The Spirituality of Reading

Here is what I am currently reading.  Some of it for work, some for fun, and some just because:

This is How You Lose Her by Juno Diaz.  Diaz was just named a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.  His language leaps off the page, and for me, the book is a window into a part of the U.S. I don’t know.

God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet.  This about Laguna Honda Hospital, the last alm’s house in the country.  It is a story of how medical care could be, if we actually cared about the person more than the system.  As a physician, the author partly grounds her understanding of medicine in the writings of Hildegard of Bingen, the remarkable medieval visionary.  It is a wonderful book.

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye.  This is not an easy book.  NDiaye’s family came from Senegal, but she has lived her entire life in France.  Africa plays an important role in this book, which I think is about how the ghosts of our past affect our hopes and struggles.

Junkyard Dog by Craig Johnson.  A mystery that takes place near Big Horn, Wyoming (one of my favorite places in the country).  A good escapist read…but no Henning Mankel.

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.  A book about why people are divided by religion and politics.  No doubt a valuable read, but I think Haidt jumps to conclusions.  His assertion that above all we are social creatures, though, is right on.

I also try to keep up with the New Yorker, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Review of Books.

I read because I love to enter other worlds, other ways of seeing our lives.  Each of these, in some way, helps me deepen my spiritual life.  The characters, the descriptions, and the events all encourage me to get out of myself and see the world through someone else’s eyes.  If the heart of spirituality is deepening a connection, strengthening a relationship, then reading does this for me.

What are you reading?


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One Response to The Spirituality of Reading

  1. BOUND FOR GLORY, by – of course – Mr. Woody Guthrie. Get a load of this line: “There is a stage of hard luck that turns into fun, and a stage of poverty that turns into pride, and a place in laughing that turns into fight.”
    Man, oh man!
    I woke up depressed the other day, stayed in bed with this book, and eventually came to this sentence. It was like the dog bringing me black coffee then biting me as I drank it!
    The whole day lit up right there.

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