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Friends Journal Book Reviews, November 2017

This month’s reviews include The Gathered Meeting by Steven Davison, Hiking Naked by Iris Graville, and Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett.

 

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The Gathered Meeting

By Steven Davison. Pendle Hill Pamphlets (number 444), 2017. 34 pages. $7/pamphlet. The first time I read Steven Davison’s pamphlet my heart leapt and I said, “Yes!” The second time I read it, I wept. Why the difference? The first time I united with Davison’s proclamation that the gathered meeting is “one of the great […]

Marty Grundy, now a member of Wellesley (Mass.) Meeting (New England Yearly Meeting), attended the Quaker consultation of 1991, serving as a “participant observer.”


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Coming to Light: Cultivating Spiritual Discernment through the Quaker Clearness Committee

By Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlets (number 446), 2017. 27 pages. $7/pamphlet. In this short pamphlet, Valerie Brown introduces readers to the Quaker clearness committee, shares personal stories of how they have worked in her own life, and deepens the discussion into the spiritual development and formation that can result. That’s a lot to do […]

Karie Firoozmand is a member of Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore, Md., and the editor of the Friends Journal book review column.


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Hiking Naked: A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance

By Iris Graville. Homebound Publications, 2017. 260 pages. $17.95/paperback; eBook coming December 2017. This wonderful memoir tells the story of a Quaker woman and her family as they leave city life behind and seek a simpler life deep in the mountains east of Seattle, Wash. Burned out after years of nursing and seemingly fruitless public […]

Beth Taylor is a member of Westerly (R.I.) Meeting and teaches creative nonfiction in Brown University’s Nonfiction Writing Program.


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Faithful Sexuality

By the Working Party on Spirituality and Sexual Ethics. New England Yearly Meeting, 2016. 68 pages. $10/pamphlet; free PDF available at neym.org. At the end of August, a group of evangelicals published a document referred to as “The Nashville Statement,” which explicitly reaffirmed the authors’ orthodox, exclusionary sexual norms and went to the trouble of […]

Gulielma Leonard Fager is a member of Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore, Md., and a Friends Publishing Corporation board member.


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Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

By Krista Tippett. Penguin Press, 2016. 288 pages. $28/hardcover; $17/paperback; $12.99/eBook. “I’m a person who listens for a living. . . . This book chronicles some of what I’ve learned.” These are a few of the introductory words written by someone who to many Friends may not need introduction. The voices she listens to are […]

William Shetter is a member of Bloomington (Ind.) Meeting. He is still trying to become wiser, and now and then even succeeds.


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War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914–1918

By Michael Kazin. Simon & Schuster, 2017. 378 pages. $28/hardcover; $17/paperback (January 2018); $14.99/eBook. This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War, the conflict which, at the time, the world hoped and prayed would be “the war to end all wars.” However, it’s a centenary that has passed with […]

Dave Austin is a member of Haddonfield (N.J.) Meeting. He lives in Marlton, N.J., where he teaches middle school world history.


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Conscientious Objection: Is This for You? Discerning a Claim and Documenting It with Selective Service

By Curt Torell. Quaker House of Fayetteville, N.C., 2016. 209 pages. $15/paperback. This book is a niche book, but Quaker meetings and schools make up a large part of its niche. It is a “teacher’s resource guide” to help young people create documentation for a conscientious objection application for a military draft. One concept that […]

J. E. McNeil is a member of Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.) and as an attorney a longtime supporter of those who say no to war. She spent 11 years as the executive director of the Center on Conscience & War. She’s trained hundreds of Quaker, Mennonite, Brethren, Unitarian, and other youth in writing a conscientious objector file.


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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Haymarket Books, 2016. 288 pages. $17.95/paperback; $17.99/eBook. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor places the Black Lives Matter movement into a historical framework and explores the most immediate catalysts for the movement. This book is not a quick or easy read; rather it is a thoughtful and thorough engagement with […]

Lauren Brownlee is a member of Bethesda (Md.) Meeting and serves on Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Growing Diverse Leadership and Peace and Social Concerns committees.


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Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation

Edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. HarperCollins, 2017. 434 pages. $16.99/paperback; $9.99/eBook. This is a book I came to with an open (or should I say blank) mind. As a nonobservant Jew mystified by—but not well-versed in—the intractable rhetoric and endless turmoil of the Middle East, I wondered if it wasn’t time for me […]

Catherine Wald is a poet, author, and teacher who attends Sing Sing Worship Group at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y.


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Hegemony How-To: A Road Map for Radicals; Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual

Hegemony How-To: A Road Map for Radicals. By Jonathan Matthew Smucker. AK Press, 2017. 280 pages. $16.95/paperback; $16.99/eBook. Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual. By Jeremy Brecher. PM Press, 2017. 110 pages. $12.95/paperback; $9.99/eBook. I am about three decades older than Jonathan Matthew Smucker, but I resonate with his description of the life experience of today’s millennials, […]

Steve Chase is a member of Putney (Vt.) Meeting and currently serves as the manager of academic initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) in Washington, D.C. He is the author of two Pendle Hill pamphlets and a regular contributor to Minds of the Movement, an ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance.


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