“I woke up thinking a very pleasant thought. There is lots left in the world to read.”
– Nicholson Baker
Below are books I recommend from what I finished reading in July.
1. We Need to Talk
How to Have Conversations that Matter
by Celeste Headlee
Ugh. We’ve all either had hard conversations this past year or else we’ve needed to but put them off. This book shows us how to have more productive dialogues. Headlee include five key strategies: be curious, check your bias, show respect, stay the course, and end well. I succeed in some ways, but fail miserably in others. I already need to re-read this book and I just finished it.
2. Think Again
The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
by Adam M. Grant
It’s okay to have doubts. It’s actually beneficial to have doubts. This book gives evidence that rethinking our stances is more important than we realize. And it’s a skill we can each learn to do.
“The goal is not to be wrong more often. It’s to recognize that we’re all wrong more often than we’d like to admit, and the more we deny it, the deeper the hole we dig for ourselves.”
3. Kent State
by Deborah Wiles
Very intriguing. This book is written as an oral conversation. As you read, you hear the voices of those who were at Kent State University, May 4, 1970, when four American students were killed by National Guardsmen. This is a Young Adult book, but I learned a lot.
4. White Awake
An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White
by Daniel Hill
Highly recommend! Sometimes we white people don’t realize there is such a thing as white culture.
“I was oblivious to what I didn’t even know. I was blind, but I didn’t know I was blind. And that’s the most dangerous blindness of all.”
If we want to be more fully aware of other cultures, we need to be more aware of our own. And how our culture affects other cultures, for good and for bad. Daniel Hill does an excellent job in laying this out for us from a moral and spiritual perspective so we can be better people to all people.
“We have encountered race daily since the day we were born. But we’re taught to internalize white culture as normal, so we’re unaware of the profound ways race shaped us during our early years. Not until we have an interruption connected to a person of color or a confrontation with overt racism do we begin to see something outside our cultural norm.”
5. Becoming Kareem
Growing Up On and Off the Court
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Although this is a young adult book, I found it excellent for us older folks too who actually remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar through the years. He tells about his childhood in New York City and his rise to basketball stardom. I appreciate hearing the hard choices he often had to make, and how he chose integrity.
6. The Book of Longings
by Sue Monk Kidd
This is fiction; remember that. Then dive into this fascinating story of Ana, the wife of Jesus, a curious girl raised in a wealthy family. The book focuses more on Ana than Jesus, but it is rooted in many historical and biblical facts (just not the marriage part). It gives a fresh perspective of life in the times of Jesus.
7. The Midnight Library
by Matt Haig
Such an interesting premise! This novel is about a special library with an infinite number of books detailing all the different lives that one can experience. The main character Nora Seed finds herself there and must make choices. I zipped through this book. It’s also a wonderfully narrated audiobook.
- A More Christlike Word
Reading Scripture the Emmaus Way
by Bradley Jersak
- How God Works
The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion
by David DeSteno
- Murder Your Darlings
And Other Gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser
by Roy Peter Clark
Why Having Too Little Means So Much
by Sendhil Mullainathan
- Four Thousand Weeks
Time Management for Mortals
by Oliver Burkeman
- Open and Relational Theology
An Introduction to Life-Changing Ideas
by Thomas Jay Oord
- If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk
Finding a Faith That Makes Us Better Humans
by John Pavlovitz
What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.
- Share Four Somethings—July 2021
- Just Being Here Is Reason to Celebrate