Summer Reading — Some Books in the Stack 2019

School’s out for the kids, and I’ve got a stack of books in the queue for my summer reading. Between mysteries—which I always have going—and new books on faith, the outdoors, and more, there’s always something to grab.

Here are some of the books I’m planning to read over the summer.

Belden Lane’s The Great Conversation: Nature and the Care of the Soul

I’ve been waiting for this one to come out. Lane’s previous book, Backpacking with the Saints, guided me on my sabbatical in 2017. This one looks at environmentalism and faith and how our connection to nature brings healing and sustenance. I received it for Father’s Day, and really can’t wait to dive in and explore this book!




 Louise Penny’s A Better ManThe next in a long and glorious series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache set in the province of Quebec, and especially in a small (fictional)English-speaking town near the border of Vermont called Three Pines. Gamache is my favorite fictional character who teaches his police recruits the importance four rules, four things that lead to wisdom: “I was wrong. I’m sorry. I don’t know. I need help.”

Gamache is the kind of man I aspire to be. He bravely faces difficulty and conflict. He has integrity. He loves fully. He cares deeply for others. He does the hard but necessary work. I haven’t read any reviews or synopsis of this book. It comes out in August, and I can hardly wait.  If you’re new to the series, start at Still Life.


Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. 

I’ve read one other book by Brené Brown and loved it. Her work focuses on how we as individuals experience and encounter shame, how we respond to vulnerability, and the importance of being honest. This book came out last fall and looks at qualities of leadership in authentic ways, having hard conversations, and working through feelings and fears productively. As a priest who leads a community, it’s always beneficial to look at the ways I can become better at that work as a shepherd.




Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I love astronomy, and learning how things in space work. Partly this was due to my love of science as a kid—I considered majoring in chemistry and computer science for a time in college—and because I just love looking at the stars. This book was recommended by a friend who heard Tyson speak, and so I downloaded it to my Kindle. I don’t think I’ll understand much of it, but I’ll be fascinated none the less.



Valarie Isenhower’s Meditation on Both Sides of the Camera.

I’ve been drawn to the spiritual practice of photography for a while and now with some time away this summer, I hope to explore the concept in more detail. The focus is similar to many spiritual practices: slowing down, noticing the details, being present, expressing gratitude. I’m not sure where this will lead me—or if it will lead me—in terms of my own photography, but I want to at least use it as a chance to get closer to God.



There’ll be more to be sure, but that’s at least a taste of a few of the books I’ll be reading this summer. I hope you’ll pick up a book or three as well!

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