Book Studies

About Book Studies

Regular book studies (Zoom and in-person) address topics of faith, justice, and peacemaking. Recent studies have focused on:

May 2022

CastE: The Origins of Our Discontents  

by Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson 
In this beautifully written, original, and revealing book, Isabel Wilkerson provides an eye-opening story of people and history and a re-examination of what lies under the surface in American life today.  Beyond race, class or other factors, a powerful caste system influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate.  Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, and stigma.  Using stories about historical figures and well as her own experience, she shows the ways that the undertow of caste is experienced every day.  She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-casting of the Jews; she discusses the cruel logic of caste requires a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics.  Wilkerson also points forward to ways Americans can move beyond  the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. 


Hope to see you soon!

Please contact facilitators Dean and Judi Martineau for Zoom connection and more details at 


Past Book Studies

The New Jim Crow

by Michelle Alexander


The October Book Study will focus on The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, described by critics as:  “An extraordinary book,” “Devastating,” and “An instant classic.”  

Seldom does a book have the impact of The New Jim Crow.  Since it was first published in 2010, it has won numerous awards and was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly 250 weeks.  It’s been cited in judicial decisions, read in countless faith-based and secular book clubs, and adopted in campus and community reads.  It has inspired artists, philanthropists, policymakers, community leaders, and a generation of racial justice activists motivated by Michelle Alexander’s searing indictment of our criminal justice system and her unforgettable argument that  “we have not ended racial caste in America: we have merely redesigned it.”

This book is as relevant as it was when published, especially because the author has brought this already excellent book up to date with a ringing preface and added content. Please make sure to read  the 2020 10th anniversary edition of The New Jim Crow (Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness) by Michelle Alexander.  In addition to her powerful preface, it has additional refinements of the first edition.                

 We will meet on Zoom on  Monday evenings beginning October 11 at 7:00 Eastern, 6:00 Central, and plan for each session to last  90 minutes.

Please contact facilitators Dean and Judi Martineau for Zoom connection and more details at 

>> Read More

The Sum of Us (Completed)

by Heather McGhee
Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found… >> Read More

Between the World and Me (Completed)

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for… >> Read More