Ruined Readers Book Club

In 2016, JVC Northwest launched a world-wide book club as part of the 60th Anniversary celebrations, thanks to great feedback from the 2015 Former JV Survey. We are offering both in-person meetings across the country and a self reflection guide format throughout the year, each round focusing on a different value of JVC Northwest.


Registration for our Ecological Justice Round is now open! Click here to register to participate in a city near you or to receive the self-reflection guide. Contact Alumni Coordinator, Sarah Jones with questions or to start a group in your city.

Click the values below to learn more about each of the values and book selected or visit our Goodreads profile to see all of the books nominated for our Ruined Readers gatherings!

Social Justice (February- April 2017)
Our first selection of 2017 is “Strangers in Their Own Land” by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley, “embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right.

As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground with the people she meets—among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident—people whose concerns are ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.”

Ecological Justice (May- July 2017)
Our selection for Ecological Justice is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. “Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.”
Simple Living (August-October 2017)
Selection announced later in 2017!
Community (November 2017- January 2018)
Selection announced later in 2017!
Spirituality (February - April 2018)
Selection announced later in 2017!
2016 Book Selections

Simple Living (February-March 2016)Richard Rohr

Our first club focused on Simple Living featured Richard Rohr’s Simplicity: the Freedom of Letting Go. From the Center for Action and Contemplation: ‘” ‘Less is more,’  Richard Rohr tells us, and those who have nothing to protect or prove have a soul that can embrace both the shadow self and the good to receive Christ. This book has continued to resonate with seekers since its original publication.” This book explores St. Francis’s ancient call to the simple life, where joy, not dry theology, helps us build relationships and find peace in ourselves.”

Community (May-June 2016)

In the NeighborhoodOur second club meeting focused on the value of Community. Our Community book, nominated by former Jesuit Volunteer Christy Foltz-Ahlrichs (Richmond, VA ‘96-97) who currently lives in Boise, ID, is In the Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim. Here is a brief synopsis about the book from Peter’s website: “Peter Lovenheim had lived on the same street in suburban Rochester, New York much of his life. But it was only after a brutal murder-suicide rocked the neighborhood that he was struck by a fact of modern life in contemporary American communities: No one really knew anyone else. Thus began Peter’s search to meet and get to know his neighbors. Being inquisitive, he did more than just introduce himself. He asked, ever so politely, if he could sleep over.”

Social and Ecological Justice (August-September 2016)201406-omag-books-unknown-americans-949x1356

Our third club meeting focused on the value of Social and Ecological Justice. Clubs met and discussed The Book of Unknown Americans” by Cristina Henriquez. Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the author’s website: “Arturo Rivera was the owner of a construction company in Pátzcuaro, México. One day, as his beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, is helping him at a work site, she sustains an injury that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same again. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panamà, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core. Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Central and Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.”

Spirituality (November-December 2016)accidentalsaints

Our final selection of 2016 is Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz Weber. Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the author’s website: “In a time when many have rightly become disillusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints demonstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike.”