As your semester winds to a close and summer begins, you may be compiling a list of the books to put on your summer reading list.
We want to help. We asked Intersect contributors what books they would recommend, and we’ll share their recommendations in recent weeks.
Today, Yana Conner, Jaclyn Parrish and Clint Little recommend books on hurry, Death and Theodore Roosevelt.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World
by John Mark Comer (Waterbrook, 2019)
I thought my life would slow down after I finished seminary. And when it didn’t, I thought surely it would after I quit my job and went on a sabbatical for a month. The Joke was on me! It didn’t.
This caused me to realize that the circumstances of my life are not to blame for my busyness, I am. My inability to say “no” and choose the best thing over “the just okay” things has proven to me that I don’t know how to be still. This summer, I will be reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and listening to its complementary podcast, “Fight Hurry, End Hustle,” to learn how to quiet my soul and trade in human-doing for human-being.
by Terry Pratchett (Harper, 2013 reissue)
This is a story about Death. No, not death, the force of nature howling all around us, but Death. You know the fellow: white horse, black robe, scythe? Makes a lot of cameos on pirate flags.
Anyhow. This is a story in which Death is sentenced to death.
It’s nothing personal. The Auditors of the multiverse appreciate his undying dedication to his work, haha, but the fact remains that over the millennia, Death has developed a Personality. He has ceased to be an unfeeling, implacable force, and has become an individual. Life, it would seem, is a catching thing, and not even Death is immune. He’s alive now, and all life comes with a terminal diagnosis.
Death takes it in his long, bony stride, though. For the first time in his life eternity, he has a store of that precious resource, time, and he intends to spend it. With his proverbial pink slip on his desk, he saddles his horse (Binky [yes, Binky]) and leaves the cleaning-up for the next Death.
And then…Death starts living. Hijinks, the primary export of Pratchett’s Discworld, ensue.
Sir Terry Pratchett is the reason I can’t sing lines like “trampling over death by death” without feeling a twinge. “Death,” Pratchett reminds us, “isn’t cruel—merely terribly, terribly good at his job.” In Reaper Man, Pratchett gives us a Death who grows weary, suffers nightmares, feels pain, and feels fear. He gives us a Death that cares for his harvest. In Reaper Man, Pratchett does the impossible. He gives a Death we can love.
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
by Edmund Morris (Random House, 2001)
A good, in-depth biography provides insights into character, events and life choices in a way that fiction or didactic non-fiction simply cannot match. Although I’ve read many excellent biographies, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands out as one of the best.
The book covers Roosevelt’s life from birth to the moment he becomes President of the United States at the age of 42. By this time, he has already been an amateur scientist, competitive boxer, published historian, big-game hunter, cattle rancher, police commissioner, naval secretary and governor, all while battling significant lifelong health problems, the early death of his father, loss of his first wife during childbirth and many setbacks to his career.
The book is the first of three volumes, and while it can easily be read as a standalone book, you will probably find yourself, like me, hunting down the second volume the moment you finish the first.