Whatcha Reading Wednesday

In February, Lindsey Archdeacon, who coordinates social media for SJB Province, had the idea of asking the friars about what books they’re currently reading and why they would recommend them, then sharing this on Facebook. “Watcha Reading Wednesday” has since become a semi-regular feature. We thought it would be fun and interesting to share the friars’ recommendations here:

friar and book coverMichael Chowning, OFM
Want a fascinating biblical read? The author of this book suffered a traumatic injury cycling when his bicycle disintegrated downhill. Over the long recovery period, he applied and re-interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in light of his own experience of trauma. As a textual biblical scholar, he also sheds light on the development of the Hebrew Bible and monotheism within Judaism. His reading of the prophets, particularly Hosea, is very insightful and applicable to today. It sure wasn’t what I was taught about the Old Testament. Not that what I was taught was wrong, just incomplete without all the nuances. I could hardly put the book down and go to bed!

Book info: Holy Resilience: The Bible’s Traumatic Origins, by David M. Carr

friar and book covefrFrank Jasper, OFM
I read this book at the insistence of my niece, who has stage four lung cancer. She said it was the best and I agree. Turner interviewed hundreds of cancer survivors and focused on the tactics they used to go into radical remission. She takes a holistic and biblical mind/body/spirit approach. Sound advice, engaging personal stories, and an abundance of hope.

Book info: Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer against All Odds, by Kelly A. Turner

friar and book coverBill Farris, OFM
This book is an account of the Armenian Genocide of the late 1880s and early 1900s. In 2016, I was a guest speaker at St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, Mich. The pastor had resided at the friary for some months. The church had a memorial to the victims—a tray of sand containing human remains. I made a promise to myself, which took a few years to keep, to learn more about this tragedy. The Armenian cause in the 1880s became one of the first human rights issues to gain widespread support in the US. This book describes the complicated political situation that made acknowledgement of the genocide such a long and still incomplete process.

Book info: The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, by Peter Balakian

friar and book coverAl Hirt, OFM
In this 2020 New York Times Best Seller, the author traces the ugly history and roots of the caste system in India, the slavery of people in the United States, and the role that caste played in Nazi Germany. Caste is that ‘stubbornly fixed ranking of human beings.’ Even though I have done a lot of reading and have lived and ministered within the African-American community, this book was still eye-opening and challenging.

Book info: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson

friar and book coverPat McCloskey, OFM
Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, is a Capuchin friar, patristics scholar and host of popular radio and TV programs who has served as Preacher of the Papal Household since Lent of 1980. He is well known for his Scripture-based conferences and retreats and is deeply involved in the Charismatic Renewal. On the Fridays of Advent and Lent, he preaches to the pope and to members of the Roman Curia. His work as a patristics scholar and involvement in the Charismatic Renewal is an unusual background for the Preacher of the Papal Household, and this book brings it all together.

Book info: Serving the Word: My Life, by Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, Ralph Martin (Foreword), Aldo Maria Valli (contributor)

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