Hey, What’s Everybody Reading?

We’re nearing the apex of summer (i.e., July 4th), and that means that we’re all well into our summer reading program, right? Shamelessly copying a great idea from one of my wife’s posts last year, I thought this would be a good time to ask what everyone is reading. This could include bedtime, quiet time, potty-time, beach time, drive-time (books on CD or tape), iPod time, etc.

I’ll lead off – and the number of books in play reflects only the wonders of ADD, not any great literary aspirations on my part.

Quiet time / bedtime:

The Great Omission by Dallas Willard. Insightful as always, but in smaller bites – great for ADD.

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. As always, thoughtful, provocative, wide in scope, wonderfully written.

Potty-time: The Calendar section and Entertainment Weekly, as always. At the office I just read an incredible National Geographic article about malaria. I know that this isn’t really a book and just sounds weird, but I was blown away by the worldwide devastation caused by this disease.

Drive time: Three books on CD in rotation.

Babylon Rising by Tim LaHaye. I have a perverse interest in popular Christian fiction. This one involves an Indiana-Jones type evangelical archeologist, and some really powerful bad guys who utilize a hit-man known simply as Talon. See, he has this artificial finger with a really sharp nail… Don’t all run out and get this one at once.

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. You’ve seen this one for sale at Starbuck’s. A horrifying first person account by an ex-boy soldier during the insane civil war in Sierra Leone. Like the LaHaye book, I can only take this one in small quantities, but for different reasons.

A History of Britain, Part 3 – The Fate of Empire (1776-2000) by Simon Schama. I had trouble getting into this one, so I skipped to disc 6 or 7. Heard an incredible story (no kidding) about medical care during the Crimean War, and now I’m in. Right now I’m hearing about how Prince Albert was really running things for Queen Victoria.

Okay, who’s next?

This entry was posted in art and culture, literature, miscellany and tagged , , on by .

About Paul

Addison Road reader and commenter for a year or so. Husband of Teri (Grammy) for 32 years and counting. Family physician for the same length of time. (We were married the day after medical school graduation.) Father of one of the Dailies vocalists, and enthusiastic grandfather. A few books during my spare time. Focus on the Family Physicians Resource Council member since 1990. Film geek and would-be critic (aren't we all?).

40 thoughts on “Hey, What’s Everybody Reading?

  1. Doug

    Just finished “Leaving Church” by Barbara Brown Taylor. This is her account of the journey she took to faith to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church and how she left the priesthood to preserve her faith. Taylor is a great writer and her story is engaging.

    Currently reading “Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith” by Diana Butler Bass. This book is based on her year-long study of vital mainline churches in America. You may think such a thing is hard to find. so did she until she looked. Her surprising discovery is the motive for the book.

    Just started “The Forgotten Ways” by Alan Hirsch. So far it seems Hirsch thinks that the best models for church ended in 313 AD when Constantine ruined Christianity by making it legal.

    Just started “Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality” by Rob Bell

    I have not gone on summer vacation yet so “fun” reading is not on this list. I am hopeful I will pick up some ideas for that list here.

  2. Morphea

    “High Tide In Tucson” – a book of essays by Barbara Kingsolver. I got into her when I finally got tired of people asking me if I’d read “The Poisonwood Bible” because I’d lived in Congo. Whenever I need a kick in the pants vis a vis remembering what I REALLY value in life (other than, for example, getting loaded with Ramon and watching Buffy DVDs to the detriment of our housework, projects, and finances) I read anything by her. Besides “Poisonwood”. “High Tide” I like because it’s a nonfiction peek into her real life. Ten years ago.

  3. grammy

    Bed time: “Uplift War” by David Brin (I can’t read anything that will cause great epiphanies before bedtime because epiphanies make me think and thinking keeps me wide awake).

    Quiet time: “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard (my guru — in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, everything you read or hear that strikes you as completely spot on originated with Dallas).

    Potty time: Entertainment Weekly (Please refer to the comment about epiphanies above — I prefer to not have great ideas while on the pot).

    Beach time: (We have a beach???)

    Drive time: Any and every sermon from Ortberg and Bell, just as fast as Paul can download them from the internet for me. (Was there life before these two people?)

    That’s it. I’m not ADD like some people I know and love — I drink deeply from one or two books at a time. :-) (I love you, sweety.)

