Pitts Closed for Independence Day Weekend (Friday July 3–5)

Pitts Theology Library will be closed from Thursday, July 2 at 2pm through Sunday, July 5 in observance of Independence Day. The Library will resume its current operations and services on Monday, July 6. Have a safe and pleasant holiday weekend! Declaration of Independence Scroll

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Pitts Scholars Projects: ‘Ethics & Health Libguide’ by Seulbin Lee

Despite interruptions to the academic year, the 2019–20 Pitts Scholars cohort continued to explore library projects in the areas of research, pedagogy, and community engagement. The Pitts Library Scholar program offers exceptional doctoral and masters students the opportunity to participate in the discussions that guide the future of the library, and this year marked the third iteration of the program since its launch in 2016.

This week we highlight rising third year MDiv Seulbin Lee’s project, an online research guide that sketches a map of ethics and health by identifying introductory resources and germane theologians in the field. Seulbin’s libguide provides various modes of pursuing the topic including feminist/womanist ethics, Catholic social ethics, philosophical ethics, and social ethics. Recommended works discuss a variety of topics from genetic technology so global health to chaplaincy. This resource comes at a critical time when scholars must navigate theological and ethical questions arising from the current health crisis. Visit the guide online to get started, and congratulations to Seulbin and her project advisor, Brady Beard, for this remarkable work on a timely subject!

Stay tuned for more Pitts Scholars Projects highlights from the 2019–20 cohort!

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Summer Reading, vol. 8: Caitlin Russell

Who better to consult for summer reading suggestions this week than the librarian whose speciality is assessing and acquiring books, academic journals, and more for the library! Caitlin Russell, Acquisitions, Serials, and Assessment Librarian at Pitts, works hard to develop Pitts’ collections in addition to setting up access to purchased resources for Emory patrons. Caitlin’s suggestions this summer revisit her interest in Ancient Greek mythology, which she studied alongside Roman studies in her undergraduate program. The books she recommends “take new twists (and more than a few historical liberties) on familiar myths to create narratives that are both thought-provoking and highly readable.”

First, Caitlin recommends The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, which tells the story of Odysseus and Penelope from the perspective of Penelope’s 12 handmaids, who Odysseus hanged upon his return to Ithaca. The book is structured around a handmaids’ chorus that reflects the style of a classical Greek play, and the content provides insight into how Penelope might have handled her household during Odysseus’ absence. Find this book at Emory, your local library, or online for purchase in a variety of formats!

While Ursula K. Le Guin is best known for science fiction, Caitlin appreciates on of her publications that diverges from that genre called Lavinia. This book follows the tale of Aeneas’ wife as described by Virgil in The Aeneid, fleshing out a character that history has left as a line drawing. Using her signature storytelling talents, Le Guin refocuses on Lavinia’s life and makes the more well-known characters play a supporting role to her story. This book is available at Emory libraries, local public libraries, and for purchase online. 

Madeline Miller’s 2018 publication, Circe, received greater acclaim, but her lesser-known (although still award-winning) 2012 book Song of Achilles is another one of Caitlin’s must reads. In Song of Achilles, Miller tells the story of Patroclus, companion to the famed Achilles. The book explores themes of fate, love, and interactions between gods and mortals within a compelling narrative leading up to the Trojan War. Emory users can find this novel at the Woodruff and Oxford College libraries, local libraries, or purchase in a different format online.

Finally, Caitlin recommends a book that asks the question, “What if Theseus’ battle with the Minotaur took place in the era of the Kardashians?” The resulting novel, Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson, is an engaging re-telling of the legend in which Ariadne is a reluctant participant in the family reality show and the annual Labyrinth Contest is the biggest event on television. Visit your public library to check out this book, or buy a copy online!

Find even more summer resource suggestions, including podcasts, films, and more, on the Pitts Librarians’ Blog!

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Summer Reading, vol. 7: Shelly Hart

This week Pitts consulted a Candler staff member who specializes in educational administration, keeping the ship afloat as students enroll, access academic records, and plan their course roadmaps for a variety of programs. Shelly Hart, Director of Academic Administration and Registrar, not only engages with students through the registrar office, but also by actively highlighting edifying resources pertinent to the Candler community!

Shelly’s first recommendation is a must read for aspiring leaders, both in Candler and beyond! Another Way: Living and Leading Change on Purpose written by leaders of the Forum for Theological Exploration, Stephen Lewis, Matthew Wesley Williams, and Dori Baker offers practices to facilitate change through a holistic approach to leadership. The authors propose a 21st century model that honors the self, the community, and even the stranger as we work together for purposeful change in the midst of turbulent times. Find a copy of this book online in both paperback and ebook formats!

