Bethel Library Staff Winter Reads

No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter. – The Wind in the Willows

Winter, for some librarians, is a time of greater domesticity.  Some of us craft and cook away the seasonal chill, but we all, by nature, enjoy the timeless coupling of a book and warm beverage.  What works are we curling up with this season?  You may be surprised!

whynotmeKaylin writes, Mindy Kaling is my new best friend–or at least, she feels like she is. Her humorous collection of essays, “Why Not Me?” is a hilarious and honest look at friendship, romance, beauty, life, and what it’s like to be a TV writer in Hollywood. 

In these bleak winter months, when zero can sometimes be the high and we don’t see the sun for days, Mindy Kaling’s book is a bright spot. Her book is wonderfully entertaining and unexpectedly thoughtful, and I think it’s a great pick for anyone looking for a fun winter read that isn’t all fluff.

What else are you curling up with this winter?
There’s nothing better than curling up with “New Girl,” the grown-up coloring book “Enchanted Forest,” and a cup of Candy Cane Green Tea from Trader Joe’s!



Scott suggests My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok– a story about a Hasidic Jewish boy with a prodigious gift for drawing and painting. His gift is misunderstood and consequently discouraged by both his parents and his wider Hasidic community, but he finds he cannot stop himself from drawing. As he develops both as an artist and as a person, he struggles to navigate the conflicting obligations he feels to the secular art world and his conservative Hasidic community.

What makes this a good winter read?
Something about the way the vibrant descriptions of an artist’s world mix together with the gloomy, heavy tension that characterizes almost all of the relationships in the book matches the feeling of winter. Both have a combination of beauty and bitterness that appeals to me.



Lyndi notes that If you recognize this phrase, you will love this book! “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of Princess Bride” by Cary Elwes, the actor who played Westley, gives a behind-the-scenes look at this classic film.  It’s easy to get pulled in as you glimpse into the lives and personalities of the actors, read about the antics of the cast, and see what it’s like on a movie set.

What else are you curling up with this winter?

Hot cocoa, my fuzzy robe, and embroidery.



thehighdivideRhonda always loves a good historical fiction, but somehow winter seems the best time to immerse yourself in another world and time. 
Civil War veteran Ulysses Pope, devoted father and husband, up and leaves his family, with a cryptic note as the only clue. Sons 16 year old Eli and fragile 10 year old Danny sneak off to find him, traveling from their northwestern Minnesota home through Dakota and Montana. They track him down with the help of Smithsonian insitute curator William Hornoday, only to find a man tortured by guilt about a past unknown to them, involving Custer, a tragic Indian raid, and the doomed American Bison. He is compelled to make amends, even if it costs him his life.

Rhonda is also curling up with her furry menagerie and some good TV. (Orphan Black, anyone?)


musicsilencedMichael thinks that listening to and reading about chamber music just seems compatible with our winter weather. The cold months have many moments of stillness, and the music Wendy Lesser is writing about [in Music for Silenced Voices] contains a similar stillness where you can hear the the presence or absence of each musician.

Tell us more!
The author makes the argument that the fifteen string quartets written by Dmitri Shostakovich are his most personal compositions. She weaves together the story of his life and an analysis of these works in a very interesting way. The people interviewed for the book include those who knew or worked with Shostakovich and contemporary interpreters of his work.



Gene is getting ready for election season with The Snapping of the American Mind by David Kupelian.

He writes that this is book that points out the problems America has, but also gives some solutions and hope for America.

What else are you curling up with this winter?

Popcorn and movies on Roku.




characterEarleen is starting off the new year strong with David Brooks’ The Road to Character. 
She states that the book is written in such a compelling way so that you won’t want to put it down. However, because it gives one a great deal to think about, you may need a quiet corner with a comfortable chair, afghan, and cup of tea to keep you focused. Each chapter describes people from various walks of life and time periods. Though flawed, each person strove to build “strong inner character”. Examples: Frances Perkins, Dwight Eisenhower, Dorothy Day, and A. Philip Randolph. Definitely worth the read!

