Reading Challenges

Reading Together Summer Reading Challenge

Brought to you by Here Wee Read

Come visit the St. Matthew's Library this summer and check out books to complete the challenge!

Additional Reading Challenges

New Additions


Marilynne Robinson
“With the sublime Jack, [Marilynne Robinson] resumes and deepens her quest, extending it to the contemplation of race . . . There is richness and depth at every turn.”―O, the Oprah Magazine

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Isabel Wilkerson
The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. - Amazon

The Bible With and Without Jesus

Levine & Brettler 
The editors of The Jewish Annotated New Testament show how and why Jews and Christians read many of the same Biblical texts – including passages from the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Psalms – differently. - Amazon

Faith After Doubt

Brian D. McLaren
One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2021—Spirituality & Practice

Book and Resource Lists

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Episcopal Church Resources


Parishioners' Book Reviews

The Preaching Life, by the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor 

Review by Robin Garr

This was one of the first books I read as a new Episcopalian and member of St. Matthew's in 2008, the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor's The Preaching Life went a long way toward shaping my theology and my love for this church. Actually a series of sermons by a gifted preacher and teacher, this book offers Taylors reflections on her own biography, her call as a priest, and the call of the church "to hear, respond, and remain faithful to its mission of holy love." As we at St. Matthew's work to discern our calling and how to respond, consider these thoughtful words from The Preaching Life: "What many Christians are missing in their lives is a sense of vocation. The word itself means a call or summons, so that having a vocation means more than having a job. It means answering a specific call; it means doing what one is meant to do." Whether you are new to the Episcopal church or one of those "cradle" Episcopalians, I can't recommend this and Taylor's other books too highly. 

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart by C. Kenneth Haugk 

Review by Jody Fletcher

We all find it a challenge to relate to people who are suffering or near the end of life. I have struggled with what to say after greeting a person in these situations. What helps and what doesn’t? Dr. Kenneth Haugk’s short book Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart offers practical suggestions. It’s based on his personal experience with his wife’s diagnosis of ovarian cancer and her 41-month fight for life. He said, “We both learned a great deal about caring. We learned what helped and what didn’t.” In addition to their personal battle with cancer, they had previously worked together developing a training organization for care givers. Have you ever said, “I know exactly how you feel” or “I remember”. When a caregiver interjects his or her own experiences into the conversation, it shifts the focus from the suffering individual to the speaker. Dr. Haugk reminds us that “Conversations with a suffering person call us to set aside our own thoughts and needs and focus completely on the other’s needs.” I highly recommend this book as a “must read” to have in your tool kit as a caring, compassionate, person of any faith. 

Autobiography of Henry the Eighth: with notes by his fool, Will Somers : a novel by Margaret George

Review by Pieter Keyzer

An interesting guy that Henry the Eighth. After the culmination of the War of the Roses, he was meant to be churchman never meant to be king, supporter of the Pope, father of the Anglican Church, larger than life king and of course husband to all those women. Did he really start a new church, just to get a divorce? That’s the easy answer. Have you ever wondered what he was thinking? Well here are Margaret George’s thoughts on just that. The premise, Henry kept a journal and not only was it not destroyed, it was spirited away and kept safe by his jester William Somers. The book opens with William sending the book to Henry’s first child, the daughter of Mary Boleyn, Ann Boleyn’s older sister. Interesting you say? Wait it gets better. Over the thirty years that William had the journal, he took the time to add his notations… contrasting Henry’s thoughts with what everyone else was thinking and adding historic references to contemporaries (early 1500’s you remember) Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, a flurry of international politics as a peripheral power set the stage for this novel. The perspectives, dynamic history as well as Margaret George’s lush writing pull it all together in an almost 1,000 page tome full of juicy narrative and history. Ya just have to read it. Once you are finished, you can read Margaret George’s take on Mary Magdalena. Mary, called Magdalene her novel on arguably the most important woman, next to the Madonna in the New Testament, also can be found in the library of St. Matthew’s. It is just a novel, but it’s a good narrative wrapped around some fascinating events. Reading the book you just might learn • Who was Henry’s Grandfather and where did the House of Tudor come from? • Who was Henry’s sister married to and why was it important to England’s future? • Who came up with the idea that England break away from the Church in Rome and how was it justified? • Who were his wives and why did he have such a hard time with relationships? • What makes the Church of England different than other protestant churches? • Why is the Book of Common Prayer so special? • Who were Cardinal Wolsey, Cranmer and Cromwell and what role did they play in Henry’s life? • How many sons did Henry have and who were their mothers? • And what does a jester do at court anyway? ---- You’ll never be able to pick up the Book of Common Prayer without a second thought again. Have a good read! 

Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr

Review by Ellie Britt

In this fourth book I have read by Richard Rohr, I have come to believe that Rohr is a western mystic in our time. While he may not be expounding all original thoughts, he does so quite originally in the complete context of what it is like to be a thoughtful and even doubtful practicing Christian in western society. Because of his empathy and grace, Rohr may be the best guide yet to lead us through the misconceptions or misperceptions that shape modern western faith. Rohr covers so much ground and can be so profound that I recommend reading this book with a group.