what I have been reading (way overdue for a reading roundup).

Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk by J. Dana Trent (via NetGalley)

The title basically says it all. I enjoyed learning more about Hinduism, but as the book went on, I felt like Dana only talked about her own flaws as a person of faith rather than also showing where they have compromised. I was a little bit disappointed not to hear more about Fred as a person – it made him seem a little bit overly perfect to only focus on his spiritual devotion. This is a cool story but I think fleshing it out would have helped a lot. Recommended for: people who want to learn more about Hinduism from a Christian perspective.

A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent (via NetGalley)

I have never prayed with beads, but I think I would like it in the same way that I like prayer books and walking a labyrinth because they make me slow down and take my time. This had a little bit of information on the history of Protestants praying with beads, but a lot of the book was focused on how to make your own set of prayer beads, and that is not really my jam. Recommended for: the craftier devoted Christians among us.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (via the public library)

This is a charming book about an IT guy who falls in love with an employee by monitoring/reading her emails. Did I say it’s charming? It’s totally charming. A pleasure to read. Recommended for: people who like epistolary novels, people who would enjoy spying on other people’s emails, people who like to read lovely things.

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March by John Lewis (via the public library)

One of my goals this year was to read more graphic novels, and I think I’m doing pretty well. This was definitely a favorite so far. I have read several stories where the characters mention getting to read a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr. so I love the idea of continuing to carry that on for my students. Loved loved loved this and can’t wait for the next volume. Recommended for: anyone who doesn’t know much about John Lewis, and even people who do.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (via the public library)

Engrossing story about a man who survived a plane crash and was then held as a POW for the remainder of WWII in Japan. It’s so easy to read a book like this and be like, “LOOK WHAT THOSE PEOPLE DID TO OUR SOLDIERS!” but then you have to remember that we have done some pretty terrible things in the name of “fighting terrorism.” Recommended for: people who like history, people who like war stories, people who like forgiveness.

Every Shattered Thing by Elora Nicole Ramirez (purchased for Kindle)

This is a novel about a girl who is stuck in the middle of an abusive situation with her father. It was a good reminder that everyone doesn’t have the ability to get help from within the system and that saying, “Go to the police for help! Let’s call social services!” is not helpful for many many people who are suffering. However, it was a little bit too much of a problem novel for my taste. Recommended for: people who are passionate about justice and protecting children.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (for church book club and One City, One Book Greensboro)

I enjoyed a lot of things about this book: the girl power, the humor, the journey. But it was a little too wacky in some places for me and it dragged in the first half. I think it would make an excellent movie and I was glad to discuss it with my church friends even though it wasn’t my favorite. Recommended for: people who work with immigrants, people who live in Greensboro and/or San Diego.

Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty by Greg Boyd (via NetGalley)

Greg Boyd did a great job of telling his story in a way that made the bigger issues he was talking about more accessible. His reputation is that of someone who is heretically liberal but I found him to be more conservative than I am and he seemed so kind and thoughtful in his presentation. I would have no trouble recommending this to anyone who is interested in the topic of doubt and faith.

My goal for this year was to read 50 books, and I’m already at 106! It’s been a great reading year and I have enjoyed doing these occasional roundups. What have you been reading lately?

Some of these books came from NetGalley for free. As always, my opinion is my own.

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