A cold winter night, brownies, and milk, and good friends sharing about books they’ve enjoyed. A simple idea but one that always yields not only new ideas of books to read but also new bonds with those friends. Last Friday, some graduate students from the Christian Graduate Student Alliance met to do just that. This year, I thought I would include (not verbatim) some notes I took about the books they shared.
Creation Regained by Albert M. Wolters. We often talk about things in terms of good or bad. Wolters suggests we consider what God’s created purpose for those things might be.
Playing God by Andy Crouch. This book applies Wolters suggestion to the idea of power, which can corrupt and be corrupted but actually reflects what it means for us to be in God’s image.
Modern Pheasant Hunting, 2nd Edition by Steve Grooms. The decline of the pheasant population necessitates more sophisticated hunting techniques. Recommended by a pheasant hunter as the one leisure book he’s read recently in graduate school!
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. The book explores in beautiful writing apartheid in South Africa through the story of two families caught up in tragedy and the efforts of a black pastor to pursue forgiveness and reconciliation.
Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. Catcher was the first novel in English read by the Japanese student who recommended it. He deeply identified with the title figure. He also particularly loved the short story “At the Dinghy” in Nine Stories.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. This Christian fiction from 1869 explores in diary form the basic longing to follow God more deeply while struggling with the tensions of human, sinful nature.
A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. Each month focuses on a different quality of character that the Bible upholds for women. The woman who recommended it also appreciated Evans discussion of Proverbs 31 in its original Jewish context.
Extraordinary Chickens by Steven Green-Armytage. This is a coffee table book of photographs of the many varieties of chickens showing what an incredible bird (and the closest living relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex). A veterinary student interest in poultry veterinary work recommended this one.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This was a best-seller post-apocalyptic book that is far better than the movie in exploring the scenario of adolescents trained to kill or be killed in the hunger games.
The Academic Job Search Handbook by Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong. This book provides everything a grad student aspiring to jobs in academia needs to pursue the job search including timelines, samples of vitas in various disciplines, how to accept or decline an offer, and more.
The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian. This book was also recommended last year and the woman recommending it this year not only picked up the book as a result of last year’s recommendation by Skyped with a friend from Houston who read it with her.
I loved this last recommendation because it illustrates the joy of sharing books that have touched our lives–they may touch the lives of others as well. Personally, I realized that I’ve never read J.D. Salinger, nor particularly wanted to. My Japanese student friend intrigued me enough that I just may.
Perhaps the list and the stories might motivate you to try a “books and brownies” night some time soon! What books would you add to this list?
Links to earlier Books and Brownies Lists: