Each month a leader from the Diocese will recommend a book to deepen our faith and unite our learning. Books recommended here are for anyone who feels called to participate. If you wish to learn more about a particular book of the month or send a message to those who have recommended books, contact our Digital Engagement Officer.

April 2023

The Book of Strange New Things
by Michel Faber
Recommended by Kennedy Fraser

Why are you recommending this book? 
As with all good science fiction, the science isn’t the real focus of the book but ideas and today’s problems. The Book of Strange New Things explores missionary efforts, culturalisation and colonisation issues.


Future Books of the Month:

May 2023

Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry, Missional Engagement, and Congregational Change
by Mark Lau Branson
Recommended by the Rev Keith Thomasson

Why are you recommending this book? 
Appreciative Inquiry is enabling people at St Ninian’s, Troon to have conversations about what has brought them energy in the life of the church in the past, what brings energy today, and with these conversations and stories in mind to begin to dream about the future. This is an attempt to move away from a deficit way of thinking to working with the abundance present. It is also beginning to help people speak about God’s presence and work. The Charge is, I think, in a significant time of transition, and this is a way of being that I hope will shape much of our life together. Structurally, we could move to having teams around where the energy is rather than trying to fill roles simply because they have always been filled in the past. The book presents several case studies, connects with scripture, and explores the theory of Appreciative Inquiry. This a very useful idea, whatever the landscape of your work looks like.


June 2023

When Women Were Birds
by Terry Tempest Williams
Recommended by the Rev Liz Crumlish

Why are you recommending this book? 
This is a book about connections, about finding voice and about refusing to conform to the roles that communities and society might place on us. It is a celebration of the role of family, of nature and of story.
As a lover of stories, particularly stories that form connection and community, I delighted in the author’s journey to uncover the story and the struggle of who her mother was and her appreciation of her mother’s legacy that revealed itself in unanticipated ways.


July 2023

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Recommended by Petko Marinov

Why are you recommending this book? 
The book follows the real story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor, black tobacco farmer, whose cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became a multimillion-dollar industry. The book deals with the juxtaposition of scientific idealism versus racism and injustice, of progress versus personhood, personal rights and freedoms.
I found it a poignant (if at times difficult, yet necessary) read, especially when considered through the lens of faith and justice work required in our world. It offers an accessible and emotional account of the effects of injustice.


August 2023

Love & Loyalty: Looking for Glasgow’s Early Episcopalians
by Roger Edwards
Recommended by the Rev Canon Oliver Brewer-Lennon


September 2023

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
by Rachel Held Evans
Recommended by the Rev Canon Audrey O’Brien Stewart

Previous Books of the Month

February 2023

A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal
Edited by Sarah Bessey
Featuring Amena Brown, Barbara Brown Taylor, Lisa Sharon Harper, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and many more
Recommended by the Rev Canon Audrey O’Brien Stewart

Why are you recommending this book? 
“The wish to pray is a prayer in itself.”—Georges Bernanos

As we’ve emerged from the pandemic into this “new normal”, I’ve found in my weariness a desire to pray but often, I long for words to express those prayers that are vibrant and new. In this collection of new prayers, Sarah Bessey has invited a diverse group of Christians to reflect on the unique and unsettling time we are living through. She has organized the prayers into three sections: Orientation, Disorientation, and Reorientation. It is an invitation to take stock of where we stand, to take apart the things that may be holding up captive, and to build ourselves back as a more full version of the Children of God we’ve been created to be.

March 2023

Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness
by Eugene H Peterson
Recommended by the Rev Dr Elizabeth Breakey

Why are you recommending this book? 
Elizabeth says, “It is not a new book; it was written in 1992, but the themes and ideas are timeless. Using the story of Jonah, the book discusses the practical implications of following a call or vocation, even when the going gets tough, and how to serve God and people faithfully. It is a book to lend to others to give them hope in dry times.
Even though it is aimed at clergy, it may be an engaging read for lay people who find themselves wondering about more exciting ministries. This book truly changed my attitude to serving. What a blessing!”