  4. Sara

    “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Glibert. If you ever have had a crisis (specifically a spiritual one), and have fantasized about leaving it all behind and traveling the world in an attempt to find happiness, you should drop everything you’re doing and read this book, cover to cover, in one seating.

    This story is down to Earth, while being up in the clouds. It’s real and raw and outrageous at the same time. For me, it got to the heart of the issue of finding your happiness within yourself. This woman is amazing and courageous and forthcoming, and she is also you and me. I am currently reading it for the second time. In her journey she learns about Food in Italy, Faith in India, and Self Love in Indonesia.

    If you read this book and it resonated with you, read “Jun Q’anil: One who walks the way”, by Jessica Nagler. This is a similar story but with much more spiritual overtones. So if you’re not keen on talking birds and Mayan Priests stick with the previous recommendation. This book one was life changing for me. Really a profound read!

    That’s the end of my reading rainbow book review.



  5. Heidi Marshall

    Analyzing Performance Problems: How to figure out why people aren’t doing what they should be, and what to do about it. Oh wait. You weren’t asking about textbooks, were you?

    I did read a great Don Miller book, Through Painted Deserts, recently, and I loved it.

  6. Karen

    Um…One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The potty book for boys, The first box of hooked on Phonics, and People Magazine.

  7. Sharolyn

    Karen, you are wonderful.

    I’m reading Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. It’s full of true stories about people who found themselves in peril. Either they should have survived, but didn’t… or they shouldn’t have survived, but did. He doesn’t make great implications about applying their practices to one’s personal life, but I’m find myself naturally doing that on my own.

  8. aly hawkins

    Sara – Just finished Eat, Pray, Love and enjoyed every word. I found myself fervently asking God to meet my own Richard The Yogi From Texas. Everyone needs their spiritual hide tanned now and again.

    I’ll pick up the Nagler book.

  9. Jeremy Bouma

    Hi all!
    I used to comment on here a lot like a year and a half ago, and then life went bad, and then life went worse…but I’ve lurked a while and thought this would be a good jumpin back point. Michael said the coals are still hot and the beer still flowing like wine, so here I am, potato salad and all :)


    Leisure/Reading Time:
    “God and Empire” by Crossan
    “Writings and Difference” by Derrida
    “Jesus” by Marcus Borg

    Jesus time:
    “Jesus the Pastor” by John Frye (cause I start seminary this fall)
    Working my way through Proverbs this month (which is funny cause I grew up in fundie land and NEVER did the proverbial [pun intended] chapter-a-day-in-proverbs-for-a-month-keeps-the-devil-away thing before…but I like it!)

    Potty-time/work breaks (which are almost one in the same, cause both are meant to relieve you of waste…)
    Lastest issue of WIRED
    ADBUSTERS: the fake issue

    Anywho, I used to enjoy communing with you all back in the day and lookin over the fence from a distance, so hopefully I can join back in all the fun :)


  10. Jeremy Bouma

    Hi all!
    I used to comment on here a lot like a year and a half ago, and then life went bad, and then life went worse…but I’ve lurked a while and thought this would be a good jumpin back point. Michael said the coals are still hot and the beer still flowing like wine, so here I am, potato salad and all :)


    Leisure/Reading Time:
    “God and Empire” by Crossan
    “Writings and Difference” by Derrida
    “Jesus” by Marcus Borg

    Jesus time:
    “Jesus the Pastor” by John Frye (cause I start seminary this fall)
    Working my way through Proverbs this month (which is funny cause I grew up in fundie land and NEVER did the proverbial [pun intended] chapter-a-day-in-proverbs-for-a-month-keeps-the-devil-away thing before…but I like it!)

    Potty-time/work breaks (which are almost one in the same, cause both are meant to relieve you of waste…)
    Lastest issue of WIRED
    ADBUSTERS: the fake issue

    Anywho, I used to enjoy communing with you all back in the day and lookin over the fence from a distance, so hopefully I can join back in all the fun :)


  11. Jeremy Bouma

    doh! first time back and I post a double comment…of course!

    Maybe Father Time could turn back the clock and pretend the first one wasn’t posted :)


  12. TomTom

    Serious: Boundaries for kids by Townsend and Cloud.
    Fun: Timescape by Gregory Benford
    Bathroom breaks: Motor Trend, Automobile, Car and Driver, or Road & Track. Whichever one is handy. Soon to add Cycle World. I like stuff that goes fast.

