Doomed Romance: Broken Hearts, Lost Souls, and Sexual Tumult in Nineteenth-Century... by Christine Leigh HeyrmanWhat it is: the engaging and richly detailed story of schoolteacher and aspiring missionary Martha Parker, who faced vilification for attempting to forge her own personal and spiritual path in the religiously tumultuous but still socially conservative world of 1820s New England.
Why you should read it: the warts-and-all portrayal of the evangelical movement during the Second Great Awakening, which looks at both supporters and detractors of Martha Parker with a nonjudgmental eye.
About the author: Bancroft and Parkman Prize-winning historian Christine Leigh Heyman has published other works about evangelical Christianity in early American history including Southern Cross, Nation of Nations, and American Apostles.
Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage by Anne LamottWhat it's about: navigating the tough questions that face us all, from the struggles in our individual lives to much larger, existential concerns.
Read it for: the lighthearted and hopeful tone; the warm and unapologetic candor that author Anne Lamott is known for bringing to her observations on life and faith.
Reviewers say: Readers will appreciate Lamott's "quiet, often darkly humorous reflections" in this "ode to relishing small things" (Publishers Weekly).
Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel RickettsWhat it is: a well-researched and issue-oriented guide to fighting personal and structural racism with a focus on cultivating spirituality and healing from trauma.
Why you should read it: the engaging and conversational tone and emphasis on developing sustainable practices make an intimidating topic seem much more approachable.
You might also like: Thunder in the Soul, a collection of writing by rabbi and civil rights activist Abraham Joshua Heschel.
The Gospels by Sarah RudenWhat it is: an illuminating and thought-provoking new translation of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
What makes it unique: the balance struck between accessible language for the modern reader and accurately capturing the historical and cultural context of the original text.
About the author: Poet, essayist, and literary critic Sarah Ruden has translated ancient works as diverse as Homeric Hymns, The Satyricon, and Saint Augustine's Confessions.
Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN by Tara BrachWhat's inside: an accessible guide to learning mindfulness skills, with a focus on developing self-compassion through an easy-to-remember "RAIN" technique -- Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.
About the author: Mindfulness teacher Tara Brach hosts an eponymous weekly meditation podcast and her previous books include Radical Acceptance, True Refuge, and Healing Traumatic Fear.
A Call for Revolution: A Vision for the Future by Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV and Sofia Stril-Rever What it is: a thoughtful, impassioned appeal from His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, urging readers to improve the world around them through compassion and an understanding of the ways in which all living things are interconnected.
Why you might like it: The writing is persuasive but concise, making for an approachable introduction to the Dalai Lama's teachings.
Who it's for: Although readers of all ages will find wisdom here, this book is primarily targeted at the young people who will inherit the consequences of climate change and increasing inequality.
Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a... by James MartinWhat it is: thoughtful and accessible recommendations for healing the rift between the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ community, written as a response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack.
Read it for: Bible-based lessons on the ministry of Jesus that call for compassion and mutual respect and remind all parties involved that their opponents are also fallible human beings.
Reviewers say: Though focused on Catholicism, "this approachable resource will resonate with many Christians" (Publishers Weekly).
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