Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor (purchased)
I’m only mentioning this here because it was so good that I want everybody to know how good it was. Five stars! Go read it! I can’t summarize it but there were beautiful thoughtful things on every page!
Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois (via the public library)
I didn’t pay a ton of attention to the Amanda Knox thing when it was happening, so I don’t have hugely well-informed opinions about the case. I will say that when the prosecutors are saying that what took place was a sex-crazed satanic ritual, I am likely to be skeptical. Anyway, Cartwheel is not about Amanda Knox, but it is a fictional version of something very similar – an American exchange student whose roommate is murdered. I liked it quite a lot, more than I maybe should have, because I loved how we as the reader could see what different characters were thinking and what their motivations were. That device is often used to piece together “the truth” but in this book, like the Amanda Knox case itself, the truth remains a little murky at the end. Recommended for: a good summer beach read!
The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year by Kimberlee Conway Ireton (purchased)
This is a great little book on the seasons of the church calendar. I have learned most of these things through loosely practicing them at my church but it would have been a perfect book for me a few years ago. Excellent as an introduction and for parents who want practices to include for home. Though I didn’t need an introduction, I can see myself pulling it off the shelf to get some ideas of ways to celebrate certain seasons with Atticus. Pairs well with To Dance With God by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. (You can order it directly from the author herself and she will sign it for you.)
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (borrowed from a friend)
My favorite of Sara Zarr’s since Once Was Lost. It’s about two girls who are assigned to be roommates for their freshman year of college and the emails they send to one another. I really enjoyed how their lives paralleled with summer romances and conflicted feelings about leaving their parents even though they lived on opposite coasts. A super enjoyable read for me.
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (via NetGalley)
Aargh, you guys. I am so conflicted about this book. It’s about a girl named Dimple whose family is from India, but she is American. Of course she feels pulled between her family and her culture, not fitting in fully in either place, which is why she feels like she was “born confused”. On one hand, I loved the main character and her almost Elizabeth-and-Darcy meeting with a friend of her parents. I loved this particular expression of what a lot of teenagers feel, whether their families are immigrants or not. And I loved how she began to find a place for herself with others who feel the same way. But. I didn’t like her best friend at all and I thought in many places it was hard to read and understand. I think it would make a good audiobook because you would be able to hear the inflections that were intended that were not always clear to me as I was reading. In the end, I will remember it as a sweet book about a character I really liked but that was frustrating to actually read.
The Book of Not-So-Common Prayer: A New Way to Pray, a New Way to Live by Linda McCullough Moore (via NetGalley)
Linda seemed like a nice person but a little bit rigid and I didn’t find her suggestions extremely helpful. I wasn’t sure what was so uncommon about her prayer life or her advice, because I didn’t feel as if there were tips I hadn’t heard elsewhere. I kept hoping there would be one section I might recommend but that never came. Overall not a winner for me.
Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad by Jerry Mahoney (via NetGalley)
Mommy Man is the story of Jerry and his partner Drew and how they got together and decided they wanted to have kids. They chose surrogacy and I enjoyed the discussion of the fertility issues because I have several friends who have done IUIs and IVF as well as some LGBT friends who have adopted or used sperm donors. The story pretty much ends with the birth, so it’s not about parenting as much as it is about becoming parents. I really did laugh and cry while I was reading it. I read this on Mother’s Day and it was a perfect reminder of the miracle of life.
I received free copies of some of these books from NetGalley but my opinions are my own.