Buchanan, John M., The Christian Century
Though neither of my parents had a college education, I learned from them the joy of reading. Our home was one in which the Sunday New York Times was divided and carefully passed back and forth, and the crossword puzzle was a shared project. Winston Churchill's book on the Second World War was on the bookshelf, and so were Carl Sandburg's volumes on Abraham Lincoln.
My parents loved not only to read but to talk about what they were reading. When I was assigned Ole Edvart Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth in high school, my mother procured a library copy so we could discuss it. When my college sent out a recommended reading list to incoming freshmen, she ordered all the books and insisted that I take a volume to work on my summer job for the Altoona Water and Sewer Department. I recall having a copy of George Orwell's Animal Farm tucked in my back pocket and trying to explain to my fellow workers what it was about.
So I became a reader. Here are some of the books I put in my suitcase this summer--and I'm glad I did:
Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor's biography of Richard J. Daley, American Pharaoh, is must reading for students of American urban politics and, of course, all Chicagoans. Jack Rogers's Reading the Bible and the Confessions was enormously helpful to this Presbyterian who hopes and prays for the day his church will be more inclusive. …