This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
Bishop Payne Library

Bishop Payne Library

"Our passion is to help you go deeper in your faith and vocation through reading, research, and resources."
The Bishop Payne Library is located on the campus of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. The library serves seminary students and their families, faculty and staff, as well as local clergy and Christian educators, students and faculty of the Washington Theological Consortium and VTS alumni.   

The Bishop Payne Library holds over 250,000 volumes and provides access to 300,000 ebook titles and 2,000 periodicals. The Library is also home to the Seminary Archives and the African-American Episcopal Historical Collection.
Alumni have lifetime borrowing privileges with the Bishop Payne Library and can request booksto be sent at no cost. Read more about Alumni Borrowing Privileges here.

Bishop Payne Library > Prof's Picks

Prof’s Picks
February 2020
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary, recommends the following books as part of the Bishop Payne Library's monthly series highlighting a faculty member's "picks":

Jonathan Rauch, The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50. (New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2018.)
Countless classes have had to listen to me muse on the happiness curve. The data is well known - the two happiest years of your life is 29 and 69 and the worst is the long low dip in your late-forties through to your mid-fifties. This fabulous book sets out the science, analyzes the reasons, and suggests ways in which the bottom of the curve can be handled. The argument of the book is that the mid-life discontent (which isn’t depression and is completely normal) is analogous to adolescence; it is simply a season that one should live through. It seems to be a global phenomenon and impact both women and men. It is an easy read, but transformative for the pastor and for the mid-career person.
David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. (New York: Random House. 2019.)
David Brooks is the philosopher journalist. Often his writing in The New York Times transcends the local and the ephemeral and focuses instead on the cosmic and significant. This book makes the argument that often, human lives have two mountains - the first of financial success and power and the second focused on morality and the good life. In between the two mountains is the valley (where one confronts the inadequacy of a life without higher goals). Lots of familiar friends are cited in the text - Charles Taylor, Henri Nouwen, and Soren Kierkegaard. It is, in many ways, an apologetic for the imperative for faith. And his own “conversion” journey towards the end of the book is moving and powerful. A perfect book for a Church book club.
Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. (Norwich: Canterbury Press. 2012.)
Malcolm Guite has agreed to write a set of poems in honor of the Bicentennial Celebration of the Seminary. And this book is perhaps the best introduction to Malcolm Guite’s poetry you can find. This is an amazing set of poems. They take you through the Church year. They are beautiful, moving and compelling.

For the complete archive of Prof's Picks, please visit the Catalog & Electronic Resources page

Library Calendar

List of 1 events.

  • Library Hours This Week

    Mon. - Thu., 8:30 am - 10:00 pm
    Fri., 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
    Sat., 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Sun., 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Phone: 703-461-1733
Email: paynelib@vts.edu
Campus Location:
3640 Bishop Walker Circle
Campus Map: Building #3
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory