book cover for The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Summer Reading No. 2: Brinna Michaels

As Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, Brinna Michaels has a hand in making both print and digital resources discoverable for users. But what has Brinna discovered to recommend for Pitt’s Summer Reading Blog this year?

Brinna starts with House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2021). Brinna describes Klune’s work as “an absolutely beautiful, funny, and heartwarming book about a man who has been forced to be painfully average in every way by the society he lives in, but who learns to find what makes him happy, vibrant, and unique after meeting a gaggle of magical orphans and their mysterious caretaker.” This “modern fairy tale” is also a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller. Find this book through your local library!

Ever wanted cool science stuff explained to you by cool science folks, but without all the confusing science words? Brinna insists that “Alie Ward has you covered with her podcast which explores all types of “ologies,” including: volcanology (volcanoes), teuthology (squids), horology (watches), glycobiology (carbs), gelotology (laughter), and many more! Find this podcast online through your preferred streaming service. 

We hope you enjoy this week’s recommendations! Find all summer reading blogposts here, and don’t forget to visit the blog next week for more suggestions from Pitts and Candler staff and faculty.


Summer Reading Recommendations, Part 8: Prof. Ellen Shepard

To wrap up the final installment of Pitts Theology Library’s Summer Reading Blog for 2021, Pitts reached out to a beloved faculty member of the Candler community, Dr. Ellen Shepard, for the top resources she turned to during quarantine. Dr. Shepard recently retired from Candler as Assistant Professor in the Practice of Practical Theology and Director of the Women, Theology, and Ministry Program. Students, staff and faculty will dearly miss Dr. Shepard’s joyful presence on campus this fall, but her legacy of service continues to inspire the Candler community and beyond!

Dr. Shepard describes her transition into retirement this summer as a “hard, but good, stretching season.” In the midst of a difficult season of change and grief in the ongoing pandemic, Dr. Shepard leaned on these resources for hope and inspiration.

Dr. Shepard’s first recommendation is New York Times Bestseller The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (HarperOne, 2019), which she describes as “a simple, yet beautifully deep story of life, loss, and love.” You can read it front to back, or simply open to a random page for inspiration! “I carried this with me for weeks,” she says, “It is so important.” She also recommends Mackesy’s youtube interviews for writing inspiration. 

Dr. Shepard’s next recommendation is the podcast, Meditative Story by Wait What Productions ( She describes this podcast as a collection of “lovely first person stories from ordinary and some famous people that are punctuated with meditative pauses.” Another podcast she recommends is Unlocking Us., during which researcher and New York Times best-selling author Brené Brownunpacks and explores the ideas, stories, experiences, books, films, and music that reflect the universal experiences of being human, from the bravest moments to the most brokenhearted.

Dr. Shepard’s fourth recommendation is a book in her library that she returned to for comfort in this season titled Brother to a Dragonfly by Will D. Campbell (University Press of Mississippi, 2018). The Honorable John Lewis reviewed this book, writing, “Will Campbell’s life has been one of helping us lay down the burden of race … His spirit and his superb writing make Brother to a Dragonfly stand out among memoirs of the Movement.” Find this book at a library near you, or online for purchase

Prof. Shepard’s fifth recommendation is Dancing with Elephants: Mindfulness Training for Those Living with Dementia, Chronic Illness, or an Aging Brain by Jarem Sawatsky (Red Canoe Press, 2017), which she was recommended by Mona Pineda, a Candler graduate currently working in hospice care. Dancing with Elephants is an excellent resource for anyone serving in ministry or chaplaincy.

One book Dr. Shepard keeps on her coffee table is Stories of the Saints by Carey Wallace – former distinguished guest speaker for the 2019 Annual Women’s Forum sponsored by Candler’s Women, Theology, and Ministry program! Through beautiful illustrations, this book tells the stories of lesser known saints. While it’s technically for children, it’s also for the child at heart in all of us. Another illustrated read she loves is Mostly True, Collected Stories, and Drawings by Brian Andreas. Brian is an artist, sculpture, and storyteller whose mission is building community, and you can check out his work at

Lastly, Dr. Shepard has enjoyed Emily Henry’s Beach Read (Jove, 2021). You guessed it – it’s a perfect fiction escape for a day at the beach! Find this book at your local library, or for purchase at

We hope you enjoyed Dr. Shepard’s recommendations as much as we did! Thank you to all our contributors this summer who provided their favorite finds from quarantine. Looking for more recommendations? All summer reading blog posts are archived at

Pitts Summer Recommendations: The Best of Quarantine

To kick off the 2021 Pitts Summer Reading Blog, Pitts took to the hallways of the library and Candler building to find out “the best resource you discovered during quarantine.” This week spoke to Myron McGhee, the one of Pitts’ circulation specialists. If you are a Candler student, Myron is a familiar face, as his work ranges from assisting patrons and coordinating with Pitts’ librarians and student staff members, to managing the circulation and cataloging of library materials.  

Myron’s recommendation is Calypso by David Sedaris, a collection of 21 semi-autobiographical essays. The collection of essays was combined into one volume and published as Calypso in 2018.  After its release, NPR published a review of Calypso, attesting to Sedaris’ writing, describing his “remarkable ability to combine the personal with the political, the mundane with the profane, slime with the sublime, and hilarity with heart.” Calypso unpacks family life during the 60s and 70s, providing complex perspectives on matters of life, death, and family dynamics. This item is available as an ebook and in print at the Woodruff Library.

