I had a smaller goal for reading this year, but then just kept on reading. I also listened to books on Audible since I was driving quite a bit at particular times of the year.
I was able to read more widely this year than probably ever before. More female authors. More authors of color.
Here are a few that stood out:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I listened to this one on Audible and at certain points I can remember gasping out loud at a plot twist, or simply shedding tears as I drove. An incredibly moving book.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone and Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman stretched my theological mind as I learned from giants in black theology.
The Way Up is Down by Marlena Graves and Might From the Margins by Dennis Edwards were new this year and powerful reminders that the Kingdom of God is not found primarily in the halls of power. The Kingdom is found in humility and among “the least of these.” Their writing styles flow with ease and their perspectives as authors of color (and great scholars) brings fresh reminders to my thinking.
Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton is my most re-read book. It refreshes me every time and this year I really needed the calming strength of this classic book.
Reading While Black by Esau McCaulley and Caste by Isabel Wilkerson were new this year as well. McCaulley’s book is one I wish I had when teaching Bible Study Methods as an adjunct in Minnesota. Wilkerson’s book follows up her amazing The Warmth of Other Suns and is deeply disturbing. In the year of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor we need our souls disturbed. We had SUCH an opportunity this year to really make deep change in systemic racism… and we, as white folks, simply got tired after a few weeks. This will be my greatest disappointment in this year. As whites… we keep on quitting on our friends of color and it is crushing.
I don’t make big goals on reading a huge number of books each year. But, I ‘m grateful for the challenge and tools like Goodreads to help me keep track.
My big goals in reading are to learn and to be changed. This year has brought that for me and I am grateful.
Keep reading (or listening) friends!