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals, and Noise, by John R. Pierce. This one is a stretch for me as it is quite technical. The later chapters deal with information theory and art, psychology, and communication, so I am going to tackle it both to try to learn something outside my comfort zone and to feel close to my dear, departed Dad, who was an electrical engineer.
Water From a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries, by Dr. Gerald L. Sittser. History, stories, and a spiritual perspective about what others have done and how they have lived out their faith through Christian history. This book comes highly recommended by a priest friend in NY, so I hope it will be good! We may explore it together from Oct. through June in some sort of “First Wednesday” gathering. More info to come!
Common Prayer: Reflections on Episcopal Worship, by Joseph Pagano and Amy Richter, eds. A lovely compilation of reflections by lay and clergy people about what we are doing in our worship and why it matters to God and for us.