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Summer reading at the Corporation

June 20, 2010

I can’t tell you how lucky I’ve been the last few weeks to be at the CBC radio. Working with the Tapestry crew, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on some great interviews, research some interesting topics, and contribute to upcoming production.

Here’s a few of the books I’ve been reading before, after, and in the course of “work”:

Lisa Miller – Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

Newsweek’s religion editor weighs in with her consideration of all things heavenly in this accessible, informative overview. Heaven, it turns out, is a pretty resilient belief, with a whopping 81 per cent of American adherents (58 per cent of Canadians). It’s also more of a recent phenomenon than many people realize, dating back to the intertestamental period of the Maccabbean revolt against Hellenism (ca. 200 BCE). Miller’s book is an exploration of the history, imagery, and visions of heaven. But she also talks with a variety of scholars, clerics, and everyday Americans who offer their thoughtful considerations on the sweet hereafter.

Peter Manseau – Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead

The slightly irreverent Peter Manseau takes us on a series of occasionally surreal journeys – pilgrimages – to shrines of the holy around the world. Whether it’s Buddha’s teeth, Muhammad’s whisker, or Jesus’ foreskin, nothing is too sacred to avoid becoming a sacred object (and often, multiple objects). A fascinating exploration of how humanity attempts to physically connect with the sacred through mundane, even grotesque objects.

David Darling – Prayer for Compassion (CD)

Okay, it’s not reading per se (except for the liner notes), but one the more interesting moments at Tapestry came from the meeting of two musicians jamming long distance: Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling (in CT) and Hildegard-chanting soprano Norma Gentile (in Toronto). The two musicians improvised and talked about the joys and spirituality of music. David’s latest CD is sweet, soulful, and occasionally haunting.

Honorable Mentions: Joan Chittister (Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope) and David Adams Richards (God Is)

Ever heard of Sister Joan? If you haven’t, you should check out her work. The Erie, PA based Benedictine nun is a prolific author (40+ books) and from an interview we had with her, an incredibly charismatic individual. Another book I’ve been reading is novelist David Adams Richards God Is. Wounded by the arrogance with which God is dismissed within his circle of intellectual elites, Richards opts to find God in the moments, experiences, and miraculous moments of life. This one wasn’t for work, but the suggestion of CBC Ideas producer, Frank Faulk.

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