Open Thread: What Book or Books are You Reading right Now?

The more specific you can be (why did you choose this particular book, what especially do you like about it, etc. etc.), the more others can enjoy your contributions–KSH.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Books

28 comments on “Open Thread: What Book or Books are You Reading right Now?

  1. Ian+ says:

    I usually keep a theology work on the go for daytime reading and fiction on the bedside table. Right now, Pope Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth, Pt II”- I read the first one, so couldnt’ wait for this one. He’s a master exegete who draws out the most wonderful insights from Scripture. Fiction: Anita Diamant’s “The Red Tent”- the narrator is Dinah, the daughter of Jacob (as in Abraham, Isaac and…) and Leah. First heard of it from one of my former professors in a sermon in Toronto this summer, then found it in a pile of books a friend was getting rid of before moving. Interesting take on what my prof. called “the most dysfunctional family in the Bible.”

  2. An Anxious Anglican says:

    I just finished Schlingensiepen’s biography of Bonhoeffer, which was wonderful, and free of some of the cant sometimes found in biographies of the great “martyr, thinker, and man of resistance” (which is the subtitle of this book). I strongly recommend it!

    I have also re-started J.I. Packer’s “Knowing God” based on the surprising and enthusiastic remarks of a friend over lunch the other day. I have made two stabs at it in the past but have been unable to finish it because of its heavily Calvinistic orientation. I wish that there was some evidence in the book that the author was Anglican rather than Presbyterian or Reformed! Perhaps three times will be a charm.


  3. Frances Scott says:

    First and foremost, the Bible. Richard and I read together almost every morning. The schedule we use enables us to read through the Bible once a year easily…even if we have to skip a few days.
    Today we read Proverbs 12:14-25; Nehemiah 11; II Timothy 4; and Luke 18:18-30. We are on our 7th read through. I have used the same schedule (published in the Discipleship Journal Issue 13, 1983) since it first came out so this is read through number 28 for me. I do this because I enjoy it and because I find that it is tremedously helpful when I am preparing to teach. After having read genealogies and lists of people so many times, I am more aware of the relationships and interdependence of the charactors.

    My daughter Anna sent me a book for Mother’s Day: One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. I’ve read it through twice and keep going back to it. It is the history of the author’s learning to thank God for everything. I need frequent reminder that I must learn to live thankfully, no matter what, or dry up and die inside.
    Frances S Scott

  4. Mark Baddeley says:

    Reading a bunch of works on Athanasius’ theology, and early and medieval trinitarian thinking, for my studies. As part of that I read M.C. Steenberg’s Of God and Man: Theology as Anthropology from Irenaeus to Athanasius, which I found extremely helpful and stimulating. While I think he’s overplayed his basic thesis that the early church fathers were basically doing their pursuit of the knowledge of God in order to promote their grasp of anthropology, his demonstration of the correlation of the two in their thinking is still quite edifying (and has a lot of resonances with Calvin’s view of the relationship of knowledge of God and knowledge of self in the Institutes) and he has a lot of great insights along the way.

    I also recently read Basil of Caesarea’s Hexameron as well as Gregory’s Hexameron (their sermons on Genesis 1 essentially). I’ve been wanting to read those for a while to get a better understanding of how Christians read Genesis 1 before the modern scientific debates over evolution and the age of the universe erupted. Quite a lot of surprises packed in there – both good and bad – and a few ways of reading the text that I think offer some real resources for us.

    I also read through the book entitled On the Human Condition by Basil of Caeserea – a collection of different things by Basil, all focusing on anthropology and his doctrine of sin. Again, lots of great stuff, some very unhelpful stuff (we get saved by keeping the commandments and grace simply perfects our efforts at doing that), but all of it very thoughtful and lots of material for further reflection.

  5. Capt. Father Warren says:

    “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). A wonderful look at the Canon of the Eucharisitic Liturgy as a continuation of Jewish Temple worship which took on the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Notable corrections to erroneous implementations of both RC and Anglican Liturgy through incorrect reading of Vatican II. A shear Anglo-Catholic delight.

