Amid the frazzled pace of kids' soccer games, church Fest-i-Fall outreach events, and preparations for two major holidays, Her.meneutics' regular writers have managed to squeeze in some pleasure reading. We've offered summer reading lists before, but the frenetic pace of fall may just mean you're needing some "beach" reading all the more. Enjoy - and make sure to add your own reading selections in the comments section!

A special thanks to CT editorial resident Morgan Feddes, who helped compile this list, and who added a selection of her own (hint: it's the basis for a cold-war spy thriller in theaters this December).

Michelle Van Loon
Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray and Still Loving My Neighbor, Jana Riess (2011)
There has been a rash of books written with the stunt-like theme of trying something new or different for a set period of time. These authors are usually hoping for deep wisdom or fresh direction in their lives. Jana Riess's memoir does just the opposite as she details her year immersed in auditioning spiritual disciplines, accompanied by reading of companion classics to illuminate her journey. She shares her struggles with disarming honesty and humor, and discovers that "a failed saint is still a saint."

Ruth MoonThere but for the, Ali Smith (2011)I'm reading this because it got a good New York Times review (original, I know), but also because I like the premise: "At a dinner party in the posh London suburb of Greenwich, Miles Garth suddenly leaves the table midway through the meal, locks himself in an upstairs room, and refuses to leave. An eclectic group of neighbors and friends slowly gathers around the house, and Miles's story is told from the points of view of four of them." ...

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