June Staff Picks: Random Books for Random Travels

Our June staff picks don’t have a theme. It is kind of a random month in the store. We are getting ready for inventory, there’s construction next door that had been rattling our windows and bones, and the weather in Toronto has been pretty random as well. Those are the reasons for our randomness. Without further ado, here are the first two random selections:

Sheila’s Pick: Sheila is our resident classicist turned theologian. She’s really into Patristics, which should surprise no one. Sheila’s pick of the month is

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Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

This is a classic biography of a missionary to China. Sheila reminds us that we need to read good Christian biographies to be challenged in our life of faith.

Carolyn’s Pick: Carolyn is our resident philosopher. She grew up in B.C. which may explain her affinity for bears. Carolyn’s June pick is:

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Carolyn says “You don’t need to have small people in your life to find yourself completely entranced by this children’s story. Working from an obscure 12th century reference to a manuscript being eaten by a bear, the author creates a charming story about life in the world of medieval monastic libraries. This is a simple, beautifully illustrated tale for book-lovers of all ages.”

Happy reading!

 

Sheila’s Next Five

Sheila is our other resident classicist and customer service representative. She teaches dead languages and is writing a thesis about the resurrection; make of that what you will.

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Lectures on the Christian Sacraments by St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Sheila is about to start this book on the sacraments. She reads extensively on sacraments as seen by this book, also near the top of her to-be-read pile:

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Thank God it’s Thursday by William H. Willimon.

Remember that thesis on the resurrection? That might explain the next two books in Sheila’s pile of reading.

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The Theology of Suffering and Death by Natalie Kertes Weaver

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Theology, Death and Dying by Ray S. Anderson

Finally, to assist in Sheila’s reading of Karl Barth on creation (again for the thesis) this book:

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Saving Karl Barth by D. Stephen Long

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Alain’s Next Five

Alain is one of our classics scholars. He works in customer service at Crux, but will, sadly, be leaving us later this summer to start his Ph.D studies. These are the five books he might have time for before an advanced degree takes over his life:

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Getting What you Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning a Master’s or PhD by Robert L. Peters. There’s no mystery around why Alain might make this book a priority in the next few months!

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Simple & Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers by Jacques Barzun

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Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Brown. The definitive Augustine biography.

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Constantine and Eusebius by Timothy D. Barnes.

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Faith, Science & Understanding by John Polkinghorne

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Cindy’s Next Five

Our fearless leader, Cindy, thinks she might get to some of these books this summer.

Rome

Rome & Jerusalem by Martin Goodman was recommended by Terry Donaldson for summer reading in 2013. Cindy has her eye on it for this summer’s reading.

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Bonhoefer: Paster, Martyer, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. Cindy plans to read this on the dock at the cottage some long weekend.

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7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.

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The Contemporary Christian by John R.W. Stott.

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Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants by Jane Goodall. Cindy’s farm family roots are showing in this selection. She looks forward to reading the wisdom and wonder of the plant world, especially as Jane Goodall wrote the book.

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Carolyn’s Next Five

Carolyn is our local philosopher. She works in customer service and shipoing. These are the next five books she thinks she might read when she’s not writing her thesis this summer.

planet

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

dark

 

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

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The Brothers Karamazov by Fydor Dostoyevsky

human

Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

bread

Take this Bread by Sara Miles

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The Next Five Books

Here at Crux, the staff members have put together lists of the next five books we might read. All of us have the habit of drifting off into what looks interesting at the moment, so these lists may not actually reflect what we read over the summer. They do reflect books that are on our current reading horizons and in our To Be Read piles.

Dr. Heather’s Next Five:

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Jesus and the Victory of God by N.T. Wright

This is the one book on my list that I am confident that I will finish this book this summer. I’ve already started reading, and am into the second major section. I once had a discussion with a colleague about whether Wright’s big books are actually serious scholarship because they are readable. I argued that the readability factor makes them Very Serious Scholarship because more people may actually understand what Wright is saying, thus his ideas have a better chance of intelligent acceptance, or intelligent rebuttal.

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The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

This is my book about reading for this summer. The one I read last summer was a great disappointment, and it has taken a while for me to pick a book about books again. We’ll see how this one goes.

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One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I need at least one mystery to read in the summer. I’ve enjoyed Spencer-Fleming’s series featuring the detecting duo of an Episcopal Priest and the local Police Chief, and this is the one I’ve not read yet.

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Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

People keep telling me that this is the best novel Lewis wrote. I haven’t read it yet. I’ll let you know if I agree with my friends.

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C.S. Lewis, A Life by Alister McGrath

I’ve had this book on my to-be-read pile for too long. I hope to actually read it this summer. I’ve heard good things about it. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve read it.

 

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April Staff Picks

Ed:

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The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

Cindy:

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Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI

As we head towards Easter, this is a fantastic series to read. The first volume (of the three volume set) covers the time period from the baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration, volume two concentrates on Holy Week, while volume three focuses on the infancy narratives. The books scour the gospels to find the true identity of Jesus and paint a compelling portrait of him. You cannot read these books without coming away with a richer and fuller knowledge and picture of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Dr. Heather:

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The Courage To Teach by Parker J. Palmer

The Courage to Teach is an insightful, and at times very funny, look at teaching. Palmer presents teaching as he experienced it, and in so doing, gives courage to his readers who have similar experiences.

Sheila:

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Preaching from Memory to Hope by Thomas G. Long

In this book Long looks at the necessity of memory and remembering in the context of preaching. He reminds us of eschatological hope, so that we remember that God’s people, the Church, has a past, a present, and a future.

Conner:

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Enchiridion by Epictetus

The title is not the only strange characteristic of this work. Epictetus, influenced  heavily by Stoic thought, here gives us a prescription for living. It suggests (in broad strokes) ways of comprehending what we call “good’ and/or “bad” elements of our lives. It intrigued me, because it offered answers without supplying an easy way out. Yes, you could consult the work for advice in making many decisions; however, its advice will offer you a new way of conceptualizing the problem, rather than providing a solution. It is not an ancient equivalent of a modern self-help guide. The essential distinction Epictetus makes in the work is between that which is within the control of one’s will, and that which is not. We may rightly ask in some cases where that distinction lies. Epictetus would likely respond by saying it is for us to intuit. In that way, this small book only aims to offer pathways to answers. I wouldn’t follow all of the Enchriridion‘s suggestions to their logical conclusions, but as a thought experiment, the work is interesting because of its quirks.

Carolyn:

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The End of Apologetics by Myron Bradley Penner

Arguing that most examples of Christian apologetics on offer today have been shaped and oriented toward modernity’s obsession with reason as the final arbiter of truth, Penner calls for a new form of apologetics for a postmodern context—apologetics that is both loving in its delivery and faithful in its witness.

Andrew:

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Ethics in the Presence of Christ by Christopher J. Holmes

Chris Holmes is a TST graduate currently teaching theology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. This is his most recent book.

Rev. Heather:

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Tokens of Trust by Rowan Williams

Tokens of Trust is a little book that raises big questions. Whether you are looking for a solid introduction to the Christian Faith or working out how to explain your odd choice to spend Sunday mornings in church, this book is well worth the read. Written in Rowan Williams’s unmistakable voice it walks you through the Apostle and Nicene creeds addressing questions of Theodicy (explaining good in the face of evil), exploring the person and significance of Jesus Christ, and looking at where the church fits into not only scripture but the contemporary world. It really is a fabulous read.
March Monthly Staff Picks May (part 1)