  6. Cennydd13 says:

    On a slightly different note, I am currently reading “George Washington’s Sacred Fire,” by Peter Lillback with Jerry Newcombe, which tells of his Christian upbringing in the Church of England and his later relations with what became the Protestant Episcopal Church. The authors clearly refute the allegations that he was a Deist, and in fact was a Theist.

  7. Cennydd13 says:

    And yesterday, I visited Barmes and Noble, where I bought a copy of “A World of Fire, Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War” by Amanda Foreman. It looks to be a very interesting read.

  8. Ad Orientem says:

    Two books, one fiction the other non-fiction.

    “Clash of Kings” (sequel to Game of Thrones) by George R R Martin and “Transatlantic: Samuel Cunard Isambard Brunel and the Great Atlantic Steamships” by Stephen Fox. I’m enjoying both so far.

  9. Connie Sandlin says:

    I’m reading “Operation Dragoon: France’s Second D-Day” about the Allied invasion of southern France in which my uncle Pvt. Moffett C. Cook, was killed in action as a paratrooper near Draguignan, France on this day (August 15) in 1944. His death happened several years before my birth, so I never knew him, but I appreciate his sacrifice. May he rest in peace.

  10. clarin says:

    Jacques Barzun, ‘From Dawn to Decadence’, Xenophon, ‘Anabasis’, Homer, ‘The Odyssey’. Recently read Paul Copan, ‘Is (the OT) God a Moral Monster?’, and Theodor Strom, ‘Immensee’, a romantic novella.
    The NT in Greek every day – gets easier after 20 years!

  11. Clueless says:

    “Heretics” by GK Chesterton. Hilariously funny!

  12. Cranmer 1552 says:

    @ An Anxious Anglican

    I am glad you took this opportunity to demonstrate your superiority over J.I. Packer.

  13. evan miller says:

    After a year of off again, on again reading, I just finished “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by (then) Cardinal Ratzinger. It was’nt easy reading for me and I got off to a slow start, but boy, was it worthwhile. He explains the significance of so much that we have lost in our tradition and what he writes has every bit as much relevance for Anglicans as for the RCC.
    I’m now better than halfway through ABP Ramsey’s “The Gospel and the Catholic Church.” Again, finding it rather heavy going at times, but much good in it.
    Recently finished “Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns,” an excellent indictment of the cult of the “contemporary” in church culture. Written by a former PCA minister and current college professor in Media Ecology who currently worships at a REC parish, it is a very compelling read.
    Also recently finished “Merrily on High,” the memoirs of Fr. Colin Stephenson about his life as an Anglo-Catholic priest in England between the wars. He was Guardian of the Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham until his death in 1973. While I am myself a High Church Anglo-Catholic, I found Fr. Stepehnson’s Brand of churchmanship a bit spikey even for me. Yet, he seems to have been a likable fellow who bore misfortune with grace and good humor.

  14. David Keller says:

    #13–Keep in mind that almost all of the great hymns in our hymnbooks were condemned in the 1800’s by the CoE as being mindlessly contemporary. #7–The author was on Booknotes this weekend and it sounds like it should be a very good book. I usually feel like a dolt when Kendall posts this reading list question. People around here read stuff like Herodotus in the original Greek. I am reading “Caesar’s Comentaries on the Gaelic Wars”; but for you Hereodotus fans, I found it in an English translation.

  15. evan miller says:

    Either we have different hymnals or you and I differ on what constitutes “great hymns.” We use the Hymnal 1982, and sometimes the 1940 hymnal. Many of the hymns I consider great were written in the 16th century or even far earlier, while the great Baroque composers are widely represented as well. That said, I do love many of the 19th century hymns as well. Not so much the 20th century stuff (Vaughn Williams excepted).

