Book suggestions for Christmas giving

Book giftsIf you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, here are a few book recommendations. Books are my favorite gifts to give.

For your favorite cook, clergy spouse or pastor’s kid (the young adult variety)

Three Many Cooks: One Mom, Two Daughters, Their Shared Stories of Food, Faith & Family Pam Anderson, Maggy Keet & Sharon Damelio

Pam Anderson is the author of many cookbooks, including one of my favorites, How to Cook without a Book. Her husband, David, is an Episcopal priest. Anderson and her two daughters have been blogging for some time at Three Many Cooks. In this book, they take turns writing their stories and sharing recipes. I loved reading their candid and touching accounts of growing up, life in a priest’s family, finding their own way, and the role of food and faith in their lives.

One of my favorite stories is of Maggy, the oldest daughter (of course) dragging bags of food from Manhattan to Connecticut to deep-fry shrimp for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner while her mother is away tending to her own parents. The recipe is included, but I probably won’t be making that one, especially not on Christmas Eve. However, I’ve already made the Orzo, White Bean and Kale Soup and Banana-Oat muffins. Big success with both. Next up: New and Improved Peppermint Bark.

In addition to the recipients mentioned above, it might be good read for clergy, to get a view from the family perspective.

For anyone who wants a new way to approach New Year’s resolutions.

1000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire, and Change Your Life, Linda Cohen

Linda Cohen started to do 1000 mitzvahs, or deeds of kindness, after her beloved father died. Linda is a Portland author and speaker, and I’ve enjoyed our face-to-face connection through the local National Speakers Association chapter. She is a thoughtful and grounded person, committed to her family, her faith and community –and a delightful writer. I’ve been reading one mitzvah a day as part of my devotional reading. It could be a great way to start the New Year. You don’t have to be Jewish to be encouraged and inspired by this book.

For the contemplative on your list – or someone who might want to become more contemplative.

Spiritual Literacy; Reading the Sacred in Every Day Life, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Spiritual Literacy is over 15 years old and still in print. (No e-book edition, but there is a recorded version available.) This is another book I’ve been reading devotionally, one short reading a day. They include readings from many spiritual traditions on topics such as Things, Places, Creativity, Work Service, Community. The Brussats also write their own reflections on the topics. I quoted them in my last post on paying attention in ministry.

A sample quote from Brother David Steindl-Rast: “My tools to cultivate patience are fossils that friends have given me. I have a small trilobite, an ancient marine animal, and another that may be an early form of the nautilus, and recently I received a tiny fish that’s six hundred million years old. I look at those and handle them, and that’s helpful to me.” Talk about perspective!

What books are you giving this year?



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