Earleen is also curling up with “Downton Abbey,” mystery movies on Hallmark, HGTV, and lots of hot chocolate.


returnofthekingApril is visiting an old classic this winter–The Return of the King by Tolkien.

She writes, I’m ashamed to admit this is my first time through the finale of this famous trilogy, but I’m really enjoying reading this in the winter.  The familiar trudge of Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom resonates with the longevity and seeming despair winter can bring. One is never too old nor too young to begin or revisit the Lord of the Rings series. The richness of Tolkien’s world-building coupled with the deeply theological metaphors of the narrative are a beautiful marriage and excellent read. 

What else are you curling up with this winter?
My rabbit, of course–against his wishes. 



Last but not least, our fearless leader David is enjoying The Rebel Angles by Robertson Davies, (d. 1996) who wrote 9 or 10 novels, most of which fit in to trilogies. I read this one (1st novel in his 3rd trilogy) maybe 20 yrs ago, and it wasn’t my favorite, but I want to give it another try. Am about 100 pages in, and am liking it a lot.

What makes this book a good winter read?
Not just because it’s set in Ontario, Davies’ stuff mostly has a winter feel to it. Also, it’s set in academia, and the characters are intriguing. 

David is also enjoying Downton Abbey, other assorted PBS costume dramas, and is still trying to make his way through all the Alfred Hitchcock films.

Fellow Scholars Surprise Professor Mike Holmes with a Book Honoring His Scholarship

Foster, Gurtner, Holmes, and HernandezAt the November 2015 joint conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature in Atlanta, Georgia, Bethel’s University Professor Michael Holmes was surprised by a group of colleagues gathered to celebrate him and his scholarship. They presented to him a book containing essays from 32 contributors honoring his significant contributions to the fields of New Testament textual criticism and the Apostolic Fathers.  Congratulations Professor Holmes!

It is edited by his fellow Bethel colleagues Daniel M. Gurtner Bethel Seminary, Juan Hernández, Jr. Bethel University and Paul Foster from the University of Edinburgh.

See a sneak preview of the contents below.


Foreword Bart D. Ehrman

Introduction Daniel M. Gurtner, Juan Hernandez Jr. and Paul Foster

Part 1: Text Criticism

1. “The Late Constantin Tischendorf and Codex Sinaiticus: New Testament Textual Criticism without Them-An Exercise in Erasure History” Eldon Jay Epp
2. “Patristic Evidence in the Apparatus Criticus of a Greek New Testament” J.K. Elliott
3. “Nestle-Aland 28 and the Revision of the Apocalypse’s Textual History” Juan Hernandez Jr.
4. “The Edition of the Greek New Testament: A Plea and a Challenge” Jean-Franr;ois Racine
5. “Codex 2193 and Family 1 in Mark” Amy Anderson
6. “Water and Blood and Matthew 27:49: A Johannine Reading in the Matthean Passion Narrative?” Daniel M Gurtner
7. “Of Fish and Men: Comparative, Text-Critical and Papyrological Remarks on Matthew 13:47-50 and the Gospel of Thomas 8” Christina M Kreinecker
8. “The Son’s Ignorance in Matthew 24:36: An Exercise in Textual and Redaction Criticism” Daniel B. Wallace
9. “A Fresh Analysis of  P.Oxyrhynchus 1228 (β22) as Artefact” Larry W Hurtado
10. “Rightly Dividing the Word: Uncovering an Early Template for Textual Division in John’s Gospel” Charles E. Hill
11. “Asterius ‘the Sophist’ of Cappadocia: Citations from the Gospel of John as Attested in the Theological FragmentsRoderic L. Mullen
12. “A Text-Critical Examination of the Johannine Variation” James R. Royse
13. “The Selection of Greek Manuscripts to be Included in the International Greek New Testament Project’s Edition of John in the Editio Critica Maior David C. Parker, Klaus Wachtel, Bruce Morrill and Ulrich Schmid
14. “A Longer Text of Paul: Romans to Galatians in Codex Wemigerodensis (VL 58)” H.A.G. Houghton
15. “A Short Textual Commentary on Galatians” Tommy Wasserman
16. “The Text of Galatians 4:25a” Christopher M Tuckett
17. “On the Marcionite Prologues to the Letters of Paul” Dirk Jongkind

