I’ve been tagged in yet another Facebook meme. This one asks me to list fifteen books that I would like to read. That seems to be a pretty cool list to draw up; in fact, it seemed worthy enough to publish to my blog as well as to Facebook. Of course, fifteen seemed impossible, so I have taken the liberty of listing twenty books.
So here goes. This list is presented alphabetically by title, and of course it represents only a tiny fraction of the books on my “to read” list. If you want to read any of these books yourself, follow the links to purchase a copy at Amazon.
- At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien — A legendary comic Irish novel that is said to be as much of a masterpiece as anything by Joyce or Beckett.
- The Cloud of Unknowing with the Book of Privy Counsel: A New Translation by Carmen Acevedo Butcher — Dr. Butcher lives near Atlanta and is friends with my good friend Darrell, who says this new translation has helped him to fall in love with The Cloud all over again.
- The Complete Julian of Norwich by Father John-Julian, OJN — an annotated edition of Julian’s Revelation of Divine Love by the former superior of an Anglican contemplative order devoted to Julian.
- Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church by Paul Louis Metzger — This book is one of several titles on my to-read list that connect the dots between the Holy Eucharist and the subversive promise of Christian social thought.
- Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) by Rod Dreher — I might love this book or I might hate it, but either way I’m interested in the greening of the Republican party, which is what this book explores.
- Deification and Grace: Introductions to Catholic Doctrine by Daniel A. Keating — deification is usually associated with Eastern Orthodoxy; this Catholic-oriented survey by a respected scholar (and published by a conservative press) looks interesting.
- The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply—And What We Can Do About It by Thomas F. Pawlick — The politics of food production is something I think we all should be concerned about. It’s far beyond just being sure to buy organic: between GMOs and agribusiness, our health, our economy, and the ecology of the planet are all at risk.
- Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church by Robert McClory — A reminder that there’s more ways to be a good Christian than just blindly following the rules.
- The Gethsemani Encounter: A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics edited by Donald W. Mitchell and James Wiseman, O.S.B. — Christian-Buddhist dialogue emerging from a historic interfaith gathering of contemplatives at Gethsemani Abbey, where Thomas Merton lived.
- The Gifts of the Christ Child & Other Stories and Fairy Tales by George MacDonald — Recommended to me by the abbot of the Monastery where I work, the fiction of this 19th-century Scottish mystic is saturated with his Celtic, optimistic worldview.
- God Speaks in the Night: The Life, Times, and Teaching of St. John of the Cross edited by Silvano Giordano, OCD et al.; translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD — Lavishly illustrated biography of one of the Christian tradition’s greatest mystics, assembled by members of his Discalced Carmelite Order.
- The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor by Flannery O’Connor, selected and edited by Sally Fitzgerald — Beneath the southern gothic weirdness of O’Connor’s fiction is an intelligent, perceptive, and devout Catholic artist, who shines through in this anthology of her correspondence.
- Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology by Michael J. Gorman — There’s been quite a buzz about this book on Twitter; I’m particularly interested in it because it’s a Protestant exploration of deification.
- Joyce’s Book of the Dark: Finnegans Wake by John Bishop — I’m not sure if this book will make Finnegans Wake any more comprehensible, but it looks like a fun exploration of the mythic dreamscapes found within that most enigmatic of Irish novels.
- King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings by John Carey — anthology of the treasures of ancient Celtic Christian literature, edited by one of the most perceptive scholars of the field.
- Merton & Hesychasm: The Prayer of the Heart (The Eastern Church) edited by Bernadette Dieker and Jonathan Montaldo — A generous anthology of writings by and about Thomas Merton, concerning his interest in Eastern Orthodox spirituality and the Jesus Prayer tradition.
- Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism by Grace M. Jantzen — Jantzen’s book on the theology of Julian of Norwich was wonderful, so I’m curious to see what she has to say about mysticism as a whole.
- Quest for the Grail by Richard Rohr — I love Rohr’s work on emergence Christianity and contemplation, so I figure I’d enjoy seeing what he has to say about masculine spirituality.
- Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker — Not sure if I buy this book’s thesis or not, but I’m willing to give it a try: the authors argue that early Christian art (and, therefore, theology) was far more positive and life-affirming than the obsession with the crucifixion that emerged in the middle ages.
- Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community: Eight Essays by Wendell Berry — A book recommended to me by a spiritual director years ago, but which I never read: arguing for the link between authentic/healthy faith, community, small-scale agriculture, and living in harmony with the earth.
So there you go. Now, what’s your list?