A Book Burning Deferred?

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. – Joseph Brodsky

As some of you may already know I’ve been writing here at this blog, where  I’ve tried to openly wrestle with some of life’s questions, thoughts on God, and religion/religion-less spirituality.  I’ve also spoken to my yearnings for a more fulfilling and meaningful work life.

Although I will continue to creatively explore truth through the blogging and writing process, I’ve always been most passionate about figuring out how to get some of my friends, or curious acquaintances, together in open minded spaces, where we can discuss/confront some of life’s most pressing questions with each other.

In recent years, there has been a growing shift in traditional communication; we’re moving from a top-down style of publishing, to a more shared, collaborative landscape called social media. All of this has provided many opportunities for just the sort of thing Explore Truth is trying to foster.

I don’t have to tell you what’s possible now, you already live it everyday.  I have yet to meet many of you in person, but some how, some way, I have been able to connect with some of the most interesting people via twitter, facebook, youtube, or the blogging community.  Where we were once separated by the distances of mileage, culture, or rigid thinking; we now see renewed possibilities if we can continue to harness our ability to dialog, and creatively explore truth together.

Reading More In 2011

For me, writing this blog, reading, and long winded conversations with family and friends have served as vehicles to wrestling with some of the bigger questions in life.  But reading the thoughts and experiences of authors who are also asking the big questions and thinking for themselves, has allowed me to lean on a collective pursuit of truth that has only augmented my individual quest.  In this same vein, I’ve decided that having a book club would take this collaborative journey a step further.

And my gut tells me that we need more of this.  Even with the technological advances social media/internet have brought us, they haven’t been without their potential drawbacks.  I was just reading an article that discusses the decline in “deep reading” and cites our fast paced lives, filled with tweets, facebook, tv, and more, as possible culprits.  I’ve definitely felt this tug-of-war, and want to double my reading in 2011.

How much of what you wanted to read in 2010, did you actually get to read?

So here we are…After toying with the idea of starting a book club during 2010, I finally decided to take action.

So What Do I Have In Mind For A Book Club?

I’m hoping to bring together a group of people who are just as inspired to wrestle with life’s bigger questions, re-examine aspects of religious assumptions, think outside the box concerning work, and who have a desire to better understand the world in general.

I invite you to explore these and related subjects, through a collaborative, online reading project called:

Explore Truth Readers

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” – Wilfred Peterson

  • What: Our 1st meeting will be to intro the group/procedures, select the 1st book, and a time that’s most convenient for people.
  • When: Sunday, January 23rd, at 7pm(EST)
  • Where: Online at Vockle.com (This is an online live video broadcasting platform.  Check out a demo of what is possible w/Vockle here and here.)  All you will need is a computer.  If you have a video camera or a computer mic, that’s even better, but not required to participate.)


Here are some examples of some of the books, or types of books I have in mind:

Philosophy, Truth & Religion/less

  • Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankl
  • Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality – Donald Miller
  • A Place For Truth: Leading Thinkers Explore Life’s Hardest Questions – Dallas Willard
  • A Case For God – Karen Armstrong
  • The Portable Atheist – Christopher Hitchens
  • Strength To Love – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Life Of Pi – Yann Martel
  • The Kingdom Of God Is Within You – Leo Tolstoy
  • Writing The Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir – Elizabeth Andrew
  • The Orthodox Heretic – Peter Rollins
  • Pagan Christianity? – Exploring the Roots Of Our Church Practices – Frank Viola & George Barna
  • Empire of Illusions: The End of Literacy and The Triumph of Spectacle – Chris Hedges
  • Life Inc.: How the World Became A Corporation and How To Take It Back – Douglas Rushkoff
  • On Bullshit -Harry G. Frankfurt
  • Brainwashed: Challenging The Myth of Black Inferiority (Black community) Tom Burrell

Lifestyle Design/Personal Development/Health/Travel:

  • 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • The Greatest Miracle In The World – Og Mandino
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Stirring It Up: How To Make Money And Save The World – Gary Hirshberg
  • The Art Of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live The Life You Want, and Change The World – Chris Guillebeau
  • In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan
  • Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide To The Art Of Long-Term World Travel – Rolf Potts

Life/Creativity/Poetry:

  • The Element: How Finding You’re Passion Changes Everything – Ken Robinson
  • Decoded – Jay Z
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide – Ntozake Shange
  • Room: A Novel – Emma Donoghue

World Affairs/Education

  • The Covenant with Black America – Various contributors
  • Out Of Control: The New Biology Of Machines, Social Systems, & The Economic World – Kevin Kelly
  • Democracy Matters – Dr. Cornel West
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies – Jared Diamond

Books will be selected based on the above mentioned criteria.  What I’m not looking to do, is to have all like minded people reading books we already all agree on.  I want us to pick books that are varied enough that we will be challenged, and to create a space where varying perspectives are welcome. BUT still maintain a focus on books that help us to explore ideas of truth/Truth, work, varying perspectives on God, and the human condition in general.

Everyone’s thoughts will be respected. Oh..and I have to feel excited about the book as well ;-).  All that being said, I want to hear what books you feel fit the “Explore Truth agenda,” or just give me your recommendations! PLEASE feel free to include your suggestions below, and we will finalize our 1st book by January 23rd.

feat pic: Love is the key

17 Comments

  • […] just read that 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college. Simply put, do not be a part of this statistic.  Although hard at times, I can […]

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