Summer Reading, vol. 5: Bo Adams

Thanks for joining us for the fifth installment of our summer reading series! This week, we spoke with Bo Adams, Head of Public Services and Reference and Systems Librarian at Pitts. This means that Bo manages the front-facing side of library operations, including the reference and circulation teams.  In addition to holding a PhD in New Testament from Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, he also has a background in computer science that helps him run the many library systems and certainly influenced his final book suggestion.

First on Bo’s list is a short but sweet read on the act of reading itself: Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford UP, 2011). Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. According to Bo, this text “invites readers to reflect on the benefits of the physical act of reading, which extend far beyond the information one may learn from a book.” Although this might lead some to shun new gadgets in favor of older reading technologies, Bo suggests the goal is really to “be intentional in finding times of solitude, reflection, and joy that are often lost in the digital age.” Perhaps most importantly, Jacobs’ exhortation to “Read what gives you delight—at least most of the time—and do so without shame,” may be a helpful reminder to seminary students faced with long reading lists in the coming semester!

Second, we would be remiss if we didn’t add at least one reading suggestion that honored 2017, the 500th anniversary year of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses. Among the many excellent options in this field, Bo particularly suggests Andrew Petegree’s Brand Luther (Penguin, 2015).  In addition to being a readable account of this fascinating period, Petegree’s work focuses on the vital role that printing and publishing played in the spread of Luther’s ideas. As Bo says, “it provides a history of the Reformation that doesn’t read like a history of the Reformation!”

Finally, for the tech nerds among us, Bo is just finishing up this biography of Alan Turing: The Man Who Knew too Much, Alan Turing and the Inventing of the Computer, by David Leavitt. You may have watched the “Imitation Game” movie, but this biography will delve deeper into the scientific and mathematical genius behind Turing’s many achievements. Be forewarned, there is lots of math in this read, but it is well worth the effort!

Thanks Bo, and stay tuned next week for suggestions from Dr. Jehu Hanciles, D.W and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity at Candler!

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Summer Reading, vol. 4: Anne Marie McLean

This week we sat down with Anne Marie McLean, the InterLibrary Loan and Document Delivery Specialist at Pitts. If you ever need a book or article that Pitts doesn’t own, Anne Marie is the hero who finds the item and ensures that it makes its way to you! You’ve also probably seen her smiling face at the circulation desk. In her time as a Candler MTS student (graduating in 2016), Anne Marie focused on Qur’anic studies—these suggestions for your summer reading reflect her academic and vocational interests!

First up, Anne Marie suggests Michael Philip Penn’s sourcebook “When Christians First Met Muslims” (2015). Penn, a professor at Mt. Holyoke College, has collected and translated a number of pieces written by the Syriac Christians in Northern Mesopotamia who first came into contact with Islam. These primary sources (including letters, treatises, histories, and works of exegesis) are a fascinating window into the earliest conversations between Christianity and Islam. Penn’s engaging introduction and robust introductory material added to each new text makes these writings accessible for academics as well as any other interested readers.     

If you’re in the mood for a narrative, Anne Marie has additional suggestions! Lovers of historical fiction should absolutely pick up Palace Walk, the first book in Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy. These novels follow three generations of a merchant family in colonial Egypt, spanning the years from the 1920s to the 1940s. This family history is inextricably intertwined with the history of Egypt itself, and each of the three novels chronicles a new step in this historical drama. In the same vein, Anne Marie also suggests the non-fiction “City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa,” written by Adam LeBor. Building on memoirs, diaries, letters, and interviews, LeBor constructs an intimate story of contemporary life in an ancient city. Both works are a great way to engage the complicated history of the Middle East, and each weaves politics, religion, and family life into an evocative picture of the region.

Thank you for these wonderful suggestions Anne Marie! Stay tuned next week for suggestions from Bo Adams, Head of Public Services at Pitts.


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Summer Reading, vol. 3: Ed Phillips

We hope you had a splendid Memorial Day last week, perhaps snuggled up with some of our book suggestions! This week, we spoke with Dr. Ed Phillips, Associate Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at Candler, who also serves as the Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology.

First up, Dr. Phillips suggests Daniel Kahneman’s NY Times Bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). Dr. Kahneman is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, and, despite being a psychologist, actually received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. This particular book explores both our involuntary, or “fast,” thinking alongside our more deliberate and “slow” decision making, suggesting ways that these two systems impact both groups and individuals. According to Dr. Phillips, this is an “absolutely fascinating, readable description of scientific studies in social psychology that has huge ramifications for leadership in ministry—it’s not a ‘church’ book, but it’s one all pastors should read.”

Second, Dr. Phillips suggest a new volume by Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth, entitled  Lovin’ on Jesus:  A Concise History of Contemporary Worship (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2017). This text, hot off the press, will soon arrive at Pitts! The authors decided to organize their work thematically, addressing topics like the “space” and “time” of Contemporary Worship, as well as music, prayer, and preaching. The book’s style should be appealing to academics as well as students and pastors, and Dr. Phillips has declared it “a tour de force of historical and phenomenological analysis”! Dr. Phillips plans on using this book in his worship classes at Candler, and hopes you will consider picking it up as well.

Stay tuned for next week’s summer reading suggestions from Pitts InterLibrary Loan Specialist, Anne Marie McLean!

