Staff Picks: What We’re Reading – March, 2021

An Introduction to the Gospel of John – Don’t let the “Introduction to” title fool you. This is an engagingly written but deeply scholarly book (with a bibliography at the end of every chapter!), but that’s why I love it. No one was more of an authority on John than Fr. Brown, and this book is helping me understand what for me is the most difficult Gospel.    – Joyce Harrison

The Handmaid’s Tale – A dystopian novel set in near-future New England where a totalitarian state has overthrown the United States government. – Erica Nicholson



O.J. is Innocent and I Can Prove It – Since I was in fourth grade, and the verdict was announced, this case has always been a topic amongst my sisters. We can’t get enough true crime. My sister Melanie told me that I had to check out this book because she now has doubts that O.J. was the killer. It’s a quick read so far, and the evidence that Dear brings forward is astonishing and should not be ignored for the possibility to reopen the case. – Andrea Laws

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on EarthI’m currently reading Sarah Smarsh’s Heartland. It’s long been on my reading list, and hers is a story that resonates with me: the pearl-buttoned, plaid, threadbare shirts; the chapped and calloused hands; and the strong women. Sarah and I grew up about seventy miles away from each other, and the family that she writes about strikes a familiar and frank chord: one that I’ve surely heard at many a family gathering. – Kelly Chrisman Jacques

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life – I started reading William Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of his life spent searching for waves to worship when it was -18 degrees in Lawrence. Now I’m ready for summer. – Derek Helms



The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America by Laura Dassow Walls – Humboldt was a Prussian explorer who led a daring and scientifically productive expedition to South America and Mexico during the Jeffersonian era. He was the first scientist to predict man-made climate change and was also an outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and the abolition of slavery. This book surveys his travels and scientific discoveries and traces his influence on American history, natural science, politics, environmentalism, art, and literature. – Karl Janssen

David Congdon specified his book picks by how he consumes them:





Obit – ebook

No One Is Talking About This – audio

Imagining Persecution: Why American Christians Believe There Is a Global War against Their Faith – print

Contingency and the Limits of History: How Touch Shapes Experience and Meaning – print