St. Matthew’s Book Club is open to all interested readers and meets monthly in the Church library or Classroom C on the third Thursday of the month. Our reading selections offer a way to explore books through fellowship and discussion and are led by a different parishioner each month. Our discussions are lively and have been thought provoking and enlightening.
Contact Holly Weise (609-737-1064) for more information or suggestions.
All are welcome! If you are attending for the first time, please call Holly to confirm the date. The dates and selections appear below and usually appear in the Sunday bulletin and monthly newsletter.
Click on a title/author below for the Amazon.com web page
All meetings are in the library on Thursdays at 10:00 am. We fluctuate between the third and fourth Thursdays of the month, depending on when the library is available.
Why Religion? by Elaine Pagels
Thursday, Apr 18 10:00 am
Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.
These questions took on a new urgency for Pagels when dealing with unimaginable loss—the death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband. Here she interweaves a personal story with the work that she loves, illuminating how, for better and worse, religious traditions have shaped how we understand ourselves; how we relate to one another; and, most importantly, how to get through the most difficult challenges we face.
Drawing upon the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and historians, as well as her own research, Pagels opens unexpected ways of understanding persistent religious aspects of our culture. A provocative and deeply moving account from one of the most compelling religious thinkers at work today, Why Religion? explores the spiritual dimension of human experience.
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
Thursday, Apr 18 10:00 am
In one beautifully observed, quietly absorbing novel after another, Alice McDermott has made the insular world of New York's Irish Catholic immigrants in the first half of the 20th century her own, much as Anne Tyler has laid claim to Baltimore's middle class. And, like Tyler, in focusing tightly on a close-knit community of ordinary people, she leads us to a deeper understanding of the human condition.
The Ninth Hour, McDermott's eighth novel, is about an order of nursing nuns and the needy families, elderly shut-ins, disabled invalids and strapped widows they care for in a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor are not the cruel knuckle-rappers that dominate parochial school fiction. The unpaid, unlicensed equivalent of social workers and visiting nurses, they trudge from one derelict walkup to another, bearing applesauce, poultices, and aspirin. They change sheets, diapers, and bedpans, scrub homes and wipe bottoms. They may toil thanklessly and view their mission as "the pure, clean antidote to filth, to pain," but McDermott makes one thing clear as she burrows deep into these Sisters' psyches, histories and not always sanctioned behavior: They are distinct, opinionated individuals underneath their impersonal habits. Despite their vision-blocking bonnets, they see everything, including the ugly side of humanity — nasty, drunken husbands, a brother who abuses his sisters, a whining, ungrateful invalid, and greedy priests who live in relative comfort while taking credit for their ceaseless labors. But they are also willing to look the other way and flout Church rules and moral edicts when they see fit.