Reviews of Two Important Books

A Bigger Table

John Pavlovitz's book A Bigger Table -- a review

I recently received A Bigger Table in the mail as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. I’ve been reading John Pavlovitz’s blog for a couple years and find his work vital to living in our society. I finished the book concurrently with an earlier EarlyReviewer selection, Richard Blanco’s How To Love A Country. What follows are two, short reviews of books I found to be important. Both books speak to the same issues, but from different vantage points. Furthermore, both books talk about how fractured our society has become, and how angry. Both books also speak to those of us who would reach out to all sides. Those of us hoping to heal the tears that are rending our country.

Pavlovitz is a minister in an urban church in North Carolina. As such, his book looks at how Christianity, or at least Christianity as it is practiced all too often in the U.S., has failed a good many people. He presents a plan, based on the way that Jesus fed the multitudes, or sat down to eat with Pharisees, or attended the wedding at Cana. He suggests that if we want to truly follow Jesus, we need to build “A Bigger Table,” one around which all can be seated. As should be obvious, his concern in this book is the role of the Church and its pastors–whom he urges to “Be brave.” He acknowledges that the work of reconciliation and acceptance will not be easy. My personal feeling is that this is a book for all Americans, not just church people. Highly recommended.

How to Love a Country–a book review

Richard Blanco's How to Love a Country--a review

This morning I finished two books, both LibraryThing EarlyReviewer selections. John Pavlovitz’s A Bigger Table and Richard Blanco’s How to Love a Country both speak to the fractured nature of US society these days. Both seek to find ways to bring our society back together, to heal the wounds. Pavlovitz is a pastor in an urban, North Carolina church. As such, he speaks to church people and uses traditional Christian language. Blanco is a poet, the son of Cuban emigrés, gay, and a university professor and lecturer. He was the fifth poet chosen to read at a presidential inauguration–Obama’s second.

The poems collected in How to Love a Country are both personal and powerful. Blanco writes to a country and people that have witnessed the Boston Marathon bombing, the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the anger of Ferguson, Missouri. And he speaks of his own life–coming to a frightening realization. Who he is and whom he loves will most likely alienate him from his family, his friends, his society. These poems are not easy to read. However, they are crucial if we are to understand each other. And if we are to build a society that offers full acceptance to the “other.” Highly recommended.</i>

For more books I have been reading (but not reviews of books) check out My 2020 Reading List. I have actually read a lot more than I list on the page. If it’s listed, then it’s a book I enjoyed. Maybe you will too. Note that all links to are affiliate links. If you buy the book through my link, I will get a percentage of the sale price. This adds no extra charge to you.


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