Friday Five: What’s on your shelf?

Here is the prompt from over at Revgals today:

“You probably have, like me, a study full of books. Maybe they spill into another room. They go with you in the car to appointments when you might have some dead space in your schedule. In my study, the books are double-stacked and in somewhat precarious piles. I’ve always dreamed of a study that looked like this:

Recently I decided to re-organize my study and put books of like topic and purpose together. (Of course, they don’t stay that way — but that’s another matter!) I also culled out some books which I hesitated to even donate to the library book sale because they were either extremely outdated or had content that I didn’t want the unexamined mind to read. (Not quite as bad as “The Total Woman” but… you get my drift!)

SOooo… with that in mind, let’s talk about the books in your life!”
1. STUDYING: What is your favorite book or series for sermon prep or study? Or have you moved from books to on-line tools for your personal study?

Feasting on the Word is the commentary series to which I refer, if I use a commentary. I have a great lectionary reading group now, so the discussions we have on Tuesday afternoons is usually the most helpful part of my sermon prep.

If I am preaching from Pentateuch or Psalms, I always read what Robert Alter has to say on the passages. I love his translations.

2. IN THE QUEUE: Do you have a queue of books you are longing to read or do you read in bits and pieces over several books at a time? What’s in the queue?

I have a big pile of books I am waiting to read:

The Passage by Justin Cronin. Have heard great things about this book, so I finally got a copy.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Love her writing.

The Last Dragonslayer and The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde. Think he is such a creative writer. You may know him from The Eyre Affair. Read everything he writes.

Sabbath in the Suburbs, by my friend MaryAnn McKibben Dana arrived this week and I can’t wait to get to it.

And the other book that arrived this week is A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”  by Rachel Held Evans. I am a big fan of her blog, so I look forward to reading this book.

Help Thanks Wow–The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott, due in November, will go to the top of the queue.
3. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME: What’s one book that you have to have in your study? Is it professional, personal, fun or artistic? (For instance, I have a copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It just helps sometimes.)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Hands down. Desert Island Book.

But the book I got this summer that has become my constant companion is Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. You really ought to get this book. The poems are in German on one side of the page, and translated into English on the other.

4. KINDLE OR PRINT? or both? Is there a trend in your recent purchases?
Both. If I need it NOW, you can’t beat the turnaround on downloading to the Kindle app on my ipad.
But I really love books.

My heart is torn.

5. DISCARDS: I regularly cruise the “FREE BOOKS” rack at our local library. (I know, I know. It’s a bad habit!) When’s the last time you went through your books and gave some away (or threw some away?) Do you remember what made the discard pile?
We get rid of books every time we move. And every so often, I go through a phase of feeling that having books on my shelves is a sign of arrogance. I know there are studies that show the number of books in a home have direct correlation to how well children learn to read. But I think our family passed that “optimal number” a long time ago. So it is a struggle.
In my study at the church, I inherited a theological library from a retired pastor at the church where I interned. I never really unpacked them until I got to Boise, and I do not have enough shelf space for them, not even close. So I gave some to the church library, put some out on a “free” table in the narthex, and then donated the rest to the Presbyterian Women’s rummage sale that year.  (as an aside, my favorite acquisition from that theological library I inherited is a pin from his days at Columbia Seminary back in the 60’s. It reads “There’s nothing sinister about a lady minister”. Students wore those in support of women’s ordination.  I love it.)

12 thoughts on “Friday Five: What’s on your shelf?

  1. I love Alter’s translations, too. I just read The Passage and it was pretty good (I don’t read that kind of thing all that often). If you have not read Wolf Hall — get thee to a library 🙂


  2. I’ve been wondering about Wolf Hall. And it’s time to reread Prayer for Owen Meany.
    I also want to say, I just discovered your blog through the two posts you wrote about adoption and abortion and what pro-life could look like. Thank you for such honest, wonderful writing.


  3. Oh, I love Rilke’s Love Poems to God! great play, thanks! … sorry for the double post; I’m not at home and thought wordpress kept my info from my previous comment.


  4. Holy Cow my wishlist just grew AGAIN! (I knew it would!) I love Alter’s work as well. His Psalms book is on my shelf and is one of my faves. I miss not having access to Feasting on the Word. I used to check it out all the time while in seminary. Need to ponder whether that would be a good thing to re-up.

    Thanks for your play! 🙂


  5. I used to think we had enough children’s books that, come the apocalypse, my children could be well-read even if they never left the house again. Sort of wonderful and scary at the same time.


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