Dear ones,

Summer greetings to you all!
I write this newsletter column while on study leave. Study leave is work time when I am released from ‘regular’ work to study, plan, and learn. I always try to take at least two weeks of study leave every summer, to start to pull plans together for the coming year.
While my study leave was interrupted this year by an unexpected daycare closure, I have found some time to read. Here is my summer work reading list so far:
Incantations for Rest: Poems, Meditations, and Other Magic by Atena O. Danner and Shelter in This Place: Meditations on 2020, edited by Meg Riley.
Every year, the Unitarian Universalist Association publishes a new entry in the InSpirit series. These are usually small books of poems and meditations. These are the entries for the last two years. You will be hearing words from these books in upcoming services.
Take What You Need: Life Lessons After Losing Everything by Jen Crow. This is a memoir by a UU minister friend of mine who lost (nearly) everything in a house fire. It’s a powerful book about living through loss.
Transforming Conflict: The Blessings of Congregational Turmoil by Terasa Cooley. This book offers advice and strategy about engaging conflict in healthy and life-giving ways. A lot of it was review from other sources (I have done a lot of learning about conflict.) but it was put together in a good way.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This book taught me
a lot and is helping me rethink the American history that I have been taught.
Ancient Stories for Modern Times: 50 Short Wisdom Tales for All Ages retold by Faye Mogensen. I’m always looking for good folktales and other good wisdom stories for inclusion in Sunday services. There are some gems in this collection.
Perhaps you’re looking for fiction to read this summer? Here are some of my favorite fiction that I’ve read for pleasure in 2022:
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. The reconstruction era of US history, but with zombies.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen. The story of a pastor and his family in suburban Chicago in the 1970s.
The Overstory by Richard Powers. An epic novel of interlocking narratives about people and trees.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake and A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall. Romance novels have been one of my sources of pleasure in recent years – I pick them up when I need to read a book with a happy ending. Hall is my favorite romance writer right now. The first book takes place at a lightly fictionalized Great British Bake Off; the second is a Regency era romance with a transgender heroine.
Horse by Geraldine Brooks. Another novel with interlocking narratives in the antebellum south and the modern day, centered on a horse and paintings of the horse.
The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. A dystopian story about a fertility crisis told from the perspective of a Native young adult who is pregnant when the book begins.
Happy reading, everyone!
Rachel


 

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