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Theology: Summer reading suggestions

Summer is a popular time for reading. The combination of hot days and holidays provides license to lounge about with a book. Some days are perfect for an entertaining story. Other days might nag at the reader for a bit more challenge.


Summer is a popular time for reading. The combination of hot days and holidays provides license to lounge about with a book. Some days are perfect for an entertaining story. Other days might nag at the reader for a bit more challenge.


If you are looking for something to read this summer, here are a few suggestions.


Novels:


Their eyes were watching God, by Zola Neale Hurston. Hurston was an important early writer of Black American Literature. This is a story of one woman's ability to transcend life's personal trials and the narrow mindedness of her society. The dialect caused me a bit of difficulty at first, but after reading some of it aloud, it was no problem.


Half of a yellow sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Set against the backdrop of the Nigeria/Biafra conflict of the 1960's, this book follows the lives of two sisters. The political background and trauma of civil war are well integrated into the story.


The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry. Set in Ireland, this book intertwines the lives of an old woman and the psychiatrist who is to assess her. Barry's portrayal of the aging process is honest, sensitive and poignant. There is a mystery to unravel, so the reader will want to pay attention to details.


Three Day Road, by Joseph Boyden. This is vivid portrayal of life in the trenches brings the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of World War I to life.


Non-fiction:


Have a little faith, by Mitch Albom. If you liked Tuesdays with Morrie, this book is for you.


For anyone wanting to take a look at the historical Jesus without getting bogged down in scholarly debate, the next two books are worth reading:


The Jesus I never knew, by Philip Yancey. Yancey is a popular American theologian who has described himself as a "sometimes reluctant Christian." In this book, Yancey rethinks his conceptions of Jesus as he delves into the Gospels and the history of 1st century Palestine.


The challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering who Jesus was and is, by N.T. Wright. Wright is the Bishop of Durham. Wright challenges the reader to grow in understanding of Jesus of Nazareth and to follow Jesus in today's world.


Readers looking for a feminist perspective will enjoy anything by Megan McKenna. Leave her alone, for example, offers insights into stories about important women in both the Old and New Testaments.


For history buffs, also from a feminist theologian, is Women and Christianity: The First Thousand Years, by Mary T. Malone. There is a second volume, which I have yet to read.


In the realm of spirituality, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality, by Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest, is very readable. Using examples from real life, the book focuses on channeling human restlessness into a healthy spirituality.


Hot off the press: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel. This novel picks ups steam after a slow start. Ostensibly about the Holocaust, this book will have you pondering long after you have finished it.


Happy reading!