It’s finally the time of year for sun, sand, hammocks, and reading lists. Members of the HDS community shared what they’ll be reading this summer—for work and for pleasure.
Simran Jeet Singh, MTS ’08, postdoctoral fellow at New York University, columnist for Religion News Service, and senior fellow, Sikh Coalition
I'm excited by all the new children's books coming out that speak to my family's unique experiences. The two books that excite me most for this summer are Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed and Anoosha Syed, and Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison. I'm always looking for new fiction to help undergraduates learn about recent South Asian history, so I'm excited to crack Supriya Kelkar's Ahimsa and Veera Hiranandani's Newberry Award Winner, The Night Diary.
The basketball nerd in me is excited for Kirk Goldsberry's new book, Sprawlball: A Visual Tour of the New Era of the NBA. The racial justice nerd in me has been patiently waiting for Ta-Nehisi Coates' new novel, The Water Dancer, and the Sikh activist nerd in me is excited to read Jagmeet Singh's memoir, Love & Courage. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet gotten to Delia Owens' hit Where the Crawdads Sing or Tara Westover's Educated. I'm excited to read those, in part because I can finally be one of the cool kids at the lunch table.
Dudley Rose, associate dean for ministry studies and Lecturer in Ministry
Without trying to sound too pious, even before I was called to ministry, I was drawn to reading the Bible. And, of course, after I became a preaching minister, I read it a lot. In the last few years I have found myself especially captivated by Genesis. I keep going back to it over and again. I nearly killed my congregation a few years back when I decided to preach straight through the book. Some of them still speak of it. But I am unrepentant.
I’ve recently finished up my Dietrich Bonhoeffer seminar, in which we read Creation and Fall, Bonhoeffer’s theological explication of the first three chapters of Genesis. Its insight into the human condition always bowls me over. This summer I plan to re-read Genesis again—alongside some other related texts. At this stage in my life I find myself pulled to books from my younger days. I want to re-read John Steinbeck’s classic novel, East of Eden, a retelling of the story of Cain and Abel set in the twentieth century. I’ve also agreed to a reading and research course next year with a student interested in the Tower of Babel, so I plan to spend some time reading more about that. If I manage to get beyond Genesis 11, I’m not sure what’s next this summer. My night table is piled with books, among them Jill Lepore’s history of the United States, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, and a few books on photography.
Ashley Lipscomb, MDiv candidate and HDS Student Association president
I will be completing another field education unit with Hampton University, a historically Black college and university, this summer. While working at the university, I am excited to begin working on my MDiv thesis. For my thesis, I will be reading Audre Lorde's Your Silence Will Not Protect You, The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House, and Sister Outsider. I also look forward to re-reading Renita Weem's Just a Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women's Relationships in the Bible, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and HDS Professor Michael D. Jackson's The Politics of Storytelling. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology was recently added to my list, along with The Sister's are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris.
To ensure the survival of my sanity, I am excited to read a novel or two that I find as I casually walk around a local bookstore here in Hampton, Virginia.
Reem Atassi, coordinator of the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative, Religious Literacy Project
This summer, as we prepare for a busy upcoming academic year, I look forward to doing some reading that will deepen and broaden my frameworks of reference on the intersectionality of religion, conflict, and peace.
The books I have chosen are: Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East, concerning how religious people can be the critical missing link in peacemaking, by Marc Gopin; Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate, by Roger Fisher (author of Getting to Yes) and Harvard psychologist Daniel Shapiro. The book explores how to use emotions to turn a disagreement into an opportunity for mutual gain. Finally, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage by Paulo Freire looks at the territory of learning and activism, and why an engaged way of learning and teaching is central to the creation of the individual, culture, and history.
—by Michael Naughton