Calypso was named Amazon’s Best Book of June 2018, where it was described as “reading ruminations on middle age and mortality is not typically a cheery exercise, unless David Sedaris is doing the writing.”  The author, David Sedaris worked as a housecleaner and even a part-time elf at Macy’s, before becoming a best-selling author, having several plays produced, and winning the Thurber Prize for American Humor. As his tenth book, Sedaris proves his excellence in American humorist writing.  He is a regular contributor at Esquire and Public Radio International’s “This American Life,” which can be streamed on most podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify

Next week we look forward to hearing from Dr. Jehu Hanciles, the D.W. and Ruth Brooks Professor of World Christianity and Director of the World Christianity Program at Candler. Looking for more recommendations? All summer reading blog posts are archived at

Summer Reading, Vol.12: Roger Sangburm Nam

As the summer intercession comes to a close, Pitts wraps up its Summer Reading Recommendation blog series by consulting a brand new face to the Emory and Candler faculty! Roger S. Nam will join us this fall as professor of Hebrew Bible. Dr. Nam formally served as dean and professor of biblical studies at Portland Seminary at George Fox University in Oregon. A financial analyst before turning his attention to biblical studies, Nam focuses his research on the economies of the ancient Near East and the book of Ezra-Nehemiah, applying traditional historical-critical methods within social-scientific frameworks. He has also served as a pastor in Seoul, Korea. 

While Dr. Nam notes that fiction isn’t typically on his reading list, he admits that his friends’ ravings about Pachinko by novelist Min Jin Lee were warranted. This New York Times Bestseller set in the early 1900s follows the story of teenaged Sunja, the daughter of a crippled fisherman, whose decision to abandon her home and to reject her son’s powerful father sets off a dramatic saga that echos down through the generations. Readers can find this profound story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty at Emory libraries or at local public libraries.

If you’d rather set down your book and pick up the remote, Dr. Nam recommends the Hulu series Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi. Take a journey across America with this award winning cookbook author, host and executive producer to explore the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups. From indigenous communities to recent immigrant arrivals, Padma uncovers the roots and relationship between one’s food, one’s humanity and one’s history. Stream this show on Hulu to find out exactly how “a (wheat flour) burrito is tradition wrapped in colonization.”

For those long drives or flights, Dr. Nam suggests one of his favorite Freakonomics podcasts, No Stupid Questions with Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth. During each episode, Dubner as a journalist and writer and Duckworth as an academic and researcher ask each other questions leading to lively conversations on research, literature, philosophy, and history. Whether you’re inquiring if charisma can be taught, or if familiarity really breeds contempt, you’re in for a wild but intelligent ride. Looking to the future, Dr. Nam “holds hope that hallway conversations at Candler will be this much fun and productive.” Listeners can subscribe to the series on Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle PodcastsSpotify, or use the R.S.S. feed.

Thanks for joining us on this exciting ride through recommendations in literature, non-fiction, podcasts, documentaries, and more! Remember that these posts remain available on the Pitts Librarians’ Blog to revisit whenever you’re searching for something new to add to the shelf. We’d like to thank each and every one of our contributors for sharing their suggestions and finds, and we look forward to hearing from more library and Candler faculty and staff next summer! 

Summer Reading, vol. 10: Bo Adams

This week we explored the shelves of someone who is no stranger to Candler School of Theology, the Graduate Division of Religion, or Emory Libraries, Director of Pitts Theology Library and Margaret A. Pitts Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theological Bibliography Richard (Bo) Manly Adams, Jr.! Trained as a New Testament scholar, a software developer, and a librarian, Bo Adams has guided Pitts Theology Library as it moves into an increasingly digital future through remote learning and research, collection access, and virtual outreach. Bo’s recommendations for summer reading and listening are ancillary with his talents, interests, and vision for the library.

If you fancy fiction, Bo recommends Neal Stephenson’s latest novel Fall, or, Dodge in Hell (William Morrow, 2019). Stephenson, a prolific author of science fiction and technology thriller, explores what it means to be and stay alive through a story of a man who dies but is kept “alive” through the attempt to scan and upload the contents of his brain. Stephenson’s fast-paced story, which draws upon fields as diverse as transhumanism, religion, history, and sociology, invites readers to consider the connection of our minds to our bodies, the notion of the human as a social being, and our responsibility and control over the created world we inhabit. Be prepared, however, as Bo warns “this book is long!” Find it on the shelves at Emory, at your local public library, or online for purchase

If you’re looking to listen on a long road trip or flight, Bo suggests of of his favorite podcasts, the NPR series “Tiny Desk Concerts.” This collection of intimate concerts is recorded in the office of All Things Considered host Bob Boilen. Bo has listened often to the concert of John Prine, who recently died due to COVID-19 complications. This 4-song concert was recorded in March 2018, and shows the genius and humor of Prine, one of America’s great songwriters and story tellers. NPR also just released a tribute to Prine, with performances by Margo Price, Jeremy Ivey, Courtney Marie Andrews, John Paul White, Nathaniel Ratcliff, and Brandy Clark, all performing Prine classics.

As we move into the final weeks of the summer intercession, find even more summer resource suggestions from Candler and Pitts faculty and staff, including podcasts, films, and more, on the Pitts Librarians’ Blog!