Bibliotherapy: Coffee Hour Edition

Painting by Amy Cummings, Fine Art America

Emmanuel at Home Morning Prayer on July 26th was all about books. “Reading for Hope: A Book Report Wrapped in a Homily” was the morning’s message for grownups. And “Happy Reading: A Children’s Homily” was my weekly offering for younger members. Each concluded with my invitation to listeners to bring a book to share with others at Zoom Coffee Hour.

A book you’ve read. A book you are reading. A book to recommend.

Wow! I was blown away by the response! Good thing I had asked Chuck to be the stenographer as I hosted the online conversation. No one came empty handed. Everyone — including little guys — brought books – and many brought more than one!

And books of all kinds: novels, fantasy, history, science, biography, memoir, humor, picture books and more. It was abundantly clear how deep and broad and high parishioners’ reading stacks are!

All reading is holy reading, lectio divina, I believe. And it seems that everyone who shared was reading for hope.

I promised to share them in my “Weekly Bibliotherapy” piece in the Thursday weekly parish e-news. Even better, I thought to turn it into this blog post. This way, even if you were unable to join us, you can check out the reviews and share.

With no further ado, here is the awesome list! Click on the title to check it out. Besides buying books online, consider checking your local library’s electronic book services, or purchasing from your favorite indie book shop.

Reader: Grace Pratt
Recommended: Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

Reader: Beth Boland
Recommended: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christopher Moore
Recommended: Citizens of London: Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, Lynne Olson

Reader: Bonnie Fairbank
Recommended: Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, Kathleen Brady

Reader: Jode Willingham
Recommended: Churchill’s & Malta’s War: 1939 – 1943, Douglas Austin

Reader: Hayes Willingham
Recommended: Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris

Reader: Laura West
Recommended: A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership, Wendell Berry
Recommended: That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation, David Bentley Hart

Reader: Mary Kasik
Recommended: Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Kim Michelle Richardson
Recommended: Ice Blue (Lord and Lady Hetheridge #1), Emma Jameson

Reader: Phil Kasik
Recommended: The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson

Reader: Amélie Cagle
Recommended: God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, Adam Nicolson

Reader: Ryan Fitch
Recommended: The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer, Renee Fleming
Recommended: Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
Recommended: Workin’ It! Ru Paul’s Guide to Life, Liberty and Style, Ru Paul

Reader: Taylor Craig 
Recommended: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, His Holiness the Dalia Lama XIV & Bishop Desmond Tutu

Reader: Nancy Dupree 
Recommended: Meet Me at The Museum, Ann Youngson

Reader: Lola Beggs
Recommended: Fall of Giants (Century Trilogy #1), Ken Follett (There are two more in this series.)

Reader: Doris Rudolph
Recommended: This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel
Recommended: The Library Book, Susan Orlean

Reader: Chuck McCoart
Recommended: The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

Reader: Bridget Flaaen
Recommended: Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans
Recommended: The Gifts of Imperfection, Bréne Brown

Reader: Ben Flaaen 
Recommended: Bernstein Bears: God Made You Special, Mike Berenstain
Recommended: One, Kathryn Otoshi

Reader: McKenna Flaaen
Recommended: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (Volume 1. McKenna has read the whole series!)
Recommended: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, Chris Colfer (Volume 1. McKenna has read several more!)

Reader: Karen Coda
Recommended: Persuasion, Jane Austen
Recommended: How to Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

Reader: Peggy Conner
Recommended: The Lighthouse (Volume 1 of St. Simon’s Trilogy), Eugenia Price

Reader: Katherine Conner
Recommended: Becoming, Michelle Obama

Reader: Patty Vance
Recommended: Father Melancholy’s Daughter, Gail Godwin

Reader: Paul Donato
Recommended: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
Recommended: Down and Out in Paris and London and Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell

Reader: Meredith Wade
Recommended: Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson
Recommended: Murder on the Left Bank, Cara Black

Reader: Nan DeRenzi
Recommended: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, Eric Larson
Recommended: A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women’s Secret Board Game that Helped Win WWII, Simon Parkin

Reader: Ann Wheaton
Recommended: American Lion, Andrew Jackson in the White House, Jon Meacham
Recommended: John Adams, David McCullough

Readers: Adam & Amy Schildge
Recommended: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (on Audible), James McPhearson

Reader: Adam Schildge
Recommended: The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic — And How It Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World, Steven Johnson

Reader: Theo Schildge 
Recommended: myOn Digital Library – Educational Online Reading Resource Service for Schools. (Theo has read about 100 books!)

Reader: Cece Schildge 
Recommended: But No Elephants, Jerry Smith

Wow! That’s 45 books to add to your list — not counting trilogies, sequels and series!

Happy reading!

— Joani, July 2020

Spirituality The Episcopal Church

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The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog

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