Page Turners: September Books of the Month

September 16, 2020
Fall leaf on open book
A new series in fall 2020 will highlight selected books the HDS community is reading. / Photo: Creative Commons

Just because the summer has come to an end shouldn’t mean we stop looking for interesting, important books to add to our reading queue. As we here at HDS settle into the new semester, and into our continued new virtual reality, we offer a sampling of what’s on top of our bookshelves. 


Fania DavisThe Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation
By Fania E. Davis

We invite you to join us this fall in our community-wide reading of The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation by Fania E. Davis, a leading national voice on restorative justice who was named a “New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century” by the Los Angeles Times.

From Salon

“In The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice, Davis examines the still-pervasive, centuries-long cycles of racial prejudice and trauma in America and their repercussions, ranging from educational inequities to mass incarceration. To inspire a positive action toward change, she highlights real restorative justice initiatives that seek to address these issues in schools, justice systems, and communities.”

simran jeet singh reading bookFauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
By Simran Jeet Singh, MTS ‘08

From Simran’s column in Religion News Service:

"When my older daughter was born four years ago, I started looking for children’s books to share with her—and that same feeling of disappointment and invisibility came rushing back. Thirty years had passed since my own childhood, yet nothing had changed. I realized that no one else was going to write the book I wanted in this world. I also realized that until and unless I wrote that book, neither my girls nor their friends would ever encounter positive images of people who look like me.

It felt less like an option and more like a parental and social responsibility—would I continue to sit by idly as our kids were bombarded with messages that they should be ashamed of their cultural backgrounds and traditions?

That same year, I began to write a new children’s book, a biography of Fauja Singh, the oldest person to ever run a marathon. He also changed my life: The day he became the first 100-year-old to complete a marathon was the day that I signed up for my first. I’ve never stopped running since.

That his story helps humanize Sikhs who are so often seen as threatening, villainous and terroristic was only one of the many reasons I chose to write about Fauja. I believe that if kids can learn to see the humanity of those who seem least familiar to them, they can learn to see the humanity in everyone they encounter—including their own."

The Yoga Effect book coverThe Yoga Effect: A Proven Program for Depression and Anxiety
By Holly Lebowitz Rossi, MTS '99

From a Q&A with Holly on the HDS news site:

“I hope that readers find the encouragement to meet themselves where they are, to take this book as an invitation to see themselves clearly and accept whatever feelings they may be experiencing as valid and important parts of their story. Some poses are repeated in every chapter but attached to a different emotional attribute in each practice. I really love that because I think when we come back to the same movements with different mindsets, we learn and reinforce our ability to be flexible emotionally as well as physically.

A calming Sun Salutation is very different from an energizing one. But when readers see themselves as able to approach the same movements in these two different ways, that's a bolstering feeling and something that I hope that readers can notice and take with them off the mat as well.”

Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship
By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

From "On the Inner Edge", a blog published by Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J.:

"A distinguished pastor and teacher, Bonhoeffer could have had an entirely comfortable life. But he knew better. His little book again and again emphasizes how hard it is to really follow Christ, because taking up the cross is hard. He reminds us that the world desperately needs honest followers of Christ who speak truth to power, risk their necks to help those in trouble, refuse to play it safe when fundamental human values have been scorned and pushed aside, when hatred seeks to stifle love.

Being like Jesus is to see the world not just for its undeniable goodness and beauty, but also in its grim darkness, violence, selfishness. The cost of discipleship is great, Bonhoeffer tells us, a long night before dawn. Be afraid, but still take up your cross here and now, and do as Jesus did."