Your Explore Spirituality Council has some great reading suggestions to inspire, make you think, laugh, cry, and venture into another’s experience.
Fiction and non-fiction, sport to fantasy, these are books that have touched our souls. So choose one or enjoy them all and we’ll gather online in the Fall for a discussion on what touched you from our selection.
Amanda Hancox: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis is a ripping good adventure, so find a child you can read it to over the summer, or just dip in yourself. As C. S. Lewis said, “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again”! This is a powerful tale of courage, loyalty, faith and sacrifice that children can relate to and adults will also enjoy. As an allegory of the Christian story, it provides a great opportunity to have some interesting discussions with your children/grandchildren too!
Ambury Stuart: Christ of the Celts by J. Philip Newell. Anyone who can understand how Celtic Christianity is different from what Christianity is typically assumed to be can begin to understand how an environmental scientist can become an ordained minister without losing his scientific soul. And John Philip Newell is one of the best writers to explain the difference.
Douglas duCharme: A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson. Reading this novel in the midst of the third wave of COVID infections in March this year, I found that it brought the scale of human community, relationships, and meaning down to a kind of microcosm of small-town northern Ontario. Where themes of love and loss, misunderstandings and the need for grace, were all present but in a gentler way than I was hearing in the cacophony around me!
Eleanor Daley: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (film) is a wonderful movie for family viewing. It tells the true story of William Kamkwamba, a brilliant Malawian teen who, against all odds, figured out how to build a windmill using junkyard scraps (and his father’s precious bicycle), in order to save his family and village from drought and famine. An inspiring story of perseverance, curiosity, and courage; there is also a children’s book of the same title, written by Kamkwamba, and beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.
Jan Schlee: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. A couple of years ago, wanting to learn more about the residential school experience, I watched Indian Horse and subsequently read the book on which the movie was based. The book is a compelling story that gave me a disturbing look into the cruelty and racism Indigenous children were forced to endure and the long-term consequences of that treatment. Indian Horse is fiction, but as one of the Indigenous actors in the film commented, “It is our story. It is our truth.”
Jennifer Redwood: If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais is an amazing story set in South Africa, where the author is from. Bianca spoke at a book club meeting that I was attending, and she is a wonderful storyteller. This is not always an easy read, but it is filled with truths that very much apply to today’s world.
John Kimmel: Rapture by Nick Nurse, the coach of the Toronto Raptors writes about their miraculous run to a championship. This is a guy who aspired to go beyond the safety of those who had coached the team before him. A pioneer who had the courage and determination to be the very first to take the team to the top.
Laurie Kimmel: Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This novel follows 30 year old Nora Seed, on a journey of self-discovery and reflection through the “Midnight Library” where the books are portals to lives she could be living. I enjoyed it as an uplifting, clever story and a thoughtful reminder of what goes into a life well lived.
Scot Denton: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Barry tells this story using two journals, one written by Roseanne, who is approaching 100 and the other by her psychiatrist, Dr Grene. Like many Irish writers, Barry’s language is atmospheric and powerful.
All of the above selections are available for purchase online at Amazon.