On the Night Stand

There are a bunch of books lurking around our home these days, each somewhere in the process of being read or soon to be picked up. What books have you read lately that are worth recommending?  On my actual night stand is the fantastic City of Scoundrels by Gary Krist about twelve tumultuous days in 1919 Chicago, a period of time that included a downtown blimp crash and the race riots.

I carry Marylinne Robinson’s latest collection of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books, to the bakery on my day off. Robinson knows her way around a sentence better than most, but in these pages it’s her wide knowledge and keen insight that are on full display.  If every politician and ideologue read this book – or at least the third essay, “Austerity as Ideology” – our political air would be safer for the rest of us.

I’ve just begun Old Testament professor John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One. The book covers a topic – the origins of the universe – that usually holds little interest for me; I tend to trust those whose academic discipline gives them something useful to say.  However, Walton’s project of interpreting the first chapter of Genesis through the lens of ancient cosmology is very intriguing with implications for how we who revere the Bible talk with those who don’t.

A publisher who reads this blog kindly sent along Making Justice Our Business after reading the posts reviewing The New Jim Crow. I’m just beginning this short book about the wrongful conviction and eventual release of Darryl Hunt, but it looks to be a good, narrative companion to the statistic-heavy Jim Crow.

Last week the mail brought Melinda Selmys’ Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism, a book that promises a more delicate touch than the blunt instruments typically associated with this conversation.  Also in the recently-arrived stack are three books to be reviewed for Leadership Journal’s summer issue: How to Knock Over a 7-11, Redeeming Church Conflicts, and Crafting a Rule of Life.

Finally, on the living room coffee table sit two books awaiting some upcoming travel and time off.  The Warmth of Other Suns by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson tells the story of the great migration when thousands of African Americans moved from the oppressive Jim Crow South to northern and western cities. This is a story in which our church’s Bronzeville neighborhood plays an important role.  And Michael returned from an east coast writer’s conference with a copy of The Thing Around Your Neck, a collection of short stories by one of his favorite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Author: David Swanson

Pastor of New Community Covenant Church in Bronzeville. Collecting signs of life.

4 thoughts on “On the Night Stand”

  1. These all sound amazing, David. I just finished Nine Parts of Desire about women in the Islamic world. Very interesting and well researched. Written by Geraldine Brooks.

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