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Summer reading list

What are you hoping to read this summer? We posed this question to the Century staff, a group of people with diverse tastes and interests. Along with commenting on our choices, feel free to post your own in the comments. --Ed.

Gary Dorrien's spring Century article, which argued for economic as well as political democracy, whetted my appetite for the book that part of it was adapted from: Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice.

Having temporarily assuaged my Hispanophile predilections with Giles Tremlett's trenchant Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past, I hope to follow it up with a book in a similar vein: Unearthing Franco's Legacy: Mass Graves and the Recovery of a Historical Memory in Spain, a collection of essays edited by Carlos Jerez-Farrán and Samuel Amago.

My latest foray into fiction: John le Carré's disquieting and politically impassioned espionage novel Absolute Friends. It prompted me to put on my must-read list le Carré's highly acclaimed character study A Perfect Spy ("the best English novel since the war," says Philip Roth).

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summer reading

State of Wonder – Ann Patchett. A tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows what lies on the other side.

Exiles – Ron Hansen – The novel tells the story of a notorious shipwreck in 1875 that prompted a troubled Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins to break years of “elected silence” with an outpouring of dazzling poetry.

Civil War Awakening – Adam Goodheart – The author, a historian and journalist, reframes the war as "not just a Southern rebellion but a nationwide revolution" to free the country of slavery and end paralyzing attempts to compromise over it.

Ravished by Beauty – The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality – Belden C. Lane – An exploration of Reformed Spirituality revealing an ecologically aware John Calvin who spoke of himself as “ravished” by the earth’s beauty, and early American theologian Jonathan Edwards who urged a sensuous “enjoyment” of God’s beauty as the only real way of knowing God.

Open Source Church. Making Room for the Wisdom of All – Landon Whitsitt – Whitsitt, a pastor in Liberty, Missouri and Vice Moderator of the PCUSA 219th General Assembly, translates the principles of open source technology to imagine a new framework for fluid and faithful congregations. An imaginative way of addressing social media and the implications for local congregations.


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