  13. aly hawkins

    Jeremy! Good to hear from you again. Perhaps we can get the D.C. update??

    I’m a one-book-at-a-time kinda girl, so quiet time, potty time, etc. all get the same treatment. I’m loyal that way. Books I’ve read in the last month:

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’d been feeling guilty and uneducated due to my Marquez-lessness, having never picked him up before now. Boy, Oprah was right: He kicks nombre. And I was totally blown away at how well his work translates to English. Funny, wise, quirky, spiritual, painful — it all comes through. “Turn of phrase” isn’t something that usually translates well, but Marquez’s work is a languid, language-loving exception.

    The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. I got turned onto this guy a couple years ago with his Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (not to be missed), and Chabon’s newest novel does not disappoint. I could not have liked it more without risking bodily injury.

    The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, much-revered for his novelized histories of ancient Greece, such as Gates of Fire (which kicks Frank Miller’s ass from here to Sparta), Tides of War and Last of the Amazons (which is as good as ancient Grecian proto-feminist literature gets). If you’re a creative type (and who the hell else hangs out here?), this little book will give you the swift kick in the ass you didn’t know you wanted.

    From Jesus to Christianity by L. Michael White, an academic yet accessible look at the people, cultures and events that formed early Christianity. Sounds like a snoozer, I know…but it was actually quite fascinating. Did you know that 2nd-century Christians wrote the ANE-equivalent of fanfic about the apostles? Yeah, me neither.

    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. See Sara’s comments above. Loved it. Om.

    And, of course, reading for my day job. Let me break cover by recommending Raising Fit Kids in a Fat World and The Relief of Imperfection, both due out in January. I’m actually proud to have worked on these puppies.

    Geez. No wonder I never get any writing done.

  14. Ash

    Okay, have a lot of time on my hands as of late, so in no particular order:

    1776 by David McCullough
    Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
    Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham
    Memorial day by Vince Flynn (special thanks to Phil Weiss for a dirty, dirty habit)
    Strip City by Lily Burrana
    U2 bu U2
    Joni Mitchell Complete Powms and Lyrics
    The Good German by Joseph Kanon
    Seeing Things by Seamus Heaney
    Secrets In the Dark (A Life In Sermons) by Frederick Buechner
    Punk Monk by Pete Greig
    Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor

  15. Scott

    Let’s see… my “real reading” list is rather thin. I could make up a whole bunch of cool books that I’m not really reading but look impressive, or I could just tell you what I’m really reading. I’ll let you be the judge of which path I’ve chosen:

    “The Princess Bride: the 25th Anniversary Edition” Yes, it’s the counterpart to the ‘classic’ movie, yes I’m a geek, but it’s actually very well written, very intelligent and very funny. Sue me.

    When I need a break from the heavy subject of Princess Bride, I read a few more pages of my new APU Staff Handbook, just in case I need a refresher on “Pregnancy Related Disability Leave”. Whew, good to know…

    Also I fill every spare moment reading the Azusa Pacific University Undergraduate Catalog, 2006-2007 edition. It’s a page-turner.

  16. grammy

    Okay already…I just ordered the Gilbert and Nagler books! Thanks, Sara and Aly, for the recommendations.

    Also just ordered: Life Together (Bonhoffer), A Confession (Tolstoy), Jesus and the Forgotten City (Batey), Colossians Remixed, Sheet Music, and The Science of Orgasm (Komisaruk). Eclectic? I think so.

  17. Paul

    The Science of Orgasm?!! Hubba-hubba!

    Forgot to mention a quick but fun read, “Jim and Casper Go to Church,” from the George Barna group. An evangelical pastor and an atheist who are good friends pack up their laptops and hit the road, visiting various churches (including several of the high-profile type) and comparing notes. Entertaining and eye-opening.

  18. June

    Posts like this require me to take a moment…to not feel lame. Now that I’ve taken my moment (aka, 24 hours), I can ‘fess up to my puny present reads. (And I use the word “my” loosely.)

    Wild Wild World, of the Paragon Publishing Questions and Answers series, promises “a fascinating question and answer book featuring the world’s most dangerous and exciting animals.” Who knew that the notion of ‘yes, I want to have kids someday’ walks hand in hand with ‘yes, I want to read very little other than what appeals to those kids.’ Ah well…I figure I’m a better person for knowing that the neck of mamenchisaurus was 50 feet long, wood ants fire a stinging acid from their abdomens and that some seals swallow stones and pebbles.

