Recommendations from the Humanities Division at MBU

September 6th is National Read a Book Day and we want to share some book recommendations from MBU’s humanities division! Check out our professors’ favorites below.

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien.


The cultural gap between the world of the Bible and ours grows wider each generation. If we want to understand Scripture properly, we need to read it like the original audience would have heard it. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes is a good introduction to some of the key differences between our worlds, covering such topics as individualism, honor and shame, race and ethnicity, the center of God’s will, and more.

Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America by Mary Paik Lee


Among many excellent books by Asian American authors, one stands out to me: Mary Paik Lee’s Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America(Ed. Sucheng Chan. U of Washington P, 1990). In addition to being an engaging autobiography, the book is a wonderful resource for the study of the first-generation Korean immigrant experience. Born in present-day North Korea in 1900, she came to the United States at the age of five and grew up in abject poverty. She worked at odd jobs, eventually attaining financial security and peace of mind. Quiet Odyssey is one of the two Asian American autobiographies that made me cry, the other being Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart: A Personal History (first published in 1946; republished by the U of Washington P, 1973).

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson


Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead follows a loose, epistolary structure. John Ames, the narrator, is an aging Congregationalist pastor who realizes his time is short; thus, he writes a final love-letter to his young son. Gilead encourages the reader to think deeply upon the topics of empathy, faith, personhood, and forgiveness as it follows Ames’s own journey toward accepting his namesake John “Jack” Boughton.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken


In his 1977 autobiography, A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken explores the topics of love, marriage and exploring his own faith. Vanauken narrates the beginning of his “pagan” love with his wife, the impact of their faith on their relationship, the struggle he faced when his idea of love collides with that of God’s, and how a friendship with C.S. Lewis provided the spiritual strength to endure life’s hard moments.

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