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Summer Reading List

PSA: books come without social distancing restrictions! And let’s face it, has anyone ever remarked, “I really need to binge more Netflix,” while feeling good about themselves? Respect yourself and do some reading. At Liberti Collingswood, we’re glad to throw some recs your way as we seek to buffer a different kind of summer. Grab a book, a boat, a drink, and/or a friend and let’s see where together these tomes will take us!


The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, by Fleming Rutledge

We’re about 300 hundred years after any work of Christian systematic theology would generate serious buzz. Even if such works have peaked in terms of sizzle, Fleming Rutledge’s rich treatment of the reality and implications of the cross may be the most exciting theological release of the last few years. Conversant with all of the relevant past and present perspectives on the subject, The Crucifixion will serve as its last word for many years to come––and it’s so well written that it’s satisfying to the seasoned theological reader while staying accessible for the novice.

Free at Last?: The Gospel in African American Experience, by Carl F. Ellis

As our nation roils in racial unrest, we do well to listen to each other, to our history, and to our sacred scriptures. Originally published 20 years ago and now available in a new edition, Free at Last? weaves together these strands of voices into a compelling narrative that leads us both into deep lament and also hope for change.

Two Views on Women in Ministry, by Craig Blomberg and James R. Beck (eds.)

The pandemic preempted our planned study group this summer concerning gender and church office. But here’s a balanced book for those who want to dig into these issues in the meantime.


Outline, by Rachel Cusk

A novel that exquisitely balances presence and absence. Outline, the first volume in a trilogy, consists entirely of conversations in which our narrator mostly listens. Readers only learn about her in distinction from her interlocutors. We are who we’re not, but who really are we?

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories, by Denis Johnson

The latest, and last, short story compendium late lamented Denis Johnson. His crystalline prose details characters that have lived hard and lived long, even as they wonder if they’ve lived well. An easy but not a breezy read, Sea Maiden’s elegiac tone nevertheless fits well with this elegiac summer.


Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A landmark work from a leading voice on race in America, and even more relevant today than when it came out a couple of years ago. Historically aware and literarily suffused, heartbreaking and raw.

Feel Free: Essays, by Zadie Smith

A newish collection of reflections from your Lead Pastor’s favorite living essayist. (A brief meditation upon life and love in the time of coronavirus comes our way from Smith in July.). The mark of a great writer is an ability to cause you to care deeply about issues and artifacts you’d otherwise miss altogether; Zadie Smith is a great writer.