We here at ChurchDrunk like words. Words matter. Like, for example, when one says that millions and millions of people showed up for an inaugural event, but photographic evidence shows that perhaps this is not the case…those words suddenly matter! There are other words that matter (many of them spoken by the very same sentient tangerine conspiracy theorist – a subject for another day), but our favorite use of words is when they are strung together to make novels. A novel is an adventure you can keep by your bedside, a broad horizon tucked away in your backpack, and, at its best, a portal to the spiritual realm that you can take into your backyard and open with a good beer and a good dog by your side.
It is with these lofty bookworm ideals in mind that we proudly present to you the ChurchDrunk Lenten reading list. Read them all if you have nothing but free time on your hands (and God bless you for that, you smug little leisurely, literary lounge lizard) or pick one that sounds interesting and take a trip down the rabbit hole of ChurchDrunk’s favorite authors. We hope you enjoy them as we did, and use them as a stepping stone on your own spiritual wanderings!
American Gods by Neil Gaiman – This one is featured in this week’s podcast, and we highly recommend it as an expansive look at the interplay between the transcendent and immanent God. Gaiman, a prolific and endlessly creative writer of fiction, provides a long and winding journey across the American landscape littered with gods both old and new. Read it!
Lamb by Christopher Moore – As much as we love American Gods, we might just love this Gospel According to Biff, Jesus’s Childhood Pal even more. We love it like a fat kid loves cake. We love it like a heroine addict loves smack. We just can’t quit this book. It’s our lobster. Our life partner. The R to our L, which yields J (yeah, you know already!). It will be heavily featured in ChurchDrunk. You should read this book before we spoil it for you. While you’re at it, read Fool, A Dirty Job, and Sacre Bleu by Chris Moore, as well. But start with Lamb.
Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins – Is it weird that it took us three books to arrive at the very favorite author of both Dizzy and Ges? Nope, because Tom Robbins is that kind of enigma. He is maniacally insightful, crushingly witty, and terrifyingly symbolic, often in the same sentence. Roadside is his first novel, and perhaps his most Lenty offering, but you can’t go wrong with Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life with Woodpecker, Villa Incognito or any of the Robbins offerings, really.
The Brothers K by David James Duncan – Warning: this is NOT The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky! That “Brothers K” is a fine book about sadness and vodka, but this particular offering from David James Duncan is a wonderful story in its own right about family, redemption, and baseball. After all, March is not only for Lent. It’s also for spring training! Along those same lines, take a look at Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, the inspiration for the movie Field of Dreams. It’s another one where God is invited onto the base paths!
Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber – Looking for something a little less fictional? Well look no further. This one is a brutally honest look at what it takes to truly live the corporal works of mercy in a modern, everyday setting. Weber gives us a level of insight into the real, lived Catholic experience that is tough to find in the published world, and you walk away with real tips and tidbits about how to turn Big Talk into action. A quick, easy, accessible, and impactful read for Lent!