If you’re looking for a work of fiction, one of Shelly’s recent favorites is Lisa See’s novel The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. This book tells the stories of two girls, a very young mother, Li-yan, from a remote village in the tea mountains of China and her estranged daughter. The story follows Li-yan’s search to reclaim her daughter after the child disappeared into the international adoption machine in China, through which she has become Halley, the daughter of a white family in California. As mother and daughter grow up in vastly disparate circumstances, they experience divergent realities while at the same time continuing to long for a reuniting. Shelly notes that this book reveals interesting cultural details about a remote part of China and explores the experiences of both parents and adoptees involved in international and intercultural adoption. Find this item in the Emory catalog, at your local library, or online for purchase

If you’re looking to listen, Shelly recommends researcher and New York Times best-selling author Brene Brown’s podcast Unlocking Us. While originally planned to launch at South x Southwest 2020, this podcast instead premiered at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.  Brown’s discussion partners include a range of writers, thinkers, artists, and others, including Sue Monk Kidd, Ibram X. Kendi, Alicia Keys, Tarana Burke, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, and Celeste Ng. Episodes offer “conversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.” Listen to this inspirational content online for free at https://brenebrown.com/podcast/introducing-unlocking-us/.

Summer recommendations from Pitts and Candler faculty and staff don’t stop here! Find more suggestions at pitts.emory.edu/blog.

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Summer Reading, vol. 6: Brady Beard

Reading recommendations this week come from the shelves and playlists of Pitts’ Reference & Instruction Librarian, Brady Alan Beard! Brady not only manages Pitts’ reference services for the Candler and Emory communities, but is also finishing his dissertation as a candidate in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion Hebrew Bible program. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him leading instructional sessions, conducting research consultations, or searching for access to remote resources for Emory faculty, students, and staff. 

Brady’s first recommendation falls in line with his doctoral discipline, Dress and Clothing in the Hebrew Bible: For All Her Household are Clothed in Crimson, edited by Antonios Finitsis (T&T Clark, 2019). This book explores one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of human life in the Bible, clothing. Brady explains that until he read this book, he “hadn’t fully realized the importance of clothing in the Bible.” The essays in this collection bring together “dress studies” and biblical studies to help readers understand how dress and clothing impact biblical narrative. This book represents a growing area of biblical studies, and Brady recommends it to anyone interested in a fresh scholarly conversation. Readers can find this book at Emory, other academic libraries, or for purchase online.

Take a break from the books with Bradys next suggestion, I Am Not Your Negro (Madmen Entertainment, 2016), an Oscar-nominated film based on a 1979 letter that James Baldwin, the eminent Black writer, sent to his book agent. The letter describes what would have been his next project, “Remember This House,” which would have explored the assassinations of  Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., all three, close friends of Baldwin. The film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, places Baldwin’s letter alongside video clips and images from Baldwin’s life and time, juxtaposed against contemporary images and clips. Brady remarks that the result is a “compelling and insightful essay-like film that depicts Baldwin’s piercing cultural and historical analysis at its best.” Emory users can view this film online, and others can stream it for free at pbs.org.

Brady’s last recommendation is Dolly Parton’s America. This podcast, hosted by Jad Abumrad and produced by Shima Oliaee at WNYC Studies, is a nine-part series documenting the life of Dolly Parton and her lasting impact on American culture and music. The podcast opens a window not just into Dolly’s life, music, and enormous personality, but also into Southern culture, religion, and politics. Each episode includes interviews with friends, relatives, “Dolly scholars,” and the woman herself. As you might expect, Brady calls this podcast “as fun as it is insightful!” Listen for free online at www.wnycstudios.org or on Apple Podcasts.

Next week we look forward to highlighting suggestions from Director of the Library, Richard (Bo) Manly Adams, Jr. Catch up on all suggestions from this summer at pitts.emory.edu/blog!

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Summer Reading, vol. 5: Elizabeth Corrie

Our summer reading recommendations this week come from Dr. Elizabeth Corrie, Associate Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding and Director of the Religious Education Program. Dr. Corrie’s teaching draws on commitments to both peace with justice and the education of young people, particularly the development of teaching and ministry that empower people for global citizenship.

Dr. Corrie’s first recommendation is a collection of narratives titled Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi.  These diverse stories feature the voices of young people growing up not only black, but also gay or lesbian, first or second generation immigrant, light-skinned or dark-skinned, rural or urban, middle class or working class, and religious or non-religious. Appropriate for older youth or adults, Dr. Corrie suggests that “these stories leave you with a sense of hope for each young person you meet” despite the challenges of being young and black in America. Dr. Corrie attests that these narratives were “exactly the life-affirming tales I needed to get my through this pandemic.” Find this book on the shelves at Emory, at your local library, or for purchase online.

Dr. Corrie’s second reading suggestion is a New York Times Best-Seller and winner of the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, There, There by Tommy Orange. Unlike her first recommendation, Corrie describes this novel as “suspenseful and dark, but equally revealing of an unexplored perspective: contemporary Native Americans in urban Oakland.” This captivating tale draws many threads of different characters closer until they converge and collide on one fateful day. Emory users can read this book online, or purchase it as an audiobook, ebook, or in print!

Next week we look forward to hearing from Pitts’ Reference & Instruction Librarian, Brady Beard! Find all summer reading suggestions on the Pitts Librarian’s Blog.

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Summer Reading, vol. 4: Brinna Michel

This week, we spoke to a librarian at Pitts whose work behind the scenes ensures that you can find the books and resources you need in our online catalog! Brinna Michael specializes in metadata, which describes and makes discoverable objects in the Digital Image Archive, church conference minutes, databases, online exhibitions, and more. This work is especially crucial as Emory students, faculty, and staff continue with remote learning and research.

