I am reading my very first book on my I Pad and I am not sure whether I like it or not. I am reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" for my book group. When I was reminded today that we have to read it for Tuesday, I immediately went online and checked it's availability at the library. I am #76 which is problematical. So for $10 I downloaded it onto my I Pad and started reading. So far, so good. I even found out how I can highlight an interesting or memorable phrase. And now, 70 pages in, I am still not sure whether this is the beginning of a new way of reading for me. We will see.
I am not preaching for 2 whole weeks which gives me time to read. And I like to read several books at once.
Monday I read the novel "Faith" by Jennifer Haigh which I could not put down. It is about a priest accused of molesting a child. The characters were so well drawn and the plot was layered and really thoughtful. I totally recommend.
Last week I read a guilty pleasure book "The Politician" about John Edwards which again was engrossing - not because of the writing, but the subject. t the same time I preached about how we are like sheep and vulnerable to "thieves and bandits.". This book was written by the man he got to pretend to father Edwards love child. Which sounds crazy - but i really do understand how a charismatic person (and your own greed and grandiosity) can get you into a place where you lose all common sense. Certainly have I seen people make some really poor personal choices trying to win the affection and esteem of unscrupulous people. Anyway, it made me think about a lot of things as I was reading it. (Like Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger)
I am also reading "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller which is a meditation on the prodigal son story and basically says that we have been thinking that the youngest son was the subject - when it is really the resentful older son that is the main point. Certainly food for thought - since churches are full of "older sons."
Two more books I want to mention that I "read" in the last 2 weeks first person accounts of people who work with the public. The one was called "Malled" (can't remember who wrote it) written by a journalist who needed some steady employment as she was laid off and worked for about 16 months in a store in a mall in NY. And the second, "The Waiter" Chuck and I listened to on tape as we drove to and fro Lynchburg. It was written by a waiter at a high end restaurant in NYC who also has a blog "WaiterRant." Both of these were fascinating to me in helping me to see how easy it is to not see servers or clerks as people. Too many of us live so unconsciously and with a certain sense of entitlement. They are both jobs that require hard work and a lot of tact and patience.
Last book I am "reading" is actually another book on tape - "The Tin Roof Blowdown", A Dave Robicheux novel by James Lee Burke. Set in Louisiana immediately following Katrina and so well read. I keep bringing the tapes in and listen when I am in the house and then in the car. It is great.
So, fiction, non fiction, mysteries, crime, theology, people stories. When I became a minister my father said that "I got paid to read." And he said that in a very positive way. That was his model as a Presbyterian elder in the church. He had had a minister who asked people if they were reading John Updike and he told them - that they were reading theology.
And that really is it - all kinds of books - telling us about the human condition and the meaning of life and sometimes (directly and indirectly) the presence of the holy one in the midst of the ordinary and the mundane.
Reading - A blessing in my life.