Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading 2013


Summer is upon us.  With the promise of hot days, iced tea (mint please!), and a break from the hectic pace of this hard-driving city comes one of the great pleasures in life:  summer reading.

Here are a few of the things in my hammock-ready stack:

Lillian Daniel

Lillian Daniel, ** When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church ***, Jericho Books, 2013.*

Lillian Daniel is fed up with bad religion! Yet, she loves the church-the messy, imperfect community that somehow manages to keep lighting candles for people who walk in darkness. This is an honest, funny and touching account of the current moment in American religious life. Lillian's book will be the focus of FAPC's fall 2013 reading project, and she will be preaching and signing copies at FAPC on November 10th.

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall** Henry Holt, 2010 *** *

I cannot even count how many of you have recommended this fictionalized treatment of Henry the VIII's court. I have heard your glowing reviews. It is on the stack!


The Unwinding

George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America** Farrar, Straus and Giroux ***, 2013.*

Packer-a staff writer for The New Yorker-peers into the American soul through the lens of different people's stories. He tells the story of Dean Price, the child of tobacco farmers in North Carolina, and the stories of people like Newt Gingrich and Oprah Winfrey.  Packer weaves these stories together to produce a poignant, sobering and powerful portrait of the America in which we live.

Kingdom Come

Mark Waid and Alex Ross, Kingdom Come, DC Comics, 1997.

In anticipation of the new Superman movie, I am re-reading this vividly drawn story of an older Superman who is summoned back into the world-saving fray by-of all things-a preacher who has visions of an impending apocalypse. I have long been a fan of the Man of Steel and if you want more, I also recommend Superman for All Seasons by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer,**  Farrar, Straus and Giroux ***, 2013.*

This book is my new devotional.  I read a few pages each night.  It is beautiful.  It is honest.  Wiman pulls me out to the deep waters-to places where I feel frightened and loved and called to faithfulness.

If you have a book to recommend, I still have room on the stack.  Please post your faves and raves here.  Like introducing someone to a new friend, there are few things better than the suggestion of a good read.

Taken with permission from Scott's blog, Sharp About Your Prayers.