Block 8, 2020 Chaplain’s Office Newsletter, Spotify, Book, & Movie Ideas

Here are a few ideas about books and movies. There are so many. These are just a few of many we thought to suggest.

Spotify Playlist

Other Spotify playlists

Movie Ideas

PBS Series

  • Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story
    Howard Thurman was among the most important religious figures of the 20th century. He mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, and his writings proved deeply influential for a generation of students taking nonviolent action to transform Jim Crow. This film explores this extraordinary teacher, poet and mystic's life.
  • Revolution of the Heart: the Dorothy Day Story
    Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement was a radical organizer and activist, who is currently on the path to sainthood. You will love this fascinating documentary about the movement she started and her strange and beautiful life. How could one person contain such multitudes?

Netflix Series/Movies

  • Never Have I Ever
    An article about the show: A teenage comedy created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher and with newcomer, Maitreya Ramakrishnan, as a rebellious high school sophomore Devi. Devi's is trying to navigate grief along with coming of age, being first generation, her race, sexuality, and religion. The show includes perhaps the first Ganesh Puja, Hindu ritual, in a major show series.
  • Unorthodox
    A German-American drama miniseries that debuted on Netflix on March 26, 2020. The series is loosely based on Deborah Feldman's 2012 autobiography Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. It is the first Netflix series to be primarily in Yiddish, which is significant. Individuals who are part of religious communities have many experiences; this show explores dynamics of one woman's religious experience.
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon is a modern day Mark Twain story, which shows the dignity of people on the margins including people with Down Syndrome. This movie is about two friends on the run, one with Down Syndrome, the other without.

Amazon Prime

  • A Hidden Life directed by the incredible Terrence Malik this film tells the story of Franz Jagerstatter, a daily Mass goer and farmer, with an 8th grade education when the Nazis came to power in his native Austria. Franz recognized their worldview as evil and was a conscientious objector at a time when Catholics were told it was okay to fight in an unjust war if you were forced to. Franz's witness has radically shaped Catholic Social Thought and continues to challenge us all to live by our consciences no matter the cost.
  • Jinn explores the intersections of faith, race, and sexuality through the life of seventeen year-old Summer who explores conversion to the Muslim faith. It is rare to come across a film that explores wrestling with faith, family, and coming of age so skillfully. Director and producer Nijla Mumin's film which gives voice to a Black Muslim experience and to a young women's spiritual experiences, which is rare in the media.
  • Whale Rider is based on Witi Ihimaera's book, the Whale Rider is a beautiful movie about a Māori girl, Piakea who challenges tradition and embraces the past in order to find strength, resilience, and the ability to help lead her whanua/family forward.

Here are a few books/audiobooks we thought might be interesting to the community

Spiritually Reflective

  • When Things Fall A Part: Heart Advice for Difficult Times - Pema Chödrön
    This is a powerful book that explores questions around how we can live our lives when things seem like they are, or have, fallen apart. Chödrön shares wisdom and insights from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, tools, to help us on our life journey.
  • At Home in the Muddy Waters: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos - Exra Bayda
    This book applies Buddhist Zen teachings to a variety of topics, focusing on one of the key practices of spiritual life: the choice and willingness to be open to whatever might present itself in our lives. This holds true even if what presents muddies the water. Bayda shows us that we have what we need right now to practice living in muddy waters and that peace and fulfillment is present with us right now even in the muddy waters no matter what our circumstances might be.
  • In the Shelter: Finding Home in the World - Pádraig Ó'Tuama In the Shelter is a beautiful poetic spiritual memoir by poet, storyteller, and Christian theologian Pádriag Ó'Tuama that weaves together the idea of home and shelter with welcome and life. He does this by telling part of his own spiritual journey and when he encounters biblical stories and experiences of shelter and welcome in his own life as a gay, Catholic, man in both the Republic of Ireland and in N.Ireland. Pádriag served for five years as leader of the Corrymeela Reconciliation Community in Northern Ireland.

Picture Books (relevant to ALL of us)

  • Pete the Cat: I love My White Shoes - Eric Litwin
    An amazing book for people of all ages about practicing acceptance, and what comes.
  • Poems To Dream Together/Poemas Para Soñar Juntos - Francisco X. Alarcón
    A beautiful book of bilingual poetry and illustrations celebrating community, family and the power of imagination.
  • Sacred Places - Jane Yolen
    A gorgeously illustrated book of poems and illustrations of sacred places place from Easter Island to the Ganga, to the Mayan temple of Copán to Jerusalem's wailing wall and Mecca.


Each of these books of poems is beautiful and rich, the poet giving voice to their truth. Themes of spirit, nature, politics - personal as political, justice, love among others move through these poems. Poetry has the gift of naming what we can't always name. We hope you enjoy some of these poets.

  • The August Sleep Walker - Bei Dao(Zhao Zhenkai)
  • Prayers Like Shoes - Ruth Forman
  • Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems - June Jordan
  • Devotions - Mary Oliver
  • Rose - Li-Young Lee
  • E-mails from Scheherazad - Mojah Khaf
  • Love Poems to God: 12 Sacred Voices from the East and West - Daniel Ladinsky, trans.
  • Deep River Talk: Collected Poems - Hone Tuwhare
  • Shakespeare (too many choices!)

Fiction (if you have suggestions, let us know)

  • The House of the Spirits/La Casa De los Espiritus - Isabel Allende
  • Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith - Gina Nahai
  • Joy Comes in the Morning - Jonathen Rosen
  • Deep River - Shusako Endo
  • Dress Your Family in Courdory and Denim - David Sedaris

When times are tough laughter is even more essential. Great for reading aloud to others or listening to on Audible or through your public library as well.

  • H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald
    A brilliant memoir about how one woman's grief leads her to train and hunt with a goshawk.
  • The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown - Catherine Burns
    Live storytelling on stage of true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown adapted to book form.
  • Brave Enough - Cheryl Stayed
    Quotes from the author on a wide range of her writing that illustrate her wisdom, humor, courage, and spirit.
  • Love Warrior - Glendon Doyle

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020