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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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BookClub1I had good intentions of simplifying my life. Iíd just take a year off of the whole Simply Faithful book club thing.
Who needs the hassle of scheduling interviews with authors? The struggle to balance work and home and extra reading? The nervousness of keeping up with Facebook chats?
Apparently, I do.
Iíve missed the Simply Faithful book club, and Iíve missed visiting with you.
Can we try this again? Can we read spiritual books together as a community?
The last time we did this was in 2012, and I picked a non-fiction book by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts. That summer, we read the novel Rooms by James Rubart, and then in the fall, I chose three books for children.
This time, Iíll announce a non-fiction book on Feb. 3. Iíll sprinkle in discussion questions on www.simplyfaithful.com†for the following six weeks. Then, weíll host an online chat with the author in late March.
Iíll be looking for people willing to host in-person gatherings the night of the author chat. Iíd like people to open up their homes, or their places of worship or their favorite coffee shops and invite their friends to meet and talk about the book Ė and Iíd like those hosts to help with the technology that night because we donít want anyone left out of the discussion just because they arenít familiar with Facebook or Google Chat or whichever platform we settle on.
Then, Iíll announce the fiction book June 9 and weíll chat with that author toward the end of July.
Now, in the meantime, Iíd love to hear your book suggestions. What books do you think we should all read? Are there authors you would love to visit with?†
I really enjoy discovering great authors who havenít had a lot of attention, so feel free to suggest first-time or little-known authors. I also like introducing topics that people of all faiths would be interested in discussing.
My one stipulation is that the author needs to Ė how do I say this delicately Ė be alive. It makes interviewing the author and hosting a chat for readers much easier.
Give it some thought. Talk it over with your friends who like to read, and let me know by Jan. 20 what books youíd recommend.
Iím looking forward to reading and learning with you again.

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