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Reading Week Book List

Feb 14, 2018

Now that all of those papers and assignments are behind you, Reading Week probably doesn't evoke that unique feeling of anxious reprieve it used to. While there are many things you may miss about your time at King’s, it’s safe to say that combing through textbooks to highlight key phrases and definitions probably isn’t one of them.

You may have crossed the stage in cap and gown, but your education is never complete. Lifelong learning is more than just a philosophy at King’s. Now that those deadlines aren’t looming, why not pick up a good book for the fun of it? We've put together this reading list with recommendations from some of your favorite King's personalities to get you started.

Some of these books are available for purchase at King's Bookstore and can be shipped nationwide, so make sure to check it out! Share a review of your favorite book in the comments below and be entered to win one of the books on our list.

  1. Counting Descent: Poems by Clint Smith - "I recommend it because the poems are invitation to reconsider what it means to be human in an unjust world; his poems weave together his own personal experiences as a black man in America, racial history, love, sports, politics, activism, and so much more.  A good poem to start with is ‘what the window said to the black boy’"- Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning
  2. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – “If you’re looking for a fantasy series with a brilliant magic system involving light spectrums, a sense of humour, and twists you’ll never see coming, then you need to pick this up." - Lindsay Eckert
  3. Let Your Life Speak.  Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer – "Questions of vocation abound at all ages of life, from school and college age to those coming up to retirement. Who am I?  What am I meant to be doing?  Is there meaning beyond me?  Palmer, a former Sociology professor who now heads up the “Center for Courage and Renewal” (, shares his own story. He walks us through his joys, his depression, his anxieties and his questions as he searched for purpose.  In a gentle and encouraging voice, rooted in his Quaker tradition, Palmer calls us to live lives of authenticity as we navigate the complex waters of calling." - Witty Sandle
  4. Paul: An Apostle’s Journey by Douglas Campbell - "This is the most exciting, cutting-edge, page-turning book on Paul you’ll likely ever read. If you want to experience this difficult apostle in an entirely new way—“warts and all,” as they say—this is the book for you. It’s written for a general audience (not academic) by one of the best Paul scholars of our time." - Doug Harink
  5. In the Beauty of Holiness: Art and the Bible in Western Culture by David Lyle Jeffrey – “If you love art and beauty and the Bible and fine writing, this is the book for you. Jeffrey shows how the Bible has provided both the framework and themes for Western art throughout the centuries. The book is loaded with illustrations from the history of Western art. Worth every penny of the $50 or so you will pay for it.” - Doug Harink
  6. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele – "This book is incredible for helping us understand how stereotypes are affecting all areas of our lives, for better and worse. It is research based but not stuffy and hard to read. I think it should be required reading for every educator and student. I constantly recommend it to people who work with students and diverse populations. I actually haven’t read it in a couple years. I might pick it up myself over reading break and see what new insights I might have!" - Alison Exner
  7. The Souls of China by Ian Johnson - "It’s a fascinating look at the everyday lives of Chinese people practicing four different religions, one of which is Christianity. Published in 2017."- Cathy Jol
  8. The Red Tent by Anita Diamont - "Written through the perspective of the biblical character Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, it is a historical fiction that gives you an idea of what life is like for women during the time of Jacob and his sons." - Heather Gilker
  9. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates - "The book contains one essay for each year that Obama was in power. I don’t always agree with Coates, but he writes personally and compellingly about the history of race and culture in the US. It not only helped me understand current American politics, but also broader social issues about equality and power" – Philip Mingay
  10. A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines - "I'm reading this now with my ENGL 215 class and even though this is the fourth time I've read it through, it is still one of my favourites. It touches on every aspect of what it means to be human, with themes of education and religion, individuals and communities, darkness and evil, strength and hope. I absolutely love it." - Rebecca Warren
  11. Believing is Not the Same as Being Saved by Lisa Martin - "Not only is Lisa a King's alum, she is an incredibly talented poet who explores themes of faith and doubt and loss in beautiful ways in this collection. One favourite line (I could pick so many) is: "Believe me: I want to sing, despite everything." - Rebecca Warren
  12. A Corner of the Veil by Laurence Cosse - “Starting from the premise that a French priest has received irrefutable proof that God exists, this novel shows how even the news of such a proof causes upheaval in the halls of power of both church and civic government. Beautifully written, it’s an insightful, yet compassionate, satire.” - Charlie Jorgenson
  13. The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-so-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller - “If you enjoy reading about reading, this cheeky memoir by a host of the literary podcast Backlisted details his attempt to reintegrate books, both accepted classics and overlooked treasures, into his daily life. Worth reading if only for his comparison and contrast of Moby-Dick with The Da Vinci Code.” - Charlie Jorgenson
  14. The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell - “Comprised entirely of questions (literally every sentence ends with a question mark), this book is by turns humorous and thought-provoking. While this ‘novel’ has no plot (!), part of the pleasure of reading it is discovering the importance of certain concerns as they repeatedly bob back up to the surface.” - Charlie Jorgenson
  15. The Radium Girls by Kate Moore - "This is an interesting account of the young women who worked in the factories that produced luminescent dials for clocks and watches. The book chronicles the working conditions, the resulting radiation sickness, and the women’s fight for compensation and improved workplace safety.  It is a powerful testament to the fact that we need to treat all substances, natural and synthetic, with care and respect." - Heather Starke
  16. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden – “Boyden writes in such a way that grips you from the beginning to the end of the novel.  He brings to life important issues and gives the reader somewhat of an inside view from the perspective of two indigenous people.  It is set in Ontario, which allows Canadians to connect easily to the content.” – Britta deGroot
  17. Boost Your Interview IQ by Carole Martin - "This book is by far the best job interview book I’ve read. It’s an easy to read, easy-to-refer-to book, and holds lots of sample interview questions along with suggestions of how to respond to even the most difficult interview question.  It is especially good for behavior descriptive interviews where “tell me about a time when...” types of questioning are used.    There is even a section specifically for students and new graduates. This book is available in both King’s bookstore and the Simona Maaskant Library!" - Susan Martin
  18. The Shack by William P. Young - "If you want to challenge yourself in how you see God and get a lesson on forgiveness with a dash of mystery, then I strongly recommend this book to you. There is also a movie that was produced based off of this book that I also recommend." - Abigail Douglass
  19. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - Library Staff
  20. The Honor Harrington series by David Weber - Library Staff
  21. Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman - Library Staff
  22. Harry Potter series K. Rowling - "A classic! A fun read. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, what are you waiting for?" - Library Staff
  23. Oryx and Crake trilogy by Margaret Atwood - "A dystopian fiction that has images that will haunt you forever. It’s one of those books that you can read over and over and get something new out of it every time." - Library Staff

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