"In our age in which it is rapidly becoming a lost art, the importance of conversation should not be overlooked," writes C. Christopher Smith in the foreword of Read Up, Volume 2. "It is in conversation that our ideas and language and dreams get forged into common structures that shape the life of our communitieschurch, neighborhood, workplace, etc. . . . Reading is a sort of fuel for these conversations, providing energy in the form of words and ideas that bring life to and clarify our conversations." Conversations about good books refresh us as we glean wisdom and receive understanding from one another. In reading groups we don't have to hope someone wants to hear our opinionsit's expected! And even better, the idea or concept that we missed in our reading is often what our fellow readers will discover and share with us. Our "aha" moments are multiplied in conversation. Even in disagreementmaybe especially when we disagreethere is opportunity to learn from one another as we seek to understand different points of view. "The book that you hold in your handsbe it in print or in digital formatis a wonderful conversation starter," Smith continues. "Not only does it recommend some really good and timely books, at least some of which will be pertinent to the shared life of your church, it also highlights some questions about these books that will surely get your conversation rolling. I pray that this little volume will stir up many conversations, leading you into more questions, but ultimately into deeper and richer faithfulness in your local church communities." Whether your group is looking to discuss contemporary issues, history, fiction or memoirs, Read Up, Volume 2 has you covered, with descriptions, discussion questions, author conversations or excerpts for more than 30 thoughtful books. The diverse assortment of titles in this second volume of Read Up will provide you and your group with books that lead to both stimulating reading and meaningful conversation. Bring Read Up to your next book club and get the conversation started.
Lorraine Caulton has worked at InterVarsity Press since 1998. She's a lifelong reader of just about anything with words on it, including cereal boxes and billboards. She picked up the passion from her father, already at age 8 devouring such titles as and . She now lives outside Chicago with her husband, John, and beagle, Sam. If you're talking about books and Lorraine walks by, don't be surprised if she joins you.
C. Christopher Smith is editor of and a member of the Englewood Christian Church community on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis. He is the coauthor of . Chris's writing has appeared in , , and .
"In this age of media sound bites and online browsing there is something very special--even intensely, urgently soabout the wonderful experience of talking together around good books. . . . These wise and enjoyable selections are ideal for your grouphighly recommended for a time such as this."
"As a lifelong reader, I am always looking for books that will challenge me, provide me with fresh ideas and stimulate great conversations with others. On my bookshelves are several dozen InterVarsity Press books that do precisely those things. I am grateful for the ideas and communities those books have engendered."
"There are many reasons I have loved my community reading groups down through the years. The reading group experience not only expands the mind but exhilarates the soul while creating a bond with other group members. If you enjoy the discovery of new ideas and learning along with other readers, this tool will help you find those very special titles."
"If you want a group that is more than another social club, choose a good book to take the discussion deeper."
"When we sit down to read a book, a world opens up before us. The same thing happens when we sit down with friends for conversation. These selections will help Christian readers do both. In a time of deprived imaginations and relationships, we need guideposts like this to enrich our minds and lives."
"John Stott said, 'Books are a means of grace.' It's true! Authors distill years of study and experience into each book, and we receive it (if we are wise) as a gift from the Holy Spirit. Reading groups help us mine these gifts thoroughly, thoughtfully and joyfully. Take and read in communityfor your own sake and for the sake of the world."