what I read in Texas.

These are books I started, finished, and/or read part of while I was in Texas. This was the first time in a long long time that I read more than one book at once, partly because some were on my Kindle and some were on my laptop and some were just not the kind to read all the way through. I also started my Harry Potter reread while I was on the plane ride home. I haven’t cried yet but I did feel a little tickle in my eyes when I saw the first chapter title, but no one wants to hear me talk about Harry Potter for the hundredth time, so I left that off the list.

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio (purchased for the Kindle)

This is a book about a boy named Auggie who was born with a deformed face and what it’s like for him as he starts his first year of school after being homeschooled for many years. I had heard from several people that the ending was implausible, so maybe I was expecting something really crazy like aliens. The ending was very neatly tied up, but there were no aliens of any kind. I definitely liked it more than Mike did, especially the different points of view we were given. Recommended for: people who like children’s literature, people who like nice endings without aliens.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber (provided by NetGalley for the Kindle)

I had mixed feelings as I was reading the first half of Pastrix but the strong second half won me over. I loved the parts in which she talks about how her faith and her understanding of scripture inform specific ways that she acts. Those were thoughtful stories well-told, and I was moved by them. Additionally, it is incredibly important to me that we have books like this that show a liberal feminist pastor who has a less conservative view of scripture but who still takes it seriously. I felt that the beginning of the book, where she was talking about her own faith journey, was less settled in itself, restless as if she was trying to prove something. The book starts with the word “shit” and while I don’t object to the word itself, there were times that it felt to me like she was trying too hard to be edgy. (Sidenote: I wondered if the beginning of the book wouldn’t work better as a speech at a conference or a convention, which might be why it seemed a little bit off to me. It would certainly be an attention-grabber in that kind of situation.) In the end, I liked it but I wish the tough-girl posture at the beginning had been taken down a notch or two. Recommended for: people who like tattoos, swearing, and Jesus.

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg (from the public library)

I love Marcus Borg, but this was a little bit dry for my taste. However, the last two chapters were amazing. Recommended for: people who are smarter and less ADD than I am, people who are interested in Jesus’ life.

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon (physical copy)

I got this book for Mother’s Day and have been reading it off and on ever since. The writing is gorgeous and dense and it is a passionate call to the real things of life: food and fellowship and fresh ingredients. It’s a reminder that enjoying the beautiful gifts of the world is a doorway into the kingdom of God, and that extravagance in our food and in our hearts is a reflection of the extravagant love of God. My favorite chapter was the one on wine: “It is precisely the foolishness of classifying wine as an alcoholic beverage that keeps so many of us from taking it with our lunches, suppers–and even breakfasts, if you like. Whiskey, gin, and rum are sometimes things. A man who takes them too often courts disaster. But wine is simply water that has matured according to nature’s will. It is the ordinary accompaniment of a grown man’s food . . . God gave us wine to make us gracious and keep us sane.” I mean, you guys. How great is that? Recommended for: people who like food, people who want to like food.

NetGalley provided me with a copy of Pastrix. My opinions are my own.

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