    I’ve also been reading the most recent issue of Sunset magazine and a book about marriage that is ok but not profound enough for me to remember the title or to get up off my tuckus right now and go find it. I check the blog of my friend Kim almost daily (http://gratitude365.blogspot.com/) and when my wee darlings have sapped me of all strength, I can be found reading the back of frozen, boxed food items sometime between 5:00 and 6:00pm.

    Sometimes I pick up Brian’s golf magazine for half a second when I’m in the potty…but mostly I don’t, because reading in the bathroom is just gross! (What is with all you people?!)

    Oh, and I’m going to order The Dangerous Book for Boys soon as well as a couple other short books about art and God and all that.

  19. Sara

    Yeah! Aly!

    I think you will LOVE “Jun Q’anil”. Zack’s sister recommended it to me. Apparently her best friend is close with the Author. She told me that she initially heard about Nagler’s experiences through her friend, before Nagler even wrote the book! I actually loved this book more than “Eat, Pray, Love”, but the level of spiritual experience Nagler recounts is a bit deeper than Elizabeth’s and I know some people that just couldn’t handle the “woo woo” aspect of the journey. Let me know what you think.

  20. The Real Chad

    Man, some of you people have reading lists like you are in school or something. I only have time to read when not working for the man.
    Let me see….

    GOD, A BIOGRAPHY by Jack Miles
    It pretty refreshing and it won the Pulitzer, but we all know that is just a popularity contest.

    Just finished THE HISTORY OF WARFARE by John Keegan
    Take that Clauswitz, ya jerk!

    Bathroom reading:
    Autoweek, Cycle World, Car Magazine, Cook’s Illustrated (is that weird to reading cooking on the throne? kinda brings it full circle doesn’t it.)

    Drive time:
    Uhm… I listen to music.

    Quiet time:
    It’s hard to read a book on a motorcycle

    Music reading:
    Frank Zappa’s HOT RATS and APOSTROPHE
    Now that’s really doing some reading.

    To comment on the above:
    WAR OF ART – was great and a surprisingly beneficial blind library find. and it was short. and much better than “Bagger Vance”.

    Eat, Pray, Love:
    Listened to part of it on tape. It was OK. I think some of the revelations discovered traveling all around can be found just as easily punching a co-worker in the face really hard. Just my opinion though.

    Sex God: The regurgitation of a bunch of sex junk with a PoMo slant
    First off, I thought this book would be about Tom Jones or Sophia Loren or someone like that. Secondly, I didn’t realize that this Rob Bell guy was one of those Nooma dudes who says stuff like “What if God really does care about your (insert subject here)?” and then he looks wistfully away at a tree, or a fire, or rock or a wicker man made of popsicle sticks. I don’t get it. Thirdly, this dude didn’t tell me anything new about sex or God or how God deals with sex or Genesis (the book OR the band) and why so many Christians are so screwed up when it comes to sex. Lastly, is God even a “sex God”? Like if we have a sex drive, and God made us in His image, does that mean He has a sex drive? And why is God interested in controlling our sex and procreation? You know, crap like that.

    Maybe I should pick up “The Science of Orgasm”? Do you think Dallas Willard will ever right a book about orgasms? Does that make anyone uncomfortable?

    OK, I’m done now.

  21. June

    The Real Chad,
    I just ordered the War of Art and here’s what I’d like to see addressed in the sex/Genesis realm: siblings having sex with each other in order to people the earth. Was this simply not gross or dangerous when all the DNA was brand-spankin’ new? Apparently not. (Or, maybe that’s why I’m so freakin’ near-sighted!) Since I was a youngin’ at Sunday school in the 1970′s, I’ve been wondering about this. I can’t bring myself to read a book called “Eat, Pray, Love”…it’s just, I dunno…sounds like what I try to do everyday. Not a good reason, I know. Eat, pray, love, laundry…eat, pray, love, laundry…eat, pray, love, laundry…this is my life.

    I don’t think I’ll read the book but maybe I’ll start calling my husband “Sex God.” It could be encouraging.

  22. aly hawkins

    Sara – I was wondering the same thing. Until I got to the part about Rob Bell. Then I thought, “Zack doesn’t know Rob Bell from Jimmy Crack Corn.” I’m pretty sure The Real Chad is his own guy. But I’m unsure whether using “The Real” in his name is meant to convince us or himself.

