Summer Reading

The summer is always reading season for me. I don’t know if it is because I have more time, or make more time, but I always do much more reading when the weather is warm. Each summer I read a major biography, several new mysteries, and a couple of books on religion and the Bible. I usually look forward to this and begin my reading plans in the winter as I compile the books. This spring I haven’t given much thought to my summer books, but lately quite a few have come to my attention.

I didn’t find a biography that really grabbed me until I heard on NPR that Vaclav Havel’s memoir, “To the Castle and Back,” was just published in English. So I’ve already been to the Book Review to purchase a copy.

This summer I’m also focusing on the factors that bring success to churches and other organizations. I’ll be finishing “Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith,” by Diana Butler Bass. Her work stems from a extensive sociological study of vital mainline churches across the country. She identifies common factors in these energetic communities. I’m also planning to read about businesses that are successful in “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t,” by Jim Collins, as well as the companion book he wrote for social organizations.

For fun I’m still looking for some good mysteries. Do you have any suggestions? My tastes run to stories that are set in an historic period and I also like Robert Parker and P.D. James. Please email me some ideas.

Religion books will include finishing “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” by Henri Nouwen and I’ll be doing some research to find some new thinking on Paul. While I am suggesting books—two of my favorites from this past year are “Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’s Final Week in Jerusalem,” by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, and “Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith,” by Annie Lamont. “Last Week” takes a careful look at the implications of the last days of Jesus’ life and paints a fascinating portrayal of his relationship to Judaism and the Roman state. Annie Lamont is simply the funniest and best Christian essayist working. She is always a must-read.

For fun I have “The Way of a Ship,” by Derek Lundy. The story of life on a big square rigger sailing ship in at the end of the 19th century. And I usually read what Ronnie has just finished and she really enjoyed “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Now I just need to find the time for all this delicious reading. Save me a place at the beach.

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