People find spirituality in a variety of places--in religion, nature, or the personal journey to find meaning in life. Likewise, all kinds of books explore spirituality, and some find it in interesting places--inside a tent, after leaving a convent, or in the life of a close friend. The Heart of Spirituality looks at six spiritual books, each with its own distinct perspective. Join us to discuss them with other readers.
The series will feature the following books:
September 11, 2012 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
What were the lives of biblical women like? The Red Tent speculates on that question, taking Dinah, Jacob’s daughter in the book of Genesis, and expanding on the Bible’s brief mention of her. The story chronicles the women of Jacob’s tribe, including Jacob’s four wives, and centers on the red tent—the place where the women spend their cycles of birthing, illness, and more.
October 9, 2012 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
by Marilynne Robinson
In Gilead, Iowa, elderly Reverend John Ames, his health failing, grows concerned that his seven-year-old son won’t remember him. He begins a memoir about his life, including his pacifist father, his radical, abolitionist grandfather, and his difficult relationship with his best friend’s ne’er-do-well son. But Ames goes beyond a mere accounting of his life—he meditates on faith, fathers and children, and the imperfections of humanity.
November 13, 2012 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness
by Karen Armstrong
After seven miserable years as a nun, Karen Armstrong lost her faith, left her convent, and struggled to rejoin the outside world. Her solitude and eventual diagnosis with epilepsy intensified her alienation. With life more difficult than ever, she came to see herself as a complete failure. Then she stumbled into comparative theology, and a spiritual awakening—something she never experienced as a nun. The Spiral Staircase is Armstrong’s true account of her journey.
February 12, 2013 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving
Two boys—John, an underachiever with a prestigious background, and Owen, a popular genius of humble origin—remain best friends for decades despite starkly different backgrounds and ambitions. Their friendship survives even the accidental death of John’s mother, for which Owen bears responsibility. But Owen takes a long view of his life: He believes himself an instrument of God, a fixation that confounds John—particularly when Owen foresees his own death.
March 12, 2013 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
Franny and Zooey
by J. D. Salinger
Young, intellectual Franny Glass tries to purify her spirit by “praying without ceasing,” but suffers an emotional breakdown instead. Her older brother Zooey’s attempt to help her doesn’t work—until he telephones her, masquerading as one of their brothers. Franny eventually finds solace and spiritual meaning in the memory of the pair’s oldest brother, whom she and Zooey both admired—and who killed himself years ago.
April 9, 2013 - 6:30 p.m., South Hill
A Beggar in Jerusalem
by Elie Wiesel
A Holocaust survivor travels to Jerusalem just after the Six-Day War and mixes with the madmen who congregate at the Western Wall every evening. His experiences there force him to confront the ghosts of his past and his connection to the present. Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s novel illustrates the arc of Jewish history through one man’s spiritual quest—a quest that moves back and forth in time.
If you have any questions about the programs please call the South Hill Branch at 444-5386.