Summer is upon us, which means a little extra time for leisure reading as some people prepare for extended vacations, college students get a respite from required readings, and, in general, people just make room to catch up on all the reading that they couldn’t do earlier in the year. We here are and Urban Ministries, Inc., are happy to share what we are reading in hopes that it will give you insight into what we’re reading and contribute to the books you might be able to add to your list. Check our list out and feel free to share with us what you are reading this summer.

saturate-resizeMy book for the summer is “Saturate” by Jeff Vanderstelt. I found out about this book as I’ve been on a personal journey to discover the best discipleship practices and how to make church more than just a once a week thing. Recently I have had my eye on Soma Communities which Jeff leads as a new form of church in Tacoma, WA and saw that he wrote this book Saturate. I want to read this book because it promises to show how, as a believer, you can integrate your faith into everyday life. –Ramon Mayo, Content Specialist, Adult Media Development


In the book “Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders“, author Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, explains that agape love can be the foundation on which a successful organization thrives. Describing examples and life lessons that he experienced first-hand, Manby takes the reader through 7 time-tested principles of agape love which are: patience, kindness, trust, selflessness, truth, forgiveness, and dedication. It’s a great read that helps those in leadership roles change the way they lead by implementing love as a foundation for every communication, every decision, and every relationship. This book can help you move the emotion of love into intentional action that can help motivate employees to be passionate and caring about the work they do. –Janet Grier, Director of Youth & Children’s Media Content

thewarmthofothersuns-imageI am looking forward to and have already started reading the national bestseller “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson. This book was brought to my attention by one of my high school friends, with excitement because Shondra Rhimes is adopting a mini-series of the book for FOX. I am always one to read before I watch, so I wanted to get into it.  -Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Contributing Writer

godsbattleplan-resizeAs part of my efforts to intensify my spiritual life, I’m reading “God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation,” by David W. Saxton. Concerned about the too-often superficiality of Christian lives, chiefly my own, I wanted to learn more about this spiritual discipline in which we’re admonished by scripture to regularly engage. Saxton teaches and encourages through his meticulous survey of Puritan beliefs and practices regarding meditation. –Chandra White Cummings, Contributing Writer

Cartozia Talescartoziatales-resize, edited by Isaac Cates, is a self-published fantasy comic book anthology series featuring otter girls, bears with masks, talking crows, and upside-down men. The stories all take place in the land of Cartozia, with different creators setting tales in different parts of the map every issue. The result is a gently whimsical, quietly manic hodge-podge suitable for children of every age who would rather rescue mechanical wind-up men than marry the prince. The seventh issue is out this spring; I’m looking forward to reading them all in short bursts of cartoon goofiness amidst summer excursions. –Noah Berlatsky, Contributing Writer

joshuasbible-resizeI am finishing a historical fiction book entitled “Joshua’s Bible.” It is the account of an African-American missionary that left America to serve in South Africa during the pre-World War II days. I am finding it useful in understanding certain African traditions–it explains many of them. I am coming away with a different mindset from the characterizations that white missionaries portray of African life and the way they categorize all African traditions as demonic because they do not understand them. The African-American missionary ends up falling in love and marrying an African woman and fighting for African justice. -Melvin Banks, Founder and Chairman of Urban Ministries, Inc.

theroadtocharacter-imageI am reading “The Road to Character” by David Brooks. The book is about developing what Brooks calls the “eulogy virtues,” “the character strengths for which we would like to be remembered,” over the resume virtues, those that our society works harder at developing for short-term goals. I discovered this book through a New York Times excerpt of the book that, essentially, blew my mind and convicted me about the virtues I am nurturing in my own life. –Nicole Symmonds, Managing Editor & Urban Faith magazine

unbroken-imageI love reading biographies of all types of people from a range of time periods. It opens a window into the perspectives of the past and the experiences of a variety of people. This summer I look forward to reading “Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the story of Louis Zamperini and was a #1 New York Times bestseller and named the top nonfiction book of 2010 by Time Magazine. Louis Zamperini was survivor of a brutal Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II, a Christian inspirational speaker, and an Olympic distance runner. In 2014 the book was made into movie by Universal Studios, but omits Zamperini’s fight against alcoholism and PTSD and his “Billy Graham-inspired” religious conversion. -Kathy McLeister, Archivist

magicoftidyingup-resizeIf you peek into my attic, you’ll find all sorts of gems that represent precious moments in raising my kids – photos, art projects, and the sweetest “I love you mom” cards. Cluttered alongside those treasures I’ve got piles of plain old “stuff” – toddler outfits grandma brought back from China, graded quizzes and tests, Halloween candy carriers, old baseball uniforms, and more. Enough. It’s time to pickup, purge, and put things in their proper place. This summer, Marie Kondo is going to help me do it with her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” She’ll show me how to only keep things that “spark joy” and pitch the rest! –Shari Noland, Chief Content Development Officer

generationofcurses-resizeAs a lover of pop culture and someone who is always striving for self-improvement, I tend to spend the little free time I do have reading the latest self-help books and autobiographies by some of my favorite celebrities. However, I vowed that this summer would be different. Instead, I have opted to go to my local bookstore and find juicy, fictional page-turners, starting with “A Generation of Curses,” an urban-Christian novel by Faatima Albasir-Johnson and Patricia Bridewell. It’s a story about Khadesia Hill, a mom and wife of a megachurch pastor-elect who seems to have it all together, until things from her past comes back to haunt her. Aside from being entertaining, there seems to be at least one character in the novel that we can all relate to, and I certainly look forward to having a good read to kick off the summer. –Amber Travis, Social Media Specialist

Happy reading this summer!

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