what I have been reading (thanksgiving week edition).

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Just Jesus by Walter Wink (via NetGalley)

Walter Wink called this book “an autobiography of [his] interest in Jesus,” which is a lovely turn of phrase. It’s a bit disjointed in the middle, but there are some beautiful things in here about Jesus and the Bible and nonviolence. The overall arc is a discussion of the humanity of Jesus and how that is reflected in our own lives. I have never read anything by Walter Wink, but I recognized his name and some of his ideas and he seems to have had an extraordinary life (he died in 2012 after dealing with complications from dementia). Most of all, this book is a reflection on how he combined his love of Jesus and his love of the Bible in practical ways. It can be tricky to write about nonviolent resistance as a person of privilege, so I appreciated his humility and willingness to participate as others led the way. I’d like to read his book on nonviolence now that I finished this one. Recommended for: people who would like an intro to Walter Wink, people who want to read something with short chapters, people whose opinions about Jesus have changed over time.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer (via NetGalley)

The premise of this book is fun and sounds right up my alley: a reality show is taping at an arts high school, and some of the students who are unhappy about it band together to publish a dissenting view. As an epic poem. However, the characters and the story were not quite as clever as I wanted them to be. I have recently been reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson with some students and the dialogue and observations about high school are so biting. This fell flat in comparison, not nearly as funny or insightful as I was hoping. Recommended for: students at art schools.

The Revolution was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall (borrowed from a friend)

Confession time: I read basically everything there is to read on the Breaking Bad finale, even though I have never seen five minutes of the show. (I tried to watch that, “I am the one who knocks,” clip but I didn’t understand why it was so awesome.) I love talking about television and reading about television maybe even more than I enjoy actually watching television, so a book about television by someone like Sepinwall is basically my favorite thing. Of the shows that it covers, the only one I have seen in its entirety is Friday Night Lights, plus we watched one season of Mad Men and one season of 24 before we bailed on those. But I was familiar with most of the shows in some way, so I enjoyed the discussions of them. I don’t know anything at all about Battlestar Galactica, so that chapter went over my head, and I have to say that the Buffy chapter felt as if he threw it in there because he just really really wanted to write about Buffy even though it didn’t exactly fit the arc he was telling. Recommended for: people who enjoy “prestige television,” people whose friends enjoy “prestige television” and who hear them talk about it a lot.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (via NetGalley)

Probably you already know about Hyperbole and a Half. Surely you have seen The Alot on Facebook, or “all the things” or the stuff she wrote about depression. The book is some of the greatest hits from the blog plus some new material, and maybe this is just because I am biased for books, but as much as I love her blog, I think I loved it even better in book form. When I open one of her posts, I know I am going to need a while to finish it, but it was easier to take my time and really enjoy them in a book. I laughed out loud while on the elliptical. Even when I was reading things I had read before. You probably already know if this is your cup of tea, but just in case: recommended for people who like to laugh alot. (The Alot is not in the book, just so you know.)

NetGalley provided me with some of these books. As always, my opinions are my own.

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