If a book be false in its facts, disprove them;
if false in its reasoning, refute it.
But for God s sake, let us freely hear both sides if we choose.
 - Thomas Jefferson

What are Dramatic Readings?

We've been compiling lists of reading materials which have inspired discussions or sermon topics and we will be posting them here. 

Want to add any of these titles to your personal collection?
Click on the title - if it is available from Amazon.com, you can purchase the title online and Amazon will automatically rebate a small percentage of your purchases to our church. Have a title you want to share? Please send it to email@oakcliffuu.org

In additional to titles mentioned in our services and suggested by our Ministers and Members, we have titles related to several of our special interest groups. These include books mentioned in our "Conversations" blog, the Common Threads Fiber Arts Covenant Group and our Green Sanctuary Project. We also have titles associated with our First Tuesday Social Action Film Festival.

Spanish for Gringos Level 1: Learn Spoken Spanish Without Taking a Course
(Barron's Educational Series)

This popular and informal self-instruction program is a quick and easy way to pick up informal, practical Spanish without having to memorize tedious rules. It is designed for English-speakers who are in regular contact with Hispanics and need to communicate with them for both work purposes and social situations.

Selections from our the "UU Page Turners Book Club" (Reading & Discussion Group) and Newsletter:

The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West take the next step in a journey that began with “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience.” Smiley and West’s 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it’s too late.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Beah was among the lucky children who, at 15, was rescued from war torn Sierra Leone. He came to the United States when he was seventeen, graduated from Oberlin College and is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division Advisory Committee. His story is intense.

Courtesans: Money, Sex and Fame in the Nineteenth Century
Katie Hickman chronicles the lives of five English courtesans of that era in an historical, interesting, entertaining, and non-prurient manner.

Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell argues in Outliers that many factors contribute to the success of individuals and their undertaking

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
How did we become a nation at war, a nation that glorifies war, a nation constantly prepared for another war? The US went from Thomas Jefferson’s opposition to “. . . a standing army in a time of peace” to having “a legal right and a moral duty” to help resist communism in our hemisphere, as pronounced by President Ronald Reagan, and an army, air force, navy, and marine corps that is continuously standing and too often fighting on foreign soil.

Ascent To Truth by Thomas Merton
“…defines Christian mysticism… and offers the contemplative experience as an answer to the irreligion and barbarism of our times.”

Rebuild the Dream by Van Jones
Part memoir, part manifesto, … offers a moving, powerful game plan for restoring hope to American’s economy.”

The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
By Cornell West and Tavis Smiley — “. . . ending poverty is sure to emerge as the defining civil rights struggle of America’s 21st century.”

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (EMH), by John Perkins is really two stories in one. The author was a Peace Corp volunteer in Ecuador from 1968 to 1970. Seduced by sex and money, Perkins became an economic hit man for an international US based corporation. In this role, he convinced third world countries of the need to develop infrastructures they did not need and pay for them with more borrowed money than the projects were worth. When the promised economic development from those improvements were not realized and the countries could not pay their debts, their natural resources were confiscated along with that country’s military and political support. When he left that corporation, he founded an alternative energy company and was convinced that its success was a reward for keeping silence about his previous experiences as an EHM.

Rebuild the Dream by Van Jones
Van Jones started out as an environmental activist. He was recruited by the White House but resigned after a few months to reduce the distraction caused by Glenn Beck—but is now back in full force. Jones critically reviews what he sees as the failure not only of the administration but of those who helped elected that administration.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
This 1966 science fiction novel about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth is widely admired for its credible presentation of a comprehensively imagined future human society on both the Earth and the moon.

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
While restoring an old plantation tavern, Kathleen Grissom discovered a map with the notation “Negro Hill.” This inspired her to continue researching the era, resulting in The Kitchen House, her first book, a historical novel about the emotional turmoil this peculiar institution created for her fictional family, as narrated by Lavinia and Belle.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This novel examines the fate of three women during the early 1960s in Mississippi. Through Aibileen and Minny we learn what it was like to be black maids and how they were treated—and mistreated—by their employers. From Skeeter, a white woman, we learn the dangers of questioning the status quo.

Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols
Illustrated throughout with revealing images, this is the first and only work in which the world-famous Swiss psychologist explains to the layperson his enormously influential theory of symbolism as revealed in dreams.

Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture
"…simply going vegetarian would reduce the average American’s carbon footprint by over 1.5 tons of carbon per year," observes Thom Hartmann in his 2009 book Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, as he examines the failure of modern thinking in respect to the environment, the economy, and the population.

The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-first Century
Delving into the complex, troubling, and sometimes humorous contradictions, illusions, and realities of contemporary wifehood, this book takes the reader on a journey into the wedding industrial complex.

The Moral Center: How Progressives Can Unite America Around Our Shared Values
Author David Callahan, "new liberal with old values," believes most Americans share many of the same values. Based on research, extensive interviews and studies, Callahan argues there is polarization between the Cares (those who worry about the spread of self-interested behavior and the misfortunes of others and want to do something about it) and the Care-Nots (who are insular and self-absorbed.) There are Cares on both sides of the Culture Wars who need to find a way of working together to reach common goals.

The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources
The book is entitled The Soul of Money, but it is really about our own soul and how and why we often eclipse it, dismiss it, or compromise it in our relationship with money; the way we get money, give money, and or sometimes just try to avoid thinking about money....

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time
Reviewed by Judy Watkins in our February issue of the Oak Leaf Newsletter. The book is chock full of one-paragraph suggestions on saving money and the planet while at home (without reverting to Neanderthal habitats), in the office, and while traveling. An easy, entertaining read, the book is amusing and informative. How various suggestions impact your budget and/or the environment are explained.

The Jungle
"I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." - Upton Sinclair, referencing The Jungle, published in 1906, about Chicago’s “Back of the Yards” stockyards. Over 100 years old, this novel shows that everything old is new again except, hopefully, hearts and heads are getting involved.

Genocide and Rescue: The Holocaust in Hungary 1944
Drawing on new sources, leading scholars address a number of controversial issues and shed new light on a shameful period in history.

Selections for Deepening Group on Grief:

No Time For Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death

How to Survive the Loss of a Love

Beyond Sympathy: What to Say and Do for Someone Suffering an Injury, Illness or Loss

Journaling Through Loss to Transformation: A Guided Approach to Understanding Grief

Selections from our Ministers and Members:

Strength to Love
Mentioned by Rachel Betzen in the Social Justice Ministry Sermon presented on Jan. 22, 2012. This is a collection of sermons delivered by Rev. Martin Luther King.

Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home
Mentioned by Paul Williams in his presentation on communications, this insightful guide is also available at Half-Price Books.

Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times:
Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What

Peter L. Steinke provides a very insightful approach to dealing with anxiety and working through the complex challenges that can lead a congregation to new insights, growth, and vitality.

The Universe in a Single Atom:
The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama examines the relationship between contemporary Buddhist thought and Western science.

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens illustrates what happens when faith is unchallenged by reason.

The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III
Mentioned by Rev. Mark Walz in his sermon on January 3rd, 2010, this book looks to the events of Lakota warrior Crazy Horse's life for four principles of leadership: Know Yourself, Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies and Take the Lead.

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou
One of Maya Angelou's most moving and powerful poems.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell has quite a few interesting twists on the theory of memetics - the concept that ideas, products, messages and behaviors spread like viruses.

Leading Change in the Congregation: Spiritual & Organizational Tools for Leaders by Gilbert R. Rendle
Gil Rendle pulls together theory, research, and his work with churches facing change to provide leaders with practical diagnostic models and tools. He provides a respectful context for understanding change, especially the experiences and resistances that people feel. Rendle In a time when change is the norm, this book helps to "lead change" in a spiritual and healthy way.

On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society by James Luther Adams
This collection of essays is a magnificent, original, and truly exciting analysis of the human condition, centered on the premise that in religiosity the individual aspect cannot be separated from the socio-historical. This collection can also be viewed online at Google Books by clicking here.

Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings of Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd brings her gift for illuminating the sacred in life's most ordinary moments to this collection of inspirational essays.

Omni-Science and the Human Destiny by Anthony Marr
Anthony Marr is an internationally recognized wildlife preservationist who has developed a new model of the Universe called Omniscientific Cosmology, which embraces all of the physical, biological and social sciences, and shows the optimal human destiny and fate of the Earth. He has a science degree from the University of British Columbia, has worked as a field geophysicist and as an environmental scientist and has been featured in the wildlife documentary series "Champions of the Wild." Anthony has also been a guest speaker at the UUCOC!

Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now by Rev. Rebecca Ann Parker
This collection of thought provoking essays is for anyone concerned with liberal religion, diversity, or issues of social justice.

The Female Brain by Louanne Brizendine, M.D.
Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, explores groundbreaking issues in brain science.

Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, and Emily Bronte by Maureen Adams
A tale of the canine companions who provided solace and inspiration, as well as becoming constant companions and bridges into human relationships for these famous writers.

Love & Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow by Forrest Church
Forrest Church, pastor of New York's All Souls Unitarian Church, is perhaps most comfortable speaking in sermons to his congregants and the readers of his many books, which may also be especially comforting now that he has received a veritable death sentence via terminal cancer. He uses several sermons to explore the bond humans have with death in relation to love.

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox
Readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list of words to describe Michael J. Fox: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served him throughout his struggle with Parkinson's disease.

One Jesus, Many Christs: The Truth About Christian Origins by Gregory J. Riley
An insightful portrayal of Jesus as a classical hero-martyr, by New Testament scholar Gregory Riley; a professor at Claremont College in California. He provides a good history of Greek and Jewish legends, along with the details of how they could have affected early Christian writers.

The Genesis of Justice : 10 Stories of Biblical Injustice That Led to the 10 Commandments and Modern Morality and Law by Alan M. Dershowitz
A Harvard Law School faculty member since 1964 and noted for representing controversial and unpopular clients, Dershowitz does a marvelous job of taking a religious text and examining it as a source of legal precedent both in sacred and secular terms.

Ethicurians and other food-related subjects:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

A few selections from our "Conversations" blog:

Buffalo Gal by Laura Pederson
The youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange and a millionaire by age 21. Pederson combines laugh-out-loud humor with a slice of social history and paints a vivid portrait of an era.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Goldberg brings a touch of both Zen and well... *eroticism* to her writing practice, the latter in exercises and anecdotes designed to ease you into your body, your whole spirit, while you create, the former in being where you are, working with what you have, and writing from the moment.

A few selections from our Common Threads Fiber Arts Covenant Group:

Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks
Excellent resource, chock full of solid advice, some fairly sound philosophy on the craft and some basic patterns for hats, scarves, stoles and socks. My stays in my knitting bag, not on my bookshelf :)

The First Man in Rome
First Man In Rome is the first in this marvelous, well-researched series of historical fiction.

The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges
Excellent book for making sweaters in many styles - plug in your measurements and go!

Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures
Great, easy patterns for home & people

A few selections from our Green Sanctuary Project:

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis by Al Gore
Our Choice gathers in one place all of the most effective solutions that are available now and that, together, will solve this crisis. It is meant to depoliticize the issue as much as possible and inspire readers to take action - not only on an individual basis but as participants in the political processes by which every country, and the world as a whole, makes the choice that now confronts us.

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Andrew S. Winston, Daniel C. Esty

Smart Green: How to Implement Sustainable Business Practices in Any Industry - and Make Money by Jonathan Estes

The Green Marketing Manifesto by John Grant

Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail: Hot Ideas That Are Grabbing Customers' Attention and Raising Profits by Neil Z. Stern

Clean Car Wars: How Honda and Toyota are Winning the Battle of the Eco-Friendly Autos by Yozo Hasegawa

Green Business Practices For Dummies by Lisa Swallow

Selections from the First Tuesday Social Action Film Festival

Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey M. Smith

Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating by Jeffrey M. Smith

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