Our Summer Book Club is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Pick your book.
- Read your book – on your own or with a small group.
- Bring your book and discuss. Want to do more in response to what you read? All are invited to find a creative way to respond – a picture, poem, poster, journal…Bring it with you on August 11 or share with Pastor Cathy.
Books to choose from:
(1) A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal Edited by Sarah Bessey
It’s no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time—and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another. This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for all who feel the immense joys and challenges of the journey of faith, this collection of prayers says it all aloud, giving readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry. These writings also offer a broadened imagination of hope—of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with new essays by Sarah Bessey throughout. Encompassing the full breadth of the emotional landscape, these deeply tender yet subversive prayers give readers an intimate look at the diverse language and shapes of prayer.
(2) Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is. Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.
(3) Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity by Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons
In Just Faith, progressive Christian activist and writer Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons explains how a strong religious left has accompanied every major progressive advance in our society, and he resurrects the long but forgotten history of progressive Christianity in the United States that can and must link arms with progressive Muslims and Jews to make the moral case for pluralism, human dignity, and the common good. Graves-Fitzsimmons provides a blueprint for this type of resurrection based on his advocacy work at the intersection of religion and American politics. Graves-Fitzsimmons creates a rallying cry for a bold progressive Christianity that unapologetically fights for its values to impact the biggest political battles of our time–from immigration and economic fairness to LGBTQ+ rights and abortion rights–so that progressive Christians will stop lowering their voices when they identify as Christians. “What kind of Christian are you?” they’ll be asked. And they’ll even be understood when they reply with a smile, “The good kind.”
(4) The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence―full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years, he was a beacon―transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
(5) We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang
In these provocative, powerful essays acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Who We Be) takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.
(6) Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, came to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
(7) Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson (youth/young adult)
Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission–they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post their work online–poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial microaggressions she experiences–and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices–and those of other young women–to be heard. These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activists.
(8) We are Water Protectors By Carole Lindstrom (children’s book)
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption―a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade. Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal and #1 New York Times Bestseller. Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all.
(9) Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim (children’s book)
Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis.
Want to do more in response to what you read? Read with a small group or buddy and discuss while reading or, find a creative way to respond – a picture, poem, poster, button…
Gather with other summer readers to discuss books and share responses on August 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Murchison Chapel. For more information, contact Pastor Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.