Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Isaacs I've heard about this book before, and I'm drawn to the idea of someone who writes about God with something other than the happy-go-lucky, Jesus-changed-my-life attitude. Here's a quote from her in the blurb from the magazine: "I often felt a huge burden of regret over the mistakes I made, the time I wasted in my life; but it also gave me fresh gratitude for God that He got me through all of that. Writing was like a sacrament. I was honoring God by telling the truth about my life. I was honoring Him."
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larson This novel about a 12-year old genius cartographer who wins a prestigious Smithsonian scholarship (they don't know he's in middle school) and train-hops across the country sounds delightful and endearing. It includes the boy's diagrams and illustrations of things like "Maps of People Doing Things" and "Freight Train as a Sound Sandwich." (That's not a very good review. Check out the one in Relevant or go read the book yourself.)
Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Wogenrich My propensity for anything handmade and/or eco-friendly immediately drew me to this book. It's part narrative, part handbook on the hows and whys of independent, sustainable living.
Endpoint by John Updike The only impression I have of John Updike is from reading one of his short stories in a high school english class -- I didn't like it at all. But Relevant's review of his new, posthumously published collection of poems and the excerpt they included may convince me to rethink my opinion. Plus I've been on a poetry kick lately...
by John Updike
It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
"Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise--depths unplumbable!"
Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
"I thought he died a while ago.:
For life's a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.