A week ago I made a list for a customer who works with women in a college resident hall. It happens to be a church-related college but, of course, even Holy Spirited-institutions are mired in the brokenness of our culture and social, sexual, emotional and vocational quandaries are the stuff of life for all of us East of Eden. And so, I made a list, at her request, of books mostly about body image, modesty and such. I shared that list with the customer so she could know the kinds of things we recommend on that topic and hopefully buy a few as resources for her career and ministry come Fall. We posted that here on the blog, and you can find it by scolling down just a bit.
Here are a few more (a few could have been listed specifically with that list about identity, gender, and such but a few are on other topics.) It is a rather random list; just a handful I grabbed off the shelves that I find myself routinely wishing folks would buy. We have tons more, but this gives you an idea of the sorts of things that are solid and helpful. If you know anybody that could find these useful, pass it on.
CanÃ•t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel Jean Kilbourne (The Free Press) $15.00 Although not faith-based, this book is used by wise student affairs folks everywhere as it is the definitive guide to how media impacts us all, especially women, to think about themselves, their bodies and their sexuality. A must read for anyone who cares about our culture. I should have mentioned this last week since it is so important. Check out her website here for her documentaries and essays, but order the book from us!
On Earth as it is In Advertising: Moving From Commercial Hype to Gospel Hope Sam Van Eman (Brazos) $14.99 IÃ•ve often mentioned SamÃ•s good book and it would be especially helpful for study groups at religious colleges or any individual who wants to be more aware of the power of mass media; it brings Kingdom vision to the whole question of consumerism, self-identity, and is a good and faithful follow-up to Kilburn (who, by the way, has a glowing endorsement.)
The Truths that Free Us: A WomanÃ•s Calling to Spiritual Transformation Ruth Haley Barton (Shaw) $12.99 Page for page this is one of the best books for Christian women that we know of; a delightfully written, mature and multi-faceted invitation to spirituality and wholeness. Thank God for such reliable and solid guidance. Check out Ruth’s other books on spirituality, solitude and the pace of life.
Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World Linda Clare & Kristen Johnson Ingram (Revell) $12.99 From my middle-school daughter to a womenÃ•s retreat for ladies of all ages we did this Spring, I’ve learned that Ã’makeoverÃ“ is a word that, well, IÃ•ve got to learn to use. Shallow as the concept may strike me, there is a redemptive way to think creatively about what a more substantive makeover would be. Here, these good authors draw upon other women writers—poet Luci Shaw, youth novelist Melody Carlson, the wonderfully thoughtful Vinita Hampton Wright, for instanceÃ‘to work the spa- make-over- beauty- transformation-health metaphor. Very, very practical, really thoughtful and tons of fun with all kinds of insight about spirituality and growth. Very nicely done.
Fresh Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul Nicole Johnson (Word) $13.99 Over the last few years this may be our biggest selling book of basic Christian growth for women. It uses films and pop songs (David Wilcox, for instance) and makes fun suggestions for coffee-conversations and creative activities. Still, it doesnÃ•t get caught up in silly antics; there is substance and wisdom, delivered with joy and wit. Younger women, especially, love her style and appreciate this kind of guide to relevant Christian discipleship.
Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society Dorothy L. Sayers (Eerdmans) $9.00 Yes, yes, this long-out of print classic was reprinted a year ago. Dorothy Sayers was the first women to graduate from Oxford University, offer, in her piquant style, a sensible and pointed argument for treated women as true individuals. C.S. Lewis, of course, admired her immensely, and her mystery novels are themselves worthy of revisiting. (A new edition of Creed and Chaos came out last year, under the name Letters to a Diminished Church by the way, as did a great study of her work, Creed Without Chaos by Laura Simmons. What an important thinker and writer!)
For other titles on gender roles and thinking about Biblical views of feminism and such, call us. Or, at least, see the few we listed on the previous blog from last week, such as Gender & Grace or the work of Elaine Storkey.
Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical Women, Feminism and the Theological Academy Nicola Hoggard Creegan & Christine D. Pohl (IVP) $18.00 A rather specific title, but my-oh-my, how important. There is this tension between evangelical women and feminism and between evangelical women in the theological academy. For any woman considering advanced studies in seminary or who feels called to ministry, this is a thoughtful, balanced, compelling and nuanced study. With rave (rave!) reviews from the likes of Richard Mouw, John Franke, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, this is a major contribution for women and their faith development. Pohl, you may know, wrote the spectacular and highly regarded book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Practice, which would be an excellent study for anyone, living in a residence hall or communal setting. Or those who donÃ•t, and wish to be more inclusive in their offering hospitality to others.)
