The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
“The Kite Runner is a powerful novel that intertwines human relationships of love, loyalty, jealousy, betrayal, and redemption, with historical and cultural insight into the Afghanistan that existed before the Russian invasion and after. You will not want to put it down until the last page is read!”
- Jill Oles, parent of both a Messiah alumni and a current student.
“The Kite Runner is a book about an Afghan boy, first in his homeland and then as a refugee. It shows some of the beauty of the culture with the festival of kites in contrast to the socioeconomic hierarchy during those early days. But the damage to the country and the people during war, immigration, and survival gave me much to ponder. Stimulating book with much to teach us about dilemmas of life that we haven’t ever experienced.”
- Wanda Heise ’71, a resident of Harrisburg, Pa., is the mother of a Messiah alumnus who is living and raising a family in the Middle East.
"Were this book not highly recommended by many friends, I would not have chosen to read about the horrific realities and repression of war in Afghanistan. I found much more to keep me riveted to my chair for hours without the awareness of time. Among them were the loyalty and betrayal of friendship, the humanity of the characters, the complexity of life and political events, and the haunting soul-searching which leads to a personal redemption.”
- Shirley Groff ’74, assistant to the dean of the School of the Humanities and the associate dean of general education and common learning, facilitates the women’s book club at Grantham Brethren in Christ Church and delights in arranging wedding flowers.
“This book was recommended to me at a peacemaking study at Grantham [Brethren in Christ] church. That week, I flew to Portland, Ore., and at the Chicago airport I bought the book for an interesting read for the flight. I read the first 100 pages on the flight and had an exciting time. I was glad to be informed about the country of Afghanistan and feel the plight of its people the last number of years. The book is intense and scary at times. I would recommended it to anyone who wants to know more about the Afghans.”
- Nancy Kreider MJ’50 graduated from Houghton College, served as a missionary teacher to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and is now living out retirement at Messiah Village.
The Hundred Secret Senses
by Amy Tan
“Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses is a fascinating book. When the main character, a woman with Asian heritage living in the United States, grows up with her half-sister from China, she develops an astounding awareness of the cultural differences. The journey of identity performs a powerful commentary on both the American and Chinese culture, hopefully pulling the reader into a questioning of his or her worldview. Full of laugh-out-loud hilarity and powerful insights, this book must be read with a pencil in hand to jot down thoughts and underline great quotes!”
- Beth Sanborn ’05 graduated with a degree in elementary education and now works as a church youth director.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
by Ann Brashares
“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a book about enduring friendship between four girls who have come across a pair of pants that seem to make them all look good, from the fullest figure to no figure. As they embark on a summer of separation, they make memories and stories in the pants and pass them to each “sister,” wherever she may be. With each endeavor of the pants, the girls become closer and the reader becomes absorbed in the lives of the girls and the love that they share.
- Greta Kiehl ’02 works in Pittsburgh for a nonprofit agency, managing and training AmeriCorps members to be tutors and mentors in schools and community-based organizations around Pittsburgh.
“This is an excellent book selection for anyone wanting an easy, but entertaining, novel. The four characters whose lives are narrated in this three-book series are developed in such a way that any reader can relate to the characters’ joy, fears, passions, and adventures. This is a captivating read. I found it very hard to put the book down!”
- Lisa McCaffrey, a junior Christian ministries major with a concentration in youth ministry, is enjoying her work this year as a residence assistant for Sollenberger Residence Hall.
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
“This is a story about Lily Owen, a 12-year-old girl who runs from an abusive father, searching for bits of knowledge about her dead mother. In an inspired depiction of character, Kidd includes a fierce black nanny to accompany Lily in her search, and three unique middle-aged black sisters to take them in. The evolution of Lily and her relationship with the women in her life leave you wishing for a sequel.”
- Mirian Eberly ’65 is enjoying her first year of retirement after teaching elementary school for 27 years in Indiana and Ohio. She plans to celebrate by taking a trip to Ireland and Scotland in September.
“A story of hope and healing, laughter and tears … Lily is taken in by a trio of beekeeping sisters and learns that family and love are sometimes found where they are least expected. This is a story that will warm your heart and leave you longing to know more of these wonderful characters. We chose this as the first book for our ‘mother-daughter’ book club, and I don’t think we could have made a better choice!”
- Lorrie Bennett ’79 works as a nurse anesthetist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Reaching Out: The Three Movements of Spiritual Life
by Henri Nouwen
“In Reaching Out, Nouwen, in his quiet way, brings to the reader thoughts about solitude and the importance of leaving time for God in our busy lives. He is able to take many of the adages about being busy and portrays them in a new light, and specifically in our understanding of rightly relating in relationships—with God, with others, and with self.”
- Gavin Baker is a senior business administration major and Messiah lacrosse player.
My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok
“Chaim Potok weaves the masterful tale of Asher Lev, an orthodox Jewish boy from Brooklyn who possess an extraordinary gift. As he comes of age, Asher Lev grapples with the tension between culture/tradition and vocation.”
- Alan Claassen Thrush ’02 is pursuing his Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Beth, enjoy reading to each other while they wash dishes.
Words Under the Words
by Naomi Shihab Nye
“Words Under the Words is a compilation of poems from other books by Naomi Shihab Nye. Her poetry is full of rich images from her travels, and her multi-ethnicity gives new perspective on ordinary objects, relationships, and places. The book gives powerful pictures of experiences that make us human.”
- Lisa Rieck ’02 lives in the Chicago suburbs and works as an editorial assistant at InterVarsity Press.