The theme for the staff picks for July is “books we have or could positively review.” Here are our recommendations for July:
Ed recommends Dog On It by Spencer Quinn. Ed thinks this is the funniest and most enjoyable book he has read in a long time. It is a mystery story featuring a Dog and his Detective.
Cindy recommends Lila by Marilynne Robinson. Of course if you haven’t already read Gilead or Home Cindy suggests you read those first.
Heather thinks you should read Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior. You should read it right now. Learn about Hannah More, an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things.
Carolyn suggests Wearing God by Lauren F. Winner. Metaphors for God can get old and worn. Winner helpfully points out some overlooked God-language to revive our views of God.
Sheila suggests Messengers of God by Elie Wiesel. Sheila decided to revisit her collection of Wiesel books after his recent death. If you haven’t met Wiesel’s writings yet, then this might be a good time and place to start reading him.
Connor suggests Seven Last Words by James Martin. Connor feels that this pick is appropriate as he likes the book so far, and it fits his self-proclaimed token-Catholic-on-staff identity.
Andrew recommends The Unintended Reformation to your attention. He keeps on recommending this book. It turned his understanding of the Reformation upside down, possibly your understanding will also shift if you read it.
For more summer reading suggestions, try our cloudy, rainy, and sunny day suggestions. Plus we have a general summer reading suggestions list.
Our staff picks for July are children’s books that we stock at the store.
Dr. Heather’s Pick: In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson
Dr. Heather says: “When I was 11 or so this book made me laugh out loud. In this book a grandmother tells her granddaughter stories connected with objects found In Grandma’s Attic. The format makes this a good book for reading aloud.” Ages 9-12
Sheila’s Pick: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Sheila notes that lots of people don’t think about the creation theology in the Narnia Chronicles. Perhaps it is because this book often gets shuffled off to the side. Read this book, enjoy the creation scene, and join the order debate — is The Magician’s Nephew best read as an introduction to Narnia, or after The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as a prequel to that book. The debate rages on.
July Staff Picks feature some of our favourite children’s books because Summer brings out the kid in all of us. Right?
Cindy’s Pick: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Cindy says: “A young girl, her brother, and a friend set out on a fantastic journey with a mysterious stranger in search of her missing father. Science fiction and fantasy combine to bring the reader into the tesseract concept (a wrinkle in time) and a journey filled with danger, adventure and choices that will ultimately affect not only their lives but the whole universe. Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, this is the first book the “Time Quintet”. Suggested reading age: 12 and up.”
Carolyn’s Pick: Raiders from the Sea by Lois Walfrid Johnson
Carolyn says: “Lois Walfrid Johnson was one of my favourite authors as I was growing up, and all of her books have remained solidly on my “keeper” shelf since then. This book is the first in her Viking Quest series, which follows the story of a young Irish girl and her brother who are captured by Vikings in the late 10th century. The book is full of adventure, history, and an authentic, non-moralistic engagement with what Christian faith might look like in difficult circumstances. Reading level: Ages 10 and up (probably younger if parent is reading to child).
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
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:
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.”
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.
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:
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.
The Theology of Suffering and Death by Natalie Kertes Weaver
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:
Saving Karl Barth by D. Stephen Long
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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:
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!
Simple & Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers by Jacques Barzun
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Brown. The definitive Augustine biography.
Constantine and Eusebius by Timothy D. Barnes.
Faith, Science & Understanding by John Polkinghorne
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Our fearless leader, Cindy, thinks she might get to some of these books this summer.
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.
Bonhoefer: Paster, Martyer, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. Cindy plans to read this on the dock at the cottage some long weekend.
7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.
The Contemporary Christian by John R.W. Stott.
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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