  16. David Keller says:

    Everything by the Wesleys (taritors by bringing the Gospel to the unwashed masses) and Isaac Watts (heretic/non-conformist).

  17. Undergroundpewster says:

    Just finished two histories, “The Story of Christianity” by Justo L. Gonzalez, and “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

    I think I will need a new set of glasses after all of that reading.

  18. drjoan says:

    I am rereading Catherine Marshall’s “Christy” for a book club. I read it several years ago and like it then. Since then, it has been made into a tv movie with Kelly Martin and Tyne Daley as the two lead women characters; I loved that series. This is the story of a 19 year old women living in Appelachia pre-WWI and taking on the ministry of teaching the 60+ mountain children in a one room school house. Her mentor was the mysterious feminist Miss Alice Henderson; her friend was the mountain woman Fairlight Spencer. I believe the story is based on the life of Marshall’s mother. It is a real upper!

  19. Cennydd13 says:

    Yes, it is indeed a “real upper,” and I too enjoyed the series.

  20. Already left says:

    I just read “Heaven Is For Real” – it’s a real eye-opener.

    Also am about to read “A Walk In The Woods”.

  21. johnd says:

    Eamon Duffy’s “The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580”. the book posits that Catholicism in England at that time was not as decayed as has been assumed but that from the lay person’s point of view was popular & respected and the Reformation was a violent shock to the religious laity. Really a textbook but very readable.
    For fun, “Worth Dying For”, a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child.

  22. alfonso says:

    war and peace. never read it when I was young. about 120 pages in. not regretting reading now, but also not regretting that I didn’t tackle this sooner.

  23. Elle says:

    “How To Live; or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer” by Sarah Bakewell.

  24. macpat says:

    Warrior Monk, Keating
    New Man, Merton

  25. Dallasite says:

    The First Tycoon, the biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
    Speaking of hymns, some are wonderful, too many are boring and dull. Good contemporary is better than mediocre old. (I’ve sung in choirs for over 35 years, and perhaps I’m getting jaded. I love the sentiment of “Lift High the Cross”, but the hymn itself is increasingly tedious and dull to me.)

  26. Tory says:

    Thomas Merton’s The Ascent of Truth. Just finished a retreat at Gethsemani Abbey and wanted to keep it going.

    The biography of Hannah Arendt to help me better understand the evolution of her thinking, with which I stand in astonishment. So much clarity about the nature of politics and healthy citizenry.

  27. An Anxious Anglican says:

    11 @ Cranmer 1552

    Not sure what you meant about demonstrating my “superiority over J.I. Packer.” You have to admit that he comes at things from a distinctively Puritan perspective, and I would be surprised to learn if I was the only Anglican who found it difficult to handle in the quantities served up in “Knowing God.” As I think you know, I (we?) attend a very evangelical Anglican church and I come from an Anglo-Catholic background and am attending Nashotah’s distance learning program. I am just trying to understand the evangelical stream of Anglicanism as well as I can as it seems that the Lord has planted me squarely within it (in a parish context). I can never hope to be “superior” to Packer in any meaningful comparison, nor do I want to be; I just want to understand him and why he is an Anglican.

    If it makes you feel any better, my next book will be “Independent People,” a novel about an Icelandic sheep farmer. I don’t want to be superior to that author, either, or even the sheep. I am just “a worm and no man.”


  28. evan miller says:

    Anxious Anglican,
    I’m in the same situation as you; Anglo-Catholic in an evangelical parish. Actually, the rector is the evangelical. The congregation is all over the map, with most from other denominations and little formation as Anglicans.

    Dallasite (#24),
    I’m not sure I would agree with you about good contemporary vs mediocre old, but I’m right with you on some hymns, “Lift High the Cross” included. I sing in our choir and am frankly heartily sick of singing “Amazing Grace,” though it is a perfectly good hymn. I can never imagine tireing of “Ah, Holy Jesus,” or “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” though!