Part 2: Early Christianity

18. “Polycarp in the Writings of lgnatius” Paul Foster
19. “The Devil’s in the Details: The Apocalyptic ‘Adversary’ in the Martyrdom of Polycarp and the Martyrs of Lyons” Paul Anthony Hartog
20. “The Old Testament in the Apostolic Fathers” James Carleton Paget
21. “‘Witnesses between You and Us’: The Role of the Letter-Carriers in I Clement” Peter M Head
22. “Defining Exceptions in the Didache” Clayton N. Jefford
23. “Space, Body, and Church in Ignatius of Antioch: Toward a Spatial Treatment” Harry O. Maier
24. “Living as a ‘Christian’: Christian Ethos According to the Writings of lgnatius of Antioch” Tobias Nicklas
25. “Scripture and Christology in the Preaching of Peter (Kerygma Petri)” Wilhelm Pratscher
26. “On ‘Rotten Stones’ and a Couple of Other Marginalia in the Shepherd of HermasJoseph Verheyden
27. “Anima naturaliter Christiana- Beobachtungen zum philosophischen und theologischen Hintergrund der Seelenlehre Tertullians” Holger Strutwolf

See more information about the book at the publisher’s website:

Brill New Testament Studies in Honor of Micheal Holmes cover

Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Micheal W. Holmes

Christmastime at the Bethel University Library

We don’t mean to brag, but the library is pretty good at celebrating.  No InterLibrary Loan milestone or recarpeting project is too small for someone to bring a crock pot in.

That being said, Christmastime is at a completely different level.  While the work gets done, we also spend ample time celebrating with our student workers, staff, and friends.  Take a look at what’s going on this month in the Bethel University Library and around campus:

Friday, December 4:

Open House for Friends of the Bethel University Library
We’re showing off our brand new furniture while snacking on festive goodies with our favorite library support group!


University Smorgasbord and Festival of Christmas Concert
One of the first things I was told upon my hire (in July) was to make sure I reserved my tickets for the staff smorgasbord.  Between the smoked fish and dessert buffet, it’s definitely worth the hype.  Afterward we’ll be fighting off food comas while enjoying the always-impressive Festival concert in Benson.

Tuesday, December 8:

Open House for University Departments
Each department on campus opens their doors during lunchtime and hosts guests with tons of snacks.  Will anyone beat Admission’s walking tacos from last year?

Thursday, December 10:

CLIC Christmas Luncheon
CLIC (Cooporating Libraries in Consortium) is a group of private academic libraries in the Twin Cities area that works together by sharing resources and ideas.  What better way to celebrate Christmas than with our awesome collaborative partners?

Friday, December 11:

Student Worker Kitschy Kristmas Party
Our student workers are our favorites!  This year we’ll be celebrating with them in ugly Christmas sweaters while crafting dorky Santa ornaments and pipe-cleaner reindeer.

Thursday, December 24 – Sunday January 3:

Don’t come in–nobody’s home!  We’ll all be celebrating our most important parties with our friends and loved ones.

Monday, January 4:

Staff Potluck
We’ll be easing into the new year with one more celebration before we sadly take down our Christmas decorations and buckle down for Interim.
With all these festivities, can you guess what our New Year’s Resolutions will be?  Where did I leave my running shoes… ?


Image 1 from the BUL Digital Library. Image 2 from