Who said that back to school books were only for kids and college students? The fall is a great time for reading. Here are three great books to consider adding to your fall reading list:
Public conversations concerning the rights of transgender persons seldom focus on the everyday lives of actual people. Jennifer Boylan’s groundbreaking work offers a helpful adjustment to our discourse on gender and identity; sharing her journey from James to Jennifer, she captures the pedestrian questions and small victories along the way. Published in 2003, Boylan’s book reads just as well today, reminding us all of the shared struggle we face to live lives of integrity and authenticity. The Immanuel Book Group will discuss She’s Not There on Tuesday, September 13 at 11:45 am in room 205—join us!
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed book Between the World and Me is written as a letter to his young son about the realities of life as a black man in the United States. Coates’ brutal honesty and deep reflection upon his own life are at turns both convicting and inspiring. Notably, his vision moves beyond simple prejudice and bias; instead, he questions the dreams and racially-coded narratives that underpin US culture. Readers local to the DC metro area will also enjoy Coates’ moving portrayal of his time at DC-based Howard University, as well as his discussion of Howard’s lasting impact on African American culture. Immanuel will discuss Between the World at Read, Think, Question (Tuesday, September 27 at 1:00 pm in the session room) and at the Immanuel Book Group (Tuesday, October 11 at 11:45 am in room 205).
Novelist Lee Smith sets her story in an Asheville, NC mental hospital, but her questions about mental health and the lines we draw around psycho-social illness speak beyond location and context. The novel is based upon a quote by Scott Fitzgerald, “The insane are always mere guests on earth, eternal strangers carrying around broken decalogues that they cannot read,” and a real-life fire at an Asheville mental hospital, during which nine mental health patients died. Through this frame, Smith brings much-needed humanity to people often relegated to the margins. Likewise, she offers a hopeful solidarity and grounds for a renewed shared life among all of us who are guests here and now on earth.
Billy Kluttz works as the Evening Service Coordinator at Immanuel (5:30 pm on Sundays). Originally from North Carolina, he is a recent graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. He loves college basketball, country and folk music, and all things southern. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.