From Battle Scars to Beauty Marks: Portraits of Women Who Turned Trials to Triumph Ellie Lofaro (LifeJourney) $12.99 A good telling of a number of women who have gone through various trials and struggles—from abuse to eating disorders, from living with illness to coping with grief. These are wonderfully moving stories, each helping the reader learn to trust God and celebrate a life (as Dan Allender say on the back) Ã’ of tenacity, hope and transformation.Ã“
Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality Doug Rosenau and Michael Todd Wilson (Baker) $14.99 I wish this could have been listed in the previous post where I listed books like Lauren WinnerÃ•s Real Sex, but it just arrive. We very much like RosenauÃ•s previous Celebration of Sex (rather a manual for newlyweds.) This bills itself as a book Ã’when Ã’How far is too farÃ“ doesnÃ•t go far enough.Ã“ Seems to cover an extraordinary array of information, Biblically-shaped and wise, speaking candidly to this generation with their hurts and sexual confusion. Hip cover, too, which never hurtsÃ‰
Mean Girls All Grown Up: Adult Women Who are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees and Afraid-To-Bees Cheryl Dellasega (Wiley) $24.95 Here, the author of Surviving Ophelia, follows up the Ã’mean girlsÃ“ studies. An important study of the sources of womenÃ•s aggression and a reminder that the Ã’queen beesÃ“ of our youth do not necessarily fade awayÃ‰
Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict Tara Klena Barthel & Judy Dabler (Baker) $14.99 The Bible is clear that we are to be GodÃ•s agents in offering reconciliation and building communities of care and unity. This takes the excellent work of Ken Sande and applies those peacemaking principles to women. From friendship quarrels to love turning sour, women can represent Christ in ways that are helpful and reconciling. This book will help us follow the instruction of Ephesians 4:3, for instance.
Women to Women: Perspectives of Fifteen African American Christian Women edited by Norvella Carter (Zondervan) $12.99 While a few chapters may be most useful for married women in the hometown community, many of these excellent chapters are ideal for young women of color, or anyone who cares about racial justice and cross-cultural sensitivities. We specialize in this area, so if you have special interests here, call us. Or, at least check out this review done last year at the website. Besides a number of Christian and general market books noted, please look at our remarks about Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Inter-racial Friendships, a book that blew me away. Most of the chapters are highly recommended, thoughtful, litarary, passionate, challanging.
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia Marya Hornbacher (Harper) $13.95 A scary but tentatively triumphant memoirÃ‰told with grace, sharp humor and candor.Ã“ So says the San Francisco Chronicle. Other reviewers have called in Ã’gritty and unflinching Ã‰raw Ã‰ disintegrated…unsparing Ã‰terrifying.Ã“ It is indeed powerful and intelligent
Holy Hunger: A WomanÃ•s Journey from Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Vintage) $13.00 A memoir—daughter of an esteemed Harvard professor and a pious Radcliffe trustee—of a superachiever in academia who was Ã’eating herself to death.Ã“ A fascinating an moving account of compulsion and the healing processÃ‰a rave review from Anne Lamott on the cover may appeal to some.
By the way, I know some college age women who find Traveling Mercies to be one of their all time favorite books; ribald and funny, tragic and finally hopeful as she comes to a rather unorthodox conversion to Christ, that set of reflections on doubt and faith by an esteemed bohemian novelist, is widely used, despite the colorful language. Plan B is even more funny, the author remains in love with Jesus, tries to love President Bush and the so-called Christian right (which she despises), and she continues to slip in to the language that is common in her world of recovery and lefty artists, but used to be reserved for sailors. We highly recommend her excellent and provocative writing and hold her up as a Christian woman author in the real world of letters; they may not be for everyone, though.)
Appetites: On The Search for True Nourishment Geneen Roth (Plume) $11.95 For those with eating disorders, RothÃ•s important handbooks are helpful, inspired and provocative. A bit new-Agey, not Biblically-oriented, they offer a vision of the relationship between eating and intimacy (one earlier book is called When Food Is Love) and are standards in the field. This one is written more as a memoir as Roth explores the process of questioning what was at the core of her own life.
Parched Heather King (NAL) $12.95 King is the brave gal—now a Hearts & Minds friend—who wrote the best response to the James Frey fiasco (his Oprah-plugged memoir of addiction and recovery ended up largely fictionalized) in PublisherÃ•s Weekly, to which we linked you back at our blog post about it.) Her detailed, raw memoir of her early alcoholism is gracefully written, charming, even, even as it is yet unnerving, a very well done piece that explains her journey to sobriety and her eventual conversion to Catholic faith. Wonderfully done and very helpful, loved by those who read it. She is known by some for her NPR pieces, but this book has not gotten the publicity it deserves. Pre-order it now and we will send it right out when it is released at the end of the summer.
Smashed: The Story of a Drunken Childhood Koren Zailckas (Penguin) $14.00 Read it and weep; what a powerful story of a high school alcoholic and her early years at college. Powerful and relevant.
Preventing Hazing: How Parents, Teachers, and Coaches Can Stop the Violence, Harassment, and Humiliation Susan Lipkins (Jossey Bass) $14.95 WeÃ•ve gotten an advanced manuscript of this, to be released in August 2006, and I could not put it down. Dr. Lipkins is one of the leading hazing experts and is currently working on a documentary on two of the more publicized recent hazing events that turned to vicious sexual violence. This problem permeates schools, colleges and communities and this not only explains some of this dangerous behavior, it offers practical advise for those who can intervene in perhaps life-saving ways. Very important.
Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women Patricia Miller (Baker) $10.99 This is not the space to do a whole list on counseling, spiritual caring or a Christian approach to psychology. But this spiral bound collection of Bible verses collated by topic (self-worth, contentment, depression, birth control, dating, etc.) is a useful tool to have around for those who work with women. Very handyÃ‰
Well, thanks for reading through this list. If youÃ•ve gotten this far, you have not only a taste of the diverse books we stock on personal development and social wellness, but of the ways in which books can help us be prepared to assist those around us. Whether you are, like our customer for whom this list was custom made, are working in a college residence life program or have a young adult ministry, or just know and love young people, these are the kinds of tools we can use to help us in the job of caring well. It is our privilege to serve you as you serve others. Stay in touchÃ‰