Earlier this year I founded a local chapter of Reading Liberally, a national “book club” that is part of a larger organization called Living Liberally. (We have a social chapter in our area, too: Drinking Liberally.) The book club meets once a month (in a bar, just to make it even more fun) to discuss books of interest to liberals–not just books we agree with, but books that will help us understand important issues.
For January we’re reading Founding Faith by Steven Waldman, co-founder of Beliefnet, about the real faith of our founding fathers and the real meaning of the separation of church and state. The basic premise–I’m not very far into it yet–seems to be that the Left and Right both misrepresent the religion of the founders and as a result don’t fully understand what the wall of separation is all about. I think we’ll have an excellent discussion. (January 27 at 6:30 pm at Irish Alley on Johnson Street in Staunton, VA.)
Over the year we’ve read a number of other books that brought us fine discussions: Agenda for a New Economy (David Korten), In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan), Half the Sky (Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn), Color Blind (Tim Wise), Mountains Beyond Mountains (Tracy Kidder), The Conscience of a Liberal (Paul Krugman), and Beyond Fundamentalism (Reza Aslan). It’s been a great year in reading.