Hear ye, hear ye: things are about to get real up in these here podcast parts. I mean, so real we’re going to have a virtual book club of sorts. And so real you’ll hear my voice over the airwaves discussing said books once a month.
I’d love for you to join us.
First, meet my friend Osheta:
Osheta and her family live in the greater Los Angeles area, which, for those of you outside of California is about six hours south of where my family lives. She too is a writer and speaker who just launched a brand new podcast, Shalom in the City, last week. Be sure to check it out and subscribe to if it you haven’t already!
Osheta and I met over Voxer. Then we began to dream over Voxer. One thing led to another, and I’ll now be joining her once a month over to the airwaves to discuss a book.
We’ve chosen a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction, but they all hold the possibility of shalom in common.
What does it mean to seek shalom – or wholeness – within ourselves? What does it mean to seek wholeness in our relationships, with our families, and with God? What does it mean to seek shalom with issues of racial justice and what does it mean to seek wholeness creatively?
Osheta and I will discuss the book on air, but there are so many different ways you can join in. Jump in on the discussion when I post about it here on the blog. Join the conversation in the Shalom Sistas Hangout group on Facebook. Or, start a book club of your own and read along with us!
And men, do join us as well.
So, without further adieu, do join us. Do read for wholeness and with intention. Do have fun while you’re at it. The list:
March: Light of the World
Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.
April: Bad Feminist
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.
“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”
May: Esperanza Rising
Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.
June: Wearing God
There are hundreds of metaphors for God, but the church only uses a few familiar images: creator, judge, savior, father. In Wearing God, Lauren Winner gathers a number of lesser-known tropes, reflecting on how they work biblically and culturally, and reveals how they can deepen our spiritual lives.
Exploring the notion of God as clothing, Winner reflects on how we are “clothed with Christ” or how “God fits us like a garment.”
From a Washington Post weddings reporter who’s covered more than two hundred walks down the aisle comes a warm, witty, and wise book about relationships—the mystery, the science, and the secrets of how we find love and make it last.
Ellen McCarthy has explored the complete journey of our timeless quest for “The One,” the Soul Mate, the Real Thing. This indispensable collection of insights—on dating, commitment, breakups, weddings, and marriage—gives us a window into enduring romance.
August: Love Walked In
When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs—eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother—goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the café, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life.
September: Love Warrior
Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out–three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list–her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, rock bottom was a familiar place to Glennon. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.
October: Roadmap to Reconciliation
We can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? What we need is a clear sense of direction. Based on her extensive consulting experience with churches, colleges and organizations, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has created a roadmap to show us the way. She guides us through the common topics of discussion and past the bumpy social terrain and political boundaries that will arise.
November: Everything I Never Told You
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing.
December: Year of Yes
This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech.
So, what say you? We’d love to have you join us for one or nine of the books. And in the meantime, might you be brought to wholeness and shalom through all the big and the little things, like reading. Cheers!
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