God forgive us for being women : rhetoric, theology, and the Pentecostal tradition by Joy Elizabeth Anderson Qualls. I have always been interested in strong Pentecostal women and Joy, an alum of Vanguard, has written this book. While I have just started reading it, I must say I am enthralled with the information and research put into it. Great to read about women, called by God, be a force for Him! (Recommended by Pam Crenshaw). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior – Prior shows how reading fiction cultivates virtue, using multiple novels and short stories as examples. (Recommended by Jennifer Russum). Access via Amazon.
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. Incarnation means, among other things, that God is profoundly present in the ordinary. The everyday tasks that, otherwise, might mask His presence become, in Warren’s reflection anchored in the events of a day, a beautiful place of encounter. (Recommended by Bill Dogterom). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
Home by Marilynne Robinson. Building on the world created in Gilead, and further developed in Lila, this beautifully written exploration of whether it is possible to truly come home again is at turns poignant and painful. (Recommended by Bill Dogterom). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry. A perennial favorite of mine, Berry’s poetry is a deeply engaging meditation on the power of nature when observed from familiar place. And, like all else Berry, a critique of the modern mindlessness when it comes to creation care. (Recommended by Bill Dogterom). Access via Amazon.
The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Psychiatrist Curt Thompson. – A sequel to Anatomy of the Soul, the author skillfully relies on the biblical narrative with neuroscience to travel through fresh territory in more fully understanding the universally human experience of shame. A few chapter titles include: How shame targets the mind , the remedy of vulnerability, and renewing vocational creativity. (Recommended by Roger Heuser). Access via Amazon.
A companion to this reading is Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, and Whole Hearts by Brene Brown — the author’s list of “armored leadership” is prevalent in all institutions, including the religious – working from scarcity and squandering opportunities for joy and recognition; being a knower and being right; hiding behind cynicism; using criticism as self-protection … I wanted to type all of them. Brown’s list of “daring leadership” includes: modeling and encouraging healthy striving; empathy and self-compassion; modeling clarity, kindness, and hope; using power with, power to, and power within; cultivating a culture of belonging, inclusivity, and diverse perspectives. Again, I wanted to type all of them. (Recommended by Roger Heuser). Access via Amazon.
NOTE FROM ROGER: These two books are different enough to read both of them. If making a choice, flip a coin, and trust the Holy Spirit.
Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges – Whether the change being navigated is related to taking on new responsibilities, leading a new team, or something as severe as the death of a colleague, Bridges has wisdom and practical guidance for navigating seasons of transition. (Recommended by Bonni Stachowiak). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments by William Bridges – The author’s decades of studying change are put to the test as he navigates the death of his wife of thirty-five years. A beautifully-written follow up to two of his other wonderful resources on personal and organizational change: Transitions and Managing Transitions. (Recommended by Bonni Stachowiak). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry – It’s both an art book, as well as a meditation on creative pedagogy. Barry shares her lesson plans and writing prompts for her drawing classes in this unique book creation. (Recommended by Bonni Stachowiak) Access on Amazon.
Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang – provides practical, simple ways we can make changes to our teaching that are based on cognitive theory and help increase student learning. This book will be read by all new and emerging faculty at Vanguard to prepare for our Fall teaching. (Recommended by Bonni Stachowiak). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura. Makoto Fujimura is a visual artist specializing in Nihongo, a Japanese technique that encourages contemplation over time. Fujimura currently serves as the director of the Culture Care Initiative at Fuller Seminary. I came across Fujimura’s work when researching the novel Silence (Fujimura wrote Silence and Beauty in response to that novel). Culture Care addresses culture as something that needs stewardship and care. As many Christians seem engaged in a “culture war,” Fujimura argues that “Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.” (Recommended by Laurie Hatch). Access via Vanguard Library or on Amazon.
The Conjure Man Dies by Rudolph Fisher. If you need some lighter reading, this detective novel (the first to be written by an African American) is a fun read. It can be enjoyed as a detective story, or it can be read as a critique of the ways African Americans during the time of the Harlem Renaissance were attempting to define themselves. Turning many detective tropes on their heads, Fisher uses the genre to explore how one knows one’s self or one’s community. The tale follows the investigation of the Harlem murder of Frimbo, a Sherlock-Holmes-like character whose persona is as much a mystery as his murder. Fisher was a medical doctor (who double majored in English literature) and was a pioneer in radiology. (Recommended by Laurie Hatch). Access via Amazon.
The Code of the Woosters and Leave it to Psmith both by PG Wodehouse. He is one of my all-time favorite writers and is a favorite of people like Douglass Adams, Grahame Green, and the late Queen Mother. His writing has been suggested as alternative to anti-depressants! His writing and use of language is one of the best things about his work. (Recommended by Lia Hansen). Access via Amazon.
The Barchester Series by Anthony Trollope. I’ve only read Books 1 and 2—The Warden and Barchester Towers—so far. I’ve enjoyed Trollope’s voice and the stories as well. (Recommended by Lia Hansen). Access via Vanguard Library.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. This is what a web site said: Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. It was definitely a story of 3 different emotional journeys from solitude to love. I really enjoyed it. I listened to it. My daughter’s book group of early 30’s didn’t seem to like it as much, but they also read it. I don’t know if you need life experience to enjoy it like I did, or if the reader added that much to the experience. (Recommended by Lia Hansen). Access via Amazon.
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc. shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life. (Recommended by Beau Irvine). Access via Amazon.
The Right and Wrong Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made and Unmade by Carter Cast – A fascinating research-based assessment of the factors (presented as archetypes) that lead to high performing managers and leaders and the factors that are common among those whose careers get derailed. This thought-provoking, sometimes funny and very practical approach to assessing our own competencies is written by the former CEO of Walmart and now venture partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital and an MBA professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. This is required reading for all managers and college students planning for management careers. Check out the assessment on the author’s website: http://cartercast.com/ (Recommended by Trish Fisher). Access via Amazon.