Post Author: YCWI
Do you love curling up under blankets with a pile of books in the winter? Have you found more time to read – or needed to make time for your survival – in this pandemic? Young clergywomen (YCW) shared in our online groups some of what we hope to read this winter. Many of the books inspire our work as pastors (some accidentally), and many help us stop and breathe in the midst of such strange times. If you are looking for more recommendations for the year, check out some of these reads.
Books to read if you are looking for healing…
This devotional is written for black women, celebrating #blackgirlmagic. The YCW who recommended the book is white. She wrote, “As a white woman reading this life-giving womanist text, my own soul soars as I remember my own belovedness and cultivate practices that lead toward wholeness.”
Embodied: Clergywomen and the Solidarity of a Mothering God by Lee Ann M. Pomrenke
Can Jesus’ scars from the crucifixion be like c-section scars? Does God have postpartum depression? This book by a former YCW explores the various aspects of mothering, including mothering by birth and adoption. It also discusses mothering as a pastor and considers where God is mothering with us. Pomrenke’s theology is both challenging and freeing, and there is healing in feeling seen as a mother and as a pastor.
After such a difficult year, spending time in Desmond Tutu’s book on forgiveness can be life-giving. It is an easy read and all of us benefit when we unburden and let go of hurts.
Books to read if you are looking for direction to build a better world…
These are novels, but as theologian and professor Rev. Dr. Monica C. Coleman and her podcast co-host Tananarive Due point out: “Octavia tried to tell us.” The dystopian world Butler shows us is harsh and too close to our current reality for comfort. But the protagonist, Lauren, teaches us how to survive in this world and how to sow some goodness along the way.
Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, peels back the layers of history that brought us to the current divisions and dissension in our country. It’s an eye opening read that exposes the policies over the last half decade (or more) and how they’ve paved the way to today’s world, while also offering a master class in community organizing.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
The author weaves together indigenous American history, the knowledge of indigenous peoples in North America, and her scientific expertise to give the reader a sense of what it might look like to interact with the natural world in a way that doesn’t exploit natural resources. The book is great in written form, but if you are an audiobook fan, it could be amazing to listen to as you walk around outside.
The COVID-19 pandemic is only one of the global crises we are facing: the planet is melting, our government infrastructure is fraught with racist violence at multiple levels, wealth inequality is getting worse. It feels overwhelming. But Spade’s short book practically discusses the power of mutual aid efforts and how to best organize mutual aid work for the resistance. The YCW who recommended this book wonders what kind of communities we could build outside of the toxicity of our current institutions (including church institutions).
Books to read if you are looking for escape…
Anything by Selena Montgomery, also known as Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is not only a great political leader and woman of faith, but an amazing author across genres. She has written eight romantic thrillers under the name Selena Montgomery. Her novel While Justice Sleeps is set to be released in May, so add that to your summer list too.
The Star Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
Even though you might not physically be able to leave home, this story will whisk you away to Italy for a lose-yourself-in-the-story read about what it means to be family and to be in love.
Bellwether by Connie Willis
A fun read suggested by a YCW who said the author attended her grandmother’s church for a while. Sandra Foster studies fads, Bennett O’Reilly is a chaos theorist. A misdelivered package sends them on an adventure together involving monkeys, lost jobs, grant applications, sheep, and lattes.
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Used with permission