  23. Paul

    It would appear that The Real Chad would be neither Zack nor the Addison Road Chad, since the latter has had very little computer access this week, doesn’t own a motorcycle and wouldn’t get near a cassette tape player.

    June — you’re raising kids, and you’re not lame. It’s a full time, demanding, critically important job that doesn’t include a lot of spare free-reading time. All in due time.

  24. The Real Chad

    Look people. I don’t even know Zack, and I am NOT the AR Chad. I am the real Chad just to delineate myself from the aforementioned AR Chad.

    June- I agree with Paul. You can’t be very lame if you are digging into the Art of War. Now if you had said that you like to read “People” magazine and can wait for the last of the Harry Potter books and had pre-ordered Paris Hilton’s Jail Time Journal, then you might be pretty lame. But the most lame is not being yourself just to try not to seem lame.

    You know what’s also a really good book….

    THE BIBLE!!!

    Expecially the parts with all the murder and sex. And explosions! Ka-plowie!

  25. June

    I said I ordered War of Art. Reading it is something else entirely.

    Tonight I read the Dr. Seuss dictionary to my son. Well, we did letters Z, J, F and G. There’s a real shortage of Z words in the world.

  26. The Real Chad

    I think to be on the lame list, it’s more the combination of “People” magazine, Harry Potter and Paris Hilton. Like a suicidal triumvirate of Pop culture kool-aid that can lay waste to the misguided soul.

    You know, like that kind of lame.

    Then again, whatever blows your skirt up, I guess.

  27. Sara

    Reading Cycle World on the John
    Making fun of people who read Harry Potter

    Real Chad meet Zack….

    You guys are sooooo BFF.

  28. The Real Chad

    Oh Sara. Stop. Let’s not just sit around listing off all of my admirable qualities.

    Back to the books.

    So, has anyone else read this GOD: A BIOGRAPHY book by Jack Miles. It was a best seller a while ago and did in fact win the Pulitzer.

    It’s really pretty interesting to me. They guy is reading the OT as if God where the main character. I’m only part way through, but it has cast God in some interesting light based on his interactions with the Israelites and Abraham. It is at least a fresh take that poses interesting questions.

    Like this:
    Those wandering Israelites are always complaining about God leading them around and they would rather go back to slavery in Egypt. Nothing new there.

    But have you noticed how much God complains about the Israelites and threatens to destroy them. Then why did he pick them in the first place? He seems pretty regretful in the first couple books of the Bible.

    And if the Israelites are complaining so much, are they just living out there God-given role as image bearers? Then why is God complaining? Makes him sound like a petulant, grumpy fool!

    Finally, a God I can relate to personally. Phew. No wonder He knows me so well.

  29. Chad

    I read Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell and The Lovely Bones while on the road.

    Velvet Elvis was great… lovin’ me the Rob Bell, and The Lovely Bones was haunting and lyrical and moving, although I confess that as a daddy, I had to force myself to continue with a book that includes a child’s perspective on her own rape and murder. I was literally ill during the first 50 pages.

  30. Dave

    For reading time (when there is time), a selection that rotates based upon my mood and thought process:

    “Everyday Deserves a Chance” – Max Lucado
    “Holy Discontent” – Bill Hybels
    “Confessions of a Pastor” – Craig Groeschel

    For Drive Time:

    “Make It Stick” – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    Up next on drive time – “The Search” – John Battelle

    I’m not sure if there is anytime after that.

  31. jeremy bouma

    aly! missed you comment the first time…sorry :( thanks for the welcome back :) I should put some more indepth dc update on my blog, but the short of it is this: I am not in DC anymore, moved back to Grand Rapids, MI where my fam is from, and I start seminary in almost 6 weeks. Suffice it to say, there has been much change and much growth, but I’m excited for the next chapter in the crazy, crazy journey!

    Look forward to hangin out here more…

  32. Karen

    OK, I am almost finished with Eat, Pray , Love. It has raised some interesting questions and I find myself asking how she can be so far off the mark on certain things. But, that is coming from my there is one, narrow way to get to heaven perspective.

    I just picked up The Lovely Bones at the library and I am making my way through Mclarens A New Kind of Christian.

  33. Sara

    Karen – I’m curious. Which things are you referring to as being “so far off the mark”. Remember. It’s a memoir. Plus, I don’t remember there being any discussion about how to get to Heaven. Remind me.

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