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Summer Reading, vol. 2: Jenny Vitti

Welcome back to our summer reading series! This week, we spoke to one of our staff members here at Pitts: Reserves and Stacks Specialist Jenny Vitti! If you’re a member of the Candler community, you will know that Jenny is responsible for making sure all your course readings are available, both online and at the circulation desk. As such, she has a front row seat to the new materials suggested by Candler faculty. This summer, she has chosen to read some of the novels that were assigned in courses this spring!

Jenny found two fascinating novels among the assignments for Dr. Gregory Ellison II’s most recent course, “Pastoral Care of Adolescents” (PC 630). The first, “Perfect Peace” by Daniel Black, was assigned for a class discussion about counseling youth on sexuality, with a specific focus on caring for GLBTQII adolescents. This novel, one of six by Dr. Black, explores the story of a mother’s decision to raise her seventh son as a daughter.  Dr. Ellison also assigned “Good Enough,” by Paula Yoo, which follows a Korean-American teenager as she applies for college and navigates the maze of societal and familial expectations for her success.

Jenny also hopes to read “Home of the Brave” by Katherine Applegate, which Dr. Jehu Hanciles and Site Supervisor Jennifer Green included in their Friends of Refugees Contextual Education I course. This novel is written from the perspective of a young Sudanese refugee in Minnesota, whose thoughts are relayed in stanzas—an innovative novel in poetic format!

Additionally, Jenny’s summer reading will “focus on new literature (published at some point in 2017) written by women of color,” using a list provided in this Electric Literature blog post as a guide. Jenny is “thrilled about basically everything on the list” and has already started reading one of the suggestions: “Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember” by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. This short story collection is comprised of journal entries written by Lee after she suffered a stroke in 2006. The stories move between the past and the present as Lee attempts to rediscover her identity in the wake of memory loss.

Thanks for all these wonderful suggestions, Jenny– and readers, stay tuned for more exciting summer reading suggestions from Dr. Ed Phillips next week!


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Pitts Closed for Memorial Day (Monday 5/29)

The Pitts Theology Library will be closed on Monday, May 29th, in observance of Memorial Day. The Library will re-open at 7:30am on Tuesday, May 30th. To see a list of all library hours, visit Happy Memorial Day!

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Summer Reading, vol. 1: Brent Strawn

Congratulations to the Emory and Candler communities on a stellar year— and particular congratulations to students in the Class of 2017! Whether you are headed to a new job, new school, or a well-deserved vacation, Pitts has polled faculty and staff to find the perfect books to keep you company.

For our first entry, we spoke to Dr. Brent Strawn, Professor of Old Testament and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Candler. First on Dr. Strawn’s list is Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, which provides wide-reaching and insightful advice for seminarians, including those new to the field. In addition to this short and sweet volume, Dr. Strawn also suggests the C.S Lewis classic The Great Divorce. Dr. Strawn tries to reread both of these works every year despite his busy schedule.

As a final suggestion, Dr. Strawn recommends Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. Nouwen wrote this slim volume during his tenure as a priest at Daybreak, a L’Arche community. In his own words, Nouwen hoped to explain, “how I live from day to day after having spoken for twenty years to young men and women preparing themselves for ministry” (Prologue). We absolutely agree with Dr. Strawn’s recommendation of this “inspiring” book! Nouwen’s thoughts on bridging the gap between the academic study of theology and the lived experience of ministry have particular significance to all of us who are a part of the Candler community.

Last, but not least, since Dr. Strawn was too modest to add any of his own publications to this list, we will go ahead and brag for him! Dr. Strawn’s newest book, “The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment” came out earlier this year. We would highly recommend this timely monograph, which urges contemporary Christians to study the Old Testament (and study it well), mining this rich resource for new life in the church!

Many thanks to Dr. Strawn for his wonderful suggestions– stay tuned for more faculty and staff summer reading ideas in the upcoming months!

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Congratulations Grads, Now Alums!

Pitts would like to congratulate all the new Emory graduates! As new alums of Emory, you still have access to Pitts, and we hope you will continue to use the library. Visit to learn about how you can still borrow books, access alumni databases, and work with our reference librarians.

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Pitts Summer Hours

Starting on Wednesday, May 3rd, the Pitts Theology Library will shift to its summer hours. The Library will be open Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 5:00pm, and closed on all weekends. For a full listing of library hours, including holidays and exceptions, visit Enjoy your summer!

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Finals at the Pitts Theology Library

As Candler and Emory enter the Reading Period (4/24-4/27) and Final Exams (4/28-5/3), we wish students the best with their work. During this time, Pitts will be open extended hours (, and we encourage all patrons to make the library a quiet, clean, and hospitable place to work ( If you have any questions, or if our librarians can help with those final projects, please let us know! Good luck!

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Finals on the Horizon!

From Monday 4/24 through Tuesday 5/2, Pitts Theology Library will extend its hours. Opening hours will stay the same, but the Library will stay open additional hours at night. For full hours, please visit Note that the building locks soon after the library closes, so all students will need to leave the Candler School of Theology building complex when the library closes. There are other 24-hour study spaces on campus, particularly the Woodruff Library (

During this time, we will also be a silent study space, so please take any conversations outside of the library. Additionally, the third floor classrooms will be open to accommodate extra study space, so be sure to check there for a quiet study spot! If you’re in need of collaborative study space, you can book a group study room at

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