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Monday, May 25, 2009

RevGalBookPals Summer Reading Survey

RevGalBookPals would appreciate your input as we plan for the summer. Some of our previous books have been well-received and enthusiastically discussed, while others have not. We would like to widen the circle involved in making book suggestions.

In the comments here:

1. Please suggest books you think might be work for our discussions.

2. Let us know whether you would like "lighter" books for summer reading.

3. If you don't have specific books in mind, feel free to suggest categories.

4. Tell us whether we need to stick to our usual parameter of waiting for a book to be available in paperback. (For instance, Barbara Brown Taylor has a new book; should we read it together now, or wait?)

5. If you might be willing to host a book discussion, let us know that, too!

Happy Summer Reading,


  1. I wish I had some brilliant suggestions since I manage a seminary bookstore. However, I would love to have a good reason to read Taylor's "An Altar in the World" other than the obvious "I loved "Leaving Church". Lighter fare seems like a good idea for the summer months.

  2. For lighter summer reading, how about one of the No. 1 Ladies Detective books? Or one of the Mark Schwiezer Liturgical Mysteries such as The Baritone Wore Chiffon, The Mezzo Wore Mink etc? All available in paperback.

  3. I just finished "A Church of Her Own" by Sarah Sentilles. Very thought-provoking.

    I also finished "The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women" by Nicola Denzey. It's a look at the work of women in the early church and how their actions were dismissed, diminished or systematically extinguished.

    Three in my "to read" stack:

    Slaves, Women and Homosexuals by William Webb (a hermeneutics book you might all wish to hide from, but it's for my class next semester)

    Patriarchs, Prophets and Other Villains by Lisa Isherwood

    The Stained Glass Ceiling by Sally Purvis

    As for ANY extra reading, I'll try to join in. My stack of required texts is so blinking high that I am trying to just read "fun" without a deadline. I think it's a symptom of this stage in my life. It's not for lack of interest that I'm not reading all of your book lists, it's simply time.


  4. From Stones to Living Word by Debbie Blue. Amazing!!

    I'd always prefer for the books to be available in paparback.

    I haven't gotten my act together to actually participate in the book talks yet, but I always end up reading the book soon after! I'm going to try to get better about that.

  5. I have a stack of books that I am trying to get through write now. What will I do when summer gets here? I liked Altar in the World more than Leaving Church because I still can't understand why she left.
    Anyway, I am working on Olive Kitteridge, Acedia and Me, To Bless the Space between us, Christianity for the rest of us, God Seekers, Beyond Tolerance, and Keroac's Wake Up.
    FWIW, I almost exclusively find books at The less I have to pay, the more I can afford to buy!

  6. I too have a stack of books to work through - McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Eat, Pray, Love, and more. So I am not sure that I would take on any extras through RevGals.

    What about a "what are you reading and what do you think of it?" feature during the summer months - sort of like a Friday Five idea on the fourth Monday?

  7. During the summer I usually read science fiction, frequently heavily theological. I'm going to use Maria Doria Russell's "The Sparrow" and its sequel "Children of God" for my Job/Holocaust course next spring.
    Depending on the book, I wouldn't mind hosting or facilitating.

  8. Someone (not on this list) highly recommended "Slaves, Women and Homosexuals." I don't know much about it, but my friend certainly thought it was terriffic. I kind of like Rev Honey's idea for summer. I'd also like to read "An Altar in the World" (I LOVE the title), and I would be willing to host a book discussion sometime down the road.

  9. I just finished Alice Hoffman's "The Third Angel"--wonderful writing and a provocative take on the whole angel phenonema. I would also recommend "Shouts and Whispers, Twenty-One writers speak about their writing and their faith." It contains even more great suggestions for books and is a good read itself--and can easily be put down and picked up later. And finally--one more--Henri Nouwen's "In the Name of Jesus, reflections on Christian leadership," a slim volume on the challenges of leadership. I am still struggling with some of the concepts and would welcome other's responses to his ideas.

