I am sad to report that January came and went without me cracking the spine of a new book. As February gets underway, I am reminded of the Biblical mandate to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2b). Reading is not only one of my favorite hobbies, but it allows me to step into someone else’s mind and heart, learning what it truly means to empathize with another’s experience.
In addition to one book for the Carmichael’s Community Book Club that I am a part of and another I am reading for work, I have decided to read three books written by African American authors so that I can develop a better understanding of the history of Black suffrage in America. I hope that diving into these works will help me to become a better neighbor and champion for racial reconciliation in my own community.
With only 29 days in February, five books may be an audacious goal, but here goes!
5. Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti
Voracious is the Carmichael’s Book Club choice for February. The author reads some of the greatest literary works and creates meals based on the food consumed in the books or other inspiration she received through her reading. I’m not only excited to read this book, but to make some of the creations she discusses myself. Yum!!
4. The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on its Gifts by Luther K. Snow
At the end of the month, one of my colleagues and I are hosting a summit for young adults at the church to determine how we can best use the skills and gifts of the young adults currently serving the church to create a more vibrant ministry. This book will help me as I seek to identify and use the assets already present within our community.
3. Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Though Howard Thurman’s book was required reading in seminary, I find that the theological discourse presented is worth revisiting time and time again. Thurman writes about how Jesus’ life laid the example for walking alongside the oppressed, even to the point of becoming oppressed oneself. His words, written first in 1949, are still so prevalent, and necessary, today.
2. Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Another suggestion from Carmichael’s, Democracy in Black exposes the ways that American politics have been distorted by the race gap that is so prevalent in our country. The book was published just last month and presents a way forward for American politics as we come to the end of the reign of our first black president. I know this will be a difficult read, but I look forward to understanding more deeply how our current politics have affected the black community in the United States.
1. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
I am reading The Half Has Never Been Told as part of a city-wide book club, inspired by EmpowerWest, a coalition of ministers and churches working together toward racial reconciliation and restoration of the West End in Louisville. Baptist’s book points out the ways that the legacy of slavery continues to separate blacks and whites in the United States today. On February 29, Baptist will come to Highland Baptist Church to lead a conversation about the book and race in our city, and I will be front and center, ready to dig deeper! (Read more about this opportunity here.)
If you haven’t decided what you will be reading this month, I hope you will join me in reading one or more of these great works! If you have more suggestions for books I should read, leave them in the comments!