About the Wartburg College Book Club

One book is selected for discussion each month within the Wartburg community. All are invited – students, alumni, parents, donors – to join the conversation and learn from other Knights. This community is intended to be an inclusive environment. Topics and opinions discussed each month do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Wartburg College.

Those who sign up for the bimonthly newsletter will receive book announcements, discussion questions, educational information, highlights from the Facebook group, invitation for virtual events, and more. The Facebook group will host the majority of content and interactions, with daily posts Monday through Friday.

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

The Book of Longings

Discussion Schedule
Week of Sept. 6: Part 1 (Sephoris)
Week of Sept. 13: Part 2 (Nazareth)
Week of Sept. 20: Parts 3-4 (Alexandria-Jerusalem), Author’s Note
Zoom discussion: Tuesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

Where to find this book

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense. Click here to read more

Book cover of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Discussion Schedule: TBD

Upcoming Reads

  • November 2021: “The City We Became” by NK Jemisin
  • December 2021: “A Woman in the Polar Night” by Christiane Ritter