This week we heard from Pitts Theology Library’s Acquisitions, Serials, and Assessment Librarian, Caitlin Russell. Take a break from the heavy academic reads with these novels grounded in religion and history!
First, Caitlin recommends Eternal Life by Dara Horn (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2018). This novel recognized by the New York Times follows the life of a Jewish woman in Second Temple Jerusalem who is blessed/cursed with eternal life.
Caitlin also suggests a novel the follows two juxtaposed tales called The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhader. This narrative tells the story of a family of Syrian refugees in tandem with the account of a twelfth century girl who became an apprentice to Muhammad al-Idrisi. This item is available in print at the Woodruff Library and as an audiobook!
Caitlin’s final recommendation is a fun adventure read called The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager, 2017). She explains that “this book is loosely based in Islamic ideas of djinn and brings up some interesting conversations about race and class based in a fictionalized world. It’s high fantasy, but with a core of religion running throughout.”
Stay tuned next week for recommendations from Susan B. Reynolds, Candler’s Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies!
This week we invited reading suggestions from Candler’s Associate Professor of American Religious History, Dr. Alison Greene! Dr. Greene provides three cohesive suggestions in a variety of genres and formats to fit the needs of any reader.
First, Dr. Greene suggests Carol Anderson’s One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (Bloomsbury, 2018) available at Emory in print and online. Carol Anderson is an Emory professor (AAS and History) whose most recent two books aim for a general audience. This publication takes a look at the history of voting rights and voter suppression. It’s timely, readable, and important.
Next, Dr. Greene recommends Yaa Gyasi’s novel entitled Homegoing (Vintage, 2016). This story traces two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana, unaware of one another’s existence, through eight generations all the way to the present. One sister marries an Englishman; raiders capture the other in her village and sell her into enslavement. The women’s descendants experience the full range of American and Ghanian histories, overlapping once again in a final (and hopeful) twist. Dr. Greene describes Gyasi’s novel as a “gorgeous, beautifully written book” and a “powerful exploration of the legacies of human enslavement on both sides of the Atlantic.” Homegoing is available at Emory in print, as an ebook, and as an audiobook.
Finally, Dr. Greene suggests you plug-in your headphones for a podcast called BackStory. Produced at the University of Virginia and hosted by United States historians Nathan Connolly, Joanne Freeman, and Brian Balogh, this hour-long weekly podcast provides the historical backstory (hence the name) to issues of contemporary interest and concern in the United States, from politics to pop culture to religion. Dr. Greene describes the content as “good history designed for a general audience, and a great introduction to a broad range of historians, who appear each week as expert guests.”
Next week we look forward to hearing from Pitts Theology Library’s Acquisitions, Serials, and Assessment Librarian, Caitlin Russell, with some excellent suggestions for historical fiction and fantasy!