Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good Reads for Pastors

I hope everyone is having a good 2010. So far it has been uneventful except for the tragedy in Haiti which is just awful. I have a friend who travels back and forth to Haiti and he said that at least six of his good friends have died. Many more are missing. A real tragedy. May God watch over everyone in Haiti as well as their families, especially the caregivers and doctors too.

With a new year comes some new books. I love to read and lately have found some great reads, especially for pastors. I say especially for pastors because many of these books have pastors as main characters and of course struggling with one spiritual issue or another. Some of these books are new and others are older, but they are all good and worth reading. If you have some good books that you are reading right now make sure to send the information to me and I'll post it later in the year. For now here are some of my favorites:

Elizabeth Strout Abide With Me (Random House 2006). Strout, is also the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge. Abide With Me is a story about a minister raising his two daughters after the death of his wife, a real page turner. Strout also has a key sense for parish life too! A must read.

Andre Dubus: Broken Vessels (Picador, 1999). Together with Anton Chekhov, Gail Godwin, and Frederick Buechner, Dubus is one of my all time favorite authors. In this collection of essays Dubus looks at the brokenness of humanity through the lens of his own brokenness. In the late 1980's Dubus was hurt in a car accident and was forced to live in a wheel chair. He noted that he only understood compassion after he lost the use of his two legs. His other book, Selected Stories is also worth reading.

Gail Godwin Unfinished Desires (Random House, 2010). Godwin is superb. I devoured her other books, Father Melancholy's Daugther and her follow-up book Evensong which are both page turners. Her sentences are beautifully written and most of her books take place in Western North Carolina which is a plus since I am familiar with the area. Unfinished Desires is about stories of life in a Catholic girls school in the 1950's as told through one of the nuns at the school.

Sara Miles Jesus Freak (Wiley, 2010). Miles is journalist and commentator on NPR and the other of Take This Bread which I also enjoyed reading. Here in Jesus Freak Miles continues her story about starting a soup kitchen in San Fransisco and the ins and outs of parish life. Miles is a new Christian, converting as an adult and she writes with verve. A full review will be forthcoming on the blog soon.

Maryilynne Robinson Home (Fararr, Straus, and Giroux, 2008). Robinson, like Godwin, is a writer of strong sentences and use of imagery. Her earlier book, Gilead was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Home is a continuation of the story line in Gilead.

Happy reading everyone!!!