What to Read this Summer

What to Read this Summer

Uplifting Summer Book Suggestions from St. Mary Monastery Oblates

Summer is upon us and for many, that means taking the leisure to read a good book. We asked our Oblates for some recommendations and share them below. Have a book to suggest? Let us know!

Terry Martz - I have enjoyed the book Praying Our Goodbyes, by Joyce Rupp. She shares how to get rid of all the baggage in our lives.

Chris Kraft – I recommend The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell.

Lynn Batcher – I have 2 suggestions. First, Grounded by Diana Butler Bass. Using knowledge of the latest research, history and theology, she unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground through a God who resides in the world with us--in the soil, water, sky, homes, neighborhoods and the world. Beautiful writing from a scholar and author of 9 books on American religion.

Second, The Road to Character by David Brooks. Chapters on individuals who exemplify character and how it developed in their lives.  Dorothy Day, Augustine, and A. Philip Randolph are three of the people he writes about. 

We used both these books in a book group at my church.

Sharon Dodd Wonder by R. J. Palacio is a middle school children’s book, but a super read. Palacio’s other 2 books that accompany WONDER are great too.

I also recommend News of the World by Paulette Jiles and The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Bill MaakestadtFalling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr is wonderfully insightful and inspiring. It just might be Fr. Rohr’s best book. Highly recommended.

Anne Colloton – I just finished Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles and God by Lori Erickson

Erickson is a travel writer and spiritual seeker. Most of the chapters are pilgrimages she has taken and a few are about profound experiences in her life. 

The book is written in narrative form, with reflection, beginning with her Lutheran roots in Decorah, Iowa, and exploring everything from Native American spirituality in South Dakota to Saint Columba at Iona, Scotland. Ericksen eventually becomes ordained as an Episcopal deacon and shares stories of her experiences as a deacon.

The book is funny, filled with joy and very relateable for all spiritual seekers. I was laughing out loud and brought to tears at different points in the book. Quick read also.

Bob Hunter – I recommend A Monastic Journey by Thomas Merton.

Ric Smith – I’m reading Gregory Boyle’s Barking at the Choir and Tattoos on the Heart. Wonderful stuff! And I'm always ready to launch a campaign for Flannery O'Connor – any and all! 

Marlene Moshage – I’d like to recommend Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Philippe. This book has literally been a “life preserver” for me during some of my darker days. Full of gentle wisdom and compassionate encouragement, it has been instrumental in helping me to understand, in much greater depth, the “peace that passes all understanding.” I have recommended it to other friends and spiritual seekers. It has become indispensable to me. I know that it would be a blessing to so many others as well. 

Linda Jani – I have enjoyed the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. There are currently 17 books in the series. The stories are set in Botswana and follow the investigations of Precious Ramotswe and her colleagues. The stories reveal the foibles and human spirit of the characters in a heart-warming way. Perfect summer reads!

Jean Wolf – I recommend Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. This memoir, or maybe more of a reflection, focuses around topics like Marriage, Girlfriends, Stuff, Our bodies, Parenting that are relevant to her life experiences. It is a progression of thoughts that begins with who she was (as a young person), what she thought she knew about herself, what she invented, and what she has learned and accepted about who she has become.

Quindlen’s reflections connect to what matters to women and often state what we wish we might have said. 

John and Kay Mallon – Although we’ve moved away from the St. Mary’s area to Saint Joseph Missouri and now meet with Oblates connected to Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison Kansas, we can recommend The Road To Eternal Life - Reflections on the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule by Michael Casey OCSO. An Australian Cistercian, Casey offers great wisdom and insight. Our Oblate group uses it as preparation for Oblation for newcomers and now our group of “old” Oblates is studying it!

BJ Keegan – I just reread The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandinos. It’s a good reminder of gratefulness!

Feli Sebastian-Moeller – I have two recommendations:

1. Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. It’s about people who live,die, and why when faced or experienced accidents and/or tragedies.

2. Safe in the Shepherd's Arms: Hope and Encouragement from Psalm 23 by Max Lucado. It’s a reflection of the psalm, line by line with true to life examples/ experiences and applications to spiritual life. 

Amy Carr – My suggestion is Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist: The Story of a Transformation by Yossi Klein Halevi (first written in 1995, with a new introduction from 2014).

While the title sounds disturbing, this is a very good book for those who want to better understand how woundedness (like the Holocaust and its effects on subsequent generations) can lead to extremism, and also how walking differently with collective and familial wounds can gradually move us from extremism ("Never again will our people be vulnerable!") to interfaith openness.  

The book is also an intimate portrait of post-Holocaust American Jewish life in the 1950's to early 1980's, as a microcosm of larger patterns in American culture. 

I also recommend a subsequent book, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land by Yossi Klein Halevi.


Comments (1)

  1. Feli Sebastian:
    May 27, 2018 at 09:27 PM

    The book of Max Lucado on Psalm 23 is actually entitled: “Traveling Light”
    Sorry for the inconvenience.

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