Brinna’s first recommendation is I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. This “strange and heartwarming story” follows Ed Kennedy, an average cab driver who accidentally foils a bank robbery and ends up being launched into an unexpected adventure of human connection and self-reflection. Brinna recommends this book for those looking for a “fun read that’s a little bit philosophical think-piece and a little bit telepathic fly on the shoulder of a person experiencing a continuous, low-level existential crisis.” This book is available online for Emory users, or you can find a copy at your local library!

Brinna’s second summer suggestion is Wolf 359, a podcast about humans (and sometimes sentient operating systems) being humans no matter where they are (even 7.8 lightyears away from Earth). The best description comes from the podcast’s site, “Wolf 359 is a radio drama in the tradition of Golden Age of Radio shows like Escape! and Suspense. Take one part space adventure, add one part character drama, mix in one part absurdist sitcom, and you get Wolf 359.” Brinna recommends this for those who want a “lighthearted and unique character-driven sitcom that hooks you in and drags you along for a dramatic and unexpectedly emotional ride.” This podcast is available on iTunes and Google play.

Next week we look forward to hearing from Dr. Elizabeth Corrie, Associate Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding and Director of the Religious Education Program! Looking for more recommendations? All summer reading blogposts are archived at pitts.emory.edu/blog.

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Summer Reading, vol. 3: Susan Hylen

This week we visit the library of Dr. Susan E. Hylen for summer reading recommendations! Dr. Hylen teaches courses in New Testament at Candler and in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, equipping students to become responsible interpreters of the biblical texts. She has authored books on the history of women in the New Testament and early church and on the Gospel of John, and her current research explores the social construction of gender in the early church period.

First, Dr. Hylan recommends The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahisi Coates, a New York Times best seller from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me. Coates’s novel brings the reader into the world of Harriett Tubman and the underground railroad from the perspective of an enslaved man, Hiram Walker. Dr. Hylen describes the publication as “imaginative and sorrowful, with beautiful language and insight” making it a great addition to any summer reading list. Find this audiobook in a local library near you on online for purchase.

Next, Dr. Hylan suggests Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. This coming of age story is set in the islands off the southwest coast of Florida following Ava Bigtree, an unforgettable young heroine who wrestles alligators. Find this “poignant reflection on home and family” online for Emory users or at your local library

While Dr. Hylen doesn’t often read non-fiction for pleasure, SPQR by Mary Beard is her exception and third recommendation. This “immensely readable” publication by a respected expert in the field covers Roman history from 27 B.C.E. to 212 C.E., roughly the period in which the New Testament and some of the earliest Christian sources were written. Hylen explains that it’s a “great introduction to the cultural and political background of early Christianity.” Find this book at your university library or online for purchase in a variety of formats! 

Finally, for a fun dive into actual Roman authors, Dr. Hylen enjoys the stories told by Valerius Maximus in Memorable Sayings and Doings. Part of the Harvard Press Loeb Classical Library, these are short tales of popular morality mostly grouped together topically, by virtue (or vice), and written during the time of Jesus. Dr. Hylen notes that these narratives are a “great way to gain insight into what people in the time of Jesus thought was exemplary.” She points out that  “some of the stories are strange, and some are funny, but they’re all short, so it’s easy to put it down and pick it up again if you have just a little time (or a short summer attention span).” Emory users can now access this publication online

Find the whole series of Summer Reading recommendations on the Librarians’ Blog, and stay tuned next week for more! 

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Pitts Closed for Memorial Day (Monday 5/25)

Pitts Theology Library will be closed on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day. The Library will resume its current operations and services on Tuesday, May 26. Happy Memorial Day!

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Summer Reading, vol. 2: Myron McGhee

This week, we spoke with Circulation Specialist Myron McGhee (’95T)! Myron has been a vital part of the Pitts staff for many years managing patron accounts, overseeing item loans, and more. As a Candler MDiv graduate himself, Myron has been a source of inspiration and support for generations of Candler students. 

Outside of the library, Myron is a man of many talents, from professional photography to music! Myron can not only play by ear, but also provide great reading/listening suggestions in the genre!

For this week’s Summer Reading issue, Myron suggests the audiobook Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor. The iconic singer songwriter marks the passage into his late 60s with a narrative reflection of the life experiences leading to his depiction on the cover of Time Magazine. Taylor is described as one of the most influential artists of the 1970s popular musical landscape to this day.  Interspersed with song-samples from select musical influences and several original compositions that emerged from his experiences, the audiobook offers both an insightful perspective for those only casually acquainted with the artist and an “affirmation for the diehard JT fan.” Myron suggests that this recording is “perfect for a slow walk through a park wearing your COVID-19 prevention mask.” 

 Break Shot is currently available as a free download with sign up to Audible’s free 30 day trial at https://www.audible.com/JamesTaylor!

Want more recommendations? Follow the Pitts Blog or sign up for the Pitts Prospectus email for new issues throughout the course of the summer intercession! 

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