I’m not really a beach-reads kind of girl, since I’m usually too preoccupied with preventing skin cancer to get any real reading done between applying layers of sunblock. But I do get excited about warmer weather, when I can find some shade and read during my lunch break. Plus, now that I’ve moved way, way north of Boston, I have an hour bus commute to work and then home again.

Here’s what will occupy my reading time this summer:

Philip Pullman, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
I was a sucker for His Dark Materials. I read the entire trilogy during grad school, and perhaps was enchanted by such a fantastic means of procrastination. I’m hoping for another plot-driven novel, and I’m curious whether there will be as much sensationalism as the title suggests.

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus
Now that I’ve been attending Quaker meetings for several years, I want to better understand the theology behind pacifism and peace church history. I’m starting with a classic, but won’t stop there. What do you recommend?

Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer’s Life
As I’ve mentioned before, Kathleen Norris is one of the most profound Christian women writing today. Her newest book, Acedia and Me, was published in March. Acedia is a term used most frequently by medieval monks that connotes a spiritual depression leading to purposelessness.

Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith
It came out in 2007, and though I’ve read other books by Taylor, somehow this one snuck by me when it first came out. No doubt it is replete with Taylor’s usually honesty and gentleness.

David Shields, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
There’s been a buzz about David Shield’s literary Manifesto since it came out last spring. From what I’ve been told, Shields argues that the novel is becoming outdated and in face that narrative itself will change. It’s partly because the way our brains process information has changed in the digital age. The NY Times gave it a rave review, calling Shields a “benevolent and broad-minded revolutionary.”

I’m also on a quest to read more Annie Dillard, Alice Munro, and Neil Gaimon. I was in the middle of moving when #1B1T started, but I may still try to join in reading American Gods. I’ll probably have to buy American Gods from one of the great indie bookstores in Cambridge, but my usual author catch-up strategy is to head to the library and see what’s available.

What about you? What are you reading this summer?

About The Author

Jessica Belt

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