  10. I'd vote for lighter reading over the summer. Maybe poetry? Marilyn Nelson, T S Eliot! Mysteries? Julia Spencer-Fleming's series

  11. I like "wait for paperback" because there are more options for purchase. Those who read it in hardback can still participate when the paperback hits the reading discussion.

    One of the things I appreciate about Ladies #1 Detective Agency is that she always is running into someone for whom it is a big deal that she is a woman detective in the midst of her going about doing her work. That theme feels very familiar on some days.

  12. Sounds like a great idea. I have lots of books I'm reading but if I had a discussion to follow I'd put that book up on the top of the list. I'm up for anything. No poetry for me please. Poetry is NOT light reading for me! I'm not big on detective books but I'd give it a go if that were the choice.

  13. Since I'm not an official member - haven't figured out how to do that! - I hesitate to weigh in too heavily.
    Alexander McCall Smith doesn't work for me; however, Ann Patchett does.
    Preaching what we practice: proclamation and moral discernment by David Schlafer is on my list of books I've had and need to read. I've already got An altar in the world. Myspace to sacred space: God for a new generation is also on my desk and I need a reason to read it.
    June is dedicated to reading for General Convention and sermons. I also need to prepare for a liturgics class in the fall. I too like the idea of a "what are you reading" day to review and recommend.

  14. I'd be happy to host a discussion, but I'm in desperate need of a reason to read something more light-hearted! I just picked up a couple of new books at Borders yesterday (I know, I need more books like a...well, you know) because I was so desperate for something fun. Nevermind the fun books sitting on the shelf, I want these NOW! LOL. One I picked up is called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" and, about 30 pages in, has much potential...and, of course, I love the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency!

    also, what about a movie discussion? Watching a movie only takes a couple of hours (assuming any of us have a couple of spare hours...), can be done at home (if we pick something on DVD), and could lead to interesting discussion. I'm trying to remember if we've tried this before? I can't recall. anyway, just a thought (from one who doesn't watch many movies and needs a reason to make time to see more!).

  15. Are you familiar with Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight? Just out in paperback.

    I have been much impressed with her writing about our choices with the thoughts we have. And that we can begin from a place of peacefulness and go out into the world with compassion from there. Love the Lord your God with all your mind keeps coming to me. This book was full of the presence of the Holy Spirit for me.

    A lurker,

  16. for what it's worth ... I think that waiting until the book comes in paperback is good for those of us overseas ... the pricedifference is enormous here between soft and hard back - and there's a chance that it's available secondhand too

    I liked Honey's suggestion for the summer (July and August anyway)

    "What about a "what are you reading and what do you think of it?" feature during the summer months - sort of like a Friday Five idea on the fourth Monday?"

    think that would work well.

    Ruth Tuttle’s Designer Women: Made by God is a surprisingly good read.

    that might be interesting to discuss in the autumn?

  17. I"m not a regular contributor to the book group, but (like KEWP) I often read ABOUT them and then read them later. I'd like to read Debbie Blue, too - I have Sensual Orthodoxy on my list.

    I am currently reading and LOVING West With the Night (Beryl Markham) - not a book about religion at all, but about a woman pioneer in her field (horse trainer and pilot). And also, as she is writing in Africa as a white woman mid-century, I would like to talk about the race issues raised/not raised by this book with someone.

    Recently read and loved Steve Martin's Born Standing Up - again, not much to do with church, but interesting to hear about how someone in another profession perfects a craft. And there's a certain self-loathing that feels familiar :)

    Continuing in the memoir theme, how about Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer? Or, if you're more into fiction any of this Calvin Whatshisname trilogy? I read Portofino and really liked it, and am planning to read the other two (Zermatt and Saving Grandma).

    For light reading, I already have Princess Bride on my list for this summer :) Anyone want to join in that?

    I'm enjoying Julia S-F but cant quite imagine reading those in a book group - not sure how to peel back the layers.

    Thanks for the chance to weigh in, even from those of us who kind of dabble on the edges of the book group.


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