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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Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection Research Fellows, 2020-2021

Pitts Theology Library is excited to announce the second cohort of Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection Research Fellows. These three scholars were selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will conduct year-long research projects on items in the Kessler Collection, producing essays and curating digital exhibitions.

Alyssa Lehr Evans is a doctoral candidate in History at Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ). As a recipient of both Fulbright and DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) Research Fellowships, she studied at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and worked as a member of the Karlstadt Critical Edition team in Germany from 2015-2017. Her dissertation focuses on Karlstadt’s writings from 1517-1519, especially his commentary on Augustine’s de spiritu et litera, and understanding Karlstadt’s early development as a reformer. Alyssa is looking forward to working with the Collection’s many Karlstadt prints as a Kessler Fellow, including his Apologeticae Conclusiones (1518) and De legis litera, sive carne, & spiritu (1524).

Drew Thomas is a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of History at University College Dublin. He works on a digital humanities applying machine learning and image recognition software to woodcut illustrations and ornamentation in books from the early modern Holy Roman Empire. He received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Louis University, master’s from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in history from the University of St Andrews in Scotland with a dissertation focusing on the printing industry in Wittenberg during Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. His research at the Pitts Theology Library investigates contemporary counterfeits of Luther’s writings and their later reception by libraries and book collectors. You can follow him on Twitter at @DrewBThomas.

Edmund Wareham is the Cowdrey Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow in History at St Edmund Hall in Oxford. He undertook undergraduate and graduate studies in History and German at Jesus College in Oxford and the universities of Trier and Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany. His doctorate was an in-depth study of the Cistercian convent of Günterstal, near Freiburg, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He then became a Postdoctoral Research Associate on ‘The Nuns’ Network’ project, which is editing a collection of 1,800 letters from the Benedictine convent of Lüne dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He is very excited by the opportunity to work with the Kessler collection to develop a project on ‘Making and Breaking Vows in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany’.

On behalf of the Pitts Theology Library staff, we extend a warm welcome to these promising fellows and look forward to the impacts they will have on the library’s special collections!

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Summer Reading, vol. 1: Ann McShane

This week, Pitts launches its Summer Reading Series for 2020, bringing you recommendations for books, podcasts, videos, and more from library and Candler staff and faculty during the intercession. We begin this year’s series with suggestions from Ann McShane, Project Digital Asset Librarian. Ann plays an important part in preparing the library’s collections for digital access in online exhibitions, repositories, and more! She starts us off with two summer reads that are near and dear to her personal library. 

First, Ann recommends Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which she calls “a lovely book about the relationship between plants and people.” This New York Times and Washington Post Best Seller is a passionate testament to the natural world enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous peoples, synthesizing an objective scientific approach with mythic and sacred dimensions. This title is available as an online e-book and in print at Emory libraries.

Second, Ann suggests Jon Bois’ “17776, What Football Will Look Like in the Future,” an online resource that can only be described as “a joyful little speculative-fiction-short-story-slash-multimedia-thing.” Published through SB Nation, this series set in the distant future follows three space probes that have gained sentience and watch humanity play an evolved form of American football in which games can be played for millennia over distances of thousands of miles. Debuting in 2017, “17776” incorporates text, animated GIF and still images, and videos hosted on YouTube. Give this “goofy” must-read a go for free online!

Stay tuned for many recommendations to come as we move into the summer intercession!

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Returning Library Materials

Effective immediately, all due dates for materials currently on loan from any Emory library will be extended through September 1, 2020. Patrons are asked to keep any items now in their possession until further notice. All fines and late fees incurred between March 11th and September 1st will be waived.  

In the event you need to return materials prior to the reopening of Emory Libraries, please reference the following guidelines: 

  • If you are in the Atlanta area, we advise you to use the book drop at Pitts Theology Library (Directions) located outside the 2nd floor entrance of the Rita Anne Rollins Building, near the Chemistry building. 

  • If you are returning equipment, or more than 50 books at once, please email theologycirc [at] emory [dot] edu in advance of returning the items to arrange for a no-contact drop off appointment.  

  • If you have already departed the Atlanta area, you may self-ship the items using a courier of your choice that offers package tracking capabilities. Please be sure to include your name and contact information and use the following physical addresses to ensure delivery:  

Attn: Circulation Department 
Pitts Theology Library 
1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560 
Atlanta, GA 30322 

If you reside outside of the Atlanta area and face a financial hardship that impacts your ability to return library materials, please complete the following Request for Assistance form and a staff member will be in touch to discuss assistance available for the return of library materials. 

If you have any questions about your library account, please email theologycirc [at] emory [dot] edu or leave a message at 404.727.4166. 

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Faculty Acquisitions for 2020

Pitts Theology Library is celebrating the careers of retiring Candler professors Steve Kraftchick and Karen Scheib with two new rare book acquisitions. For the past several years, Pitts has acquired rare books on the occasion of faculty retirements, books related to the careers and contributions of these incredible scholars. This year, both acquisitions fall within the Pitts incunable collection, a term used to describe books printed in Europe before the year 1501.

To celebrate Steve Kraftchick, Pitts has acquired a 1496 printing of Raymond of Sabunde’s Theologia naturalis, which argues that the God’s revelation is manifest in nature as well as in the Bible.

To celebrate Karen Scheib, Pitts has acquired a 1500 printing of the Stella clericorum, a popular medieval handbook on pastoral care. Learn more about and see images of these important and beautiful works at http://pitts.emory.edu/retirements.

Congratulations, Professors Kraftchick and Scheib!

1496 printing of Raymond of Sabunde’s “Theologia naturalis”

1500 printing of the “Stella clericorum”

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