Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book recommendation

Earlier this month, a colleague asked me for book recommendations to help move her spiritually. I thought about it and scoured my Goodreads listings, and thought about it some more. I asked how does she think she wants to be moved? Is she feeling dry? wanting to learn some specific area, what have you? Her response was "if you were my CPE supervisor, what you recommend for me to grow spiritually? and in my job?"

So I gave it some more thought and have come up with some books that I think are good for various reasons. I realize that some times you are enthralled with a book or show or saying because it spoke to you at a certain time for a certain situation, but when you review/re-read the book, it doesn't speak to you in the same way. The "WOW" factor is gone. But that doesn't mean that you don't get something out of the same thing.

I have been purging the house. (or trying to for the past few months, and got sidetracked by oh, a job, cooking food, going to Italy for a dream vacation, and refusing to have visitors in as it is piling up in the first floor, and now we are preparing for renos of my kitchen... let's not go there.) Anyhow, I have resumed the purging trying to do one project or room a day. Today, it was the bookcase in my bed room. I haven't counted the list, but I would say there are at least..... 50 to 70. Most are theology textbooks that I have not looked at since... graduating. In some cases, they are from theology degree #1 -- some 10 years ago. So I KNOW the rule.. if you haven't used it in 6 months... toss it!! Books are different, you do tend to reread or have sentimental attachment. Anyhow, books are going. The lists are posted on Facebook and what isn't taken by friends, will be posted on Craigslist or Freecycle, the rest will go to the book table at my church.

So the book that I had recommended to my colleague was The Passion of Reverend Nash. But that is not the one that I meant as I think I read these 2 books close in time and the plot is similar and I messed them up. I found this book at Chapters for $2. So I figured 2 bucks is 2 bucks. But it was a good 2 bucks.

Anyhow, the other book is by Anne Hines called The Spiral Garden. This is a book about a female minister who takes over a failing parish and the book is introduced this way... Moses never saw the Promised Land. King David didn't get to build the Temple. Jesus preached an unpopular message and died on the cross. Reverend Ruth Broggan thinks God has something to answer for. Unsatisfied with traditional teachings, Broggan takes a radical approach to finding the meaning of life.

(unfortunately there is no comprehensive review by others, other than this blip that seems to be on most websites but is not a reader's comment.)

So Ruth ends up in a new parish and things are going along with her ministry. She is figuring this congregation and their issues out, plus her life is a bit a of mess. (face it, ministers are humans too, we are all ministers, but yes those of us CALLED are expected to perform to a higher standard... I won't go in to that here.) Anyhow, she gets fed up with stuff and decides that she will shut her self up in the manse (her house provided by the parish/congregation) and refuse to come out until she is satisified with the answer from God about all the mess that is going on in the world. This is triggered by her involvement with a congregant's crisis that did not end well and hence Ruth felt she could have handled it better.

There well, hopefully I did not spoil the book for you. It is a good read and I hope to review it once I finish my current novel.

In purging, I have discovered a multitude of books that I bought or "found" (got for free ... from someone or somewhere) that for one reason or other I have yet to read. Either the mood struck me, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, or I haven't been in the mood wasn't right, or they were dull.. there are some novels that I have TRIED to read numerous times, but can't because they are dry or ... something. Reading Lolita in Tehran is one of these books, In the Middle of a Life is another such novel.... ugh. So the first, I will try again, but the second... has been put in the get rid of pile as I have had it longer than Lolita. (Also, I now remember that I had 2 copies, both free, but didn't realize that this was the case.) Another reason for the "unread" books, good intentions, what have you, is that there are SOOO many books and I have so little shelf room that in some cases the books have been stacked 3 rows deep that I haven't seen them. The shelves have been organized though. Previously I had organized them by in 2 categories, READ and TO READ. When they are read, they get moved to the left side of the book case. Further categories are novels, fuffy novels, psych books, philosophy, theology books (texts left over, but NOT so many now* singsong voice*), Fun books like my Peanuts collection, biographies, work related books with further categories of text like, or fluffy. And then the novels and books that have a spiritual theme. There are alot of these as well, due to my unconscious gravitation towards these types of books.

Some of these categories can fool you though. The definition of "spirituality" type book can be blatant like C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, ... or they have under currents, subtle like the writing of Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper and the current read, The Tenth Circle.

Ok, it is 11: 30 and I have updated and rambled a lot on all of my blogs. It is time for bed. But hopefully this makes up for a "dry spell' of writing that has plagued me for the past while.

1 comment:

Anne Hines said...

Rev. Kathryn,

I appreciated the mention of Spiral Garden. And the other book suggestions. Am currently reading Buddhist theology and can recommend
"Cave in the Snow" the autobiography of a Buddhist nun who spent twelve years in almost total seclusion in a Tibetan mountainside cave.

I'd love to hear what you novel is about, if you're sharing that info.

Anne Hines