For The Someday Book

Posts Tagged ‘fiction

Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999, 228 pp.

Fasting FeastingThe title drew me in. (Also, I’ll admit, the Booker Prize Finalist sticker on the cover.) The title made me think this book would have some rich theological insight hidden inside, even if it never mentioned God. Fasting and feasting are such rich concepts for contemplation. The book did follow its title with interwoven threads of deprivation and abundance, although it did not capture my heart and mind as much as I had hoped.

The story is told in two parts, from two central characters. The first part takes place in India, and focuses on Uma, the eldest sister of an aspiring middle-class family. Uma is a bit slow-witted and physically clumsy, but she has dreams for her life. However, at every turn, her parents thwart her aspirations and turn her into a servant in the household. Her prospects for marriage crumble, and she is denied even the simplest pleasures. She is not alone. Nearly all the women in the story are bound in service to men, their own dreams unsupported and unsustained.

The second part takes place in the United States, and focuses on Arun, the youngest child and only boy in the family. The family (especially Uma) sacrifices everything so that Arun can succeed, achieve and prosper. While it seems that he has everything, he longs desperately for affection. During his time in the United States, the land of plenty, he sees the elements of physical and emotional deprivation in American family life, even as he himself goes hungry rather than eat meat with the host family.

The novel is beautiful, intricate and run through with allusions to various kinds of fasting and feasting. At times, it felt a bit heavy-handed to me, like it was a morality tale or parable about abundance and deprivation, rather than a novel. Uma felt more like a real character about whom I cared than Arun did. I yearned for redemption in the story, but hunger won out over satisfaction for both Arun and Uma.

This is a book I appreciated more than I enjoyed, recognizing its merits while never quite falling under its spell.

PlainsongI am fast becoming a leading member of the Kent Haruf fan club. After discovering Benediction not long ago, I was determined to read more of his work. At the library, they all looked so intriguing I couldn’t decide which one to borrow—so I took home all three. Plainsong was the first one I chose to read, because it was recognized as a National Book Award finalist. It was just as lovely as Benediction had been, and made me glad to have two more Haruf novels waiting on my shelf.

Plainsong unpacks the intertwining lives of ordinary, yet quirky, people in a small town east of the Rockies. (At one point, I became fascinated by where Holt might be, and whether it is a real place. It is a real county in western Nebraska, and the highways described match the highways on the map.) The characters include two young brothers, Ike and Bobby, 9 and 10, left alone much of the time to explore the town and their independence. Their mother is a minor character, afflicted by mental illness and recently separated from them and their father, but their father Tom Guthrie is central. He is a high school teacher who tangles with the family of a student he fails, and has a developing relationship with fellow teacher Maggie Jones. When student Victoria Roubideaux discovers she is pregnant and kicked out of her home, she turns to Maggie for help. Maggie turns to two reclusive brothers, Raymond and Harold McPheron to take her in.

Plainsong‘s style and story echo its title: a simple telling of their stories, and how they come together in unison, simple and unadorned. Ike and Bobby lose a bit of their childish innocence, discovering some harsh truths about sex and violence and relationships, but the adults in the story guide them through. Tom Guthrie and Maggie Jones help heal one another of broken relationships. Victoria and the McPheron brothers are the most unlikely of partners, and many of their awkward encounters made me chuckle. Still, they were charming and good-hearted, and Haruf has a way of weaving all his characters together such that they are all less lonely by the end of the story.

I was also intrigued by the western setting of the book, with stories about cattle and horses and rural life that offered a unique insight into this region of the country. I have driven through small towns in western Kansas, western Nebraska and eastern Colorado, and I could imagine all the scenes of the story in those locations.

Plainsong was lovely, through and through, with a kind of simple beauty that is only possible by refined, well-worn, carefully crafted prose. I am looking forward to the next Haruf novel in line, and hoping to encounter some of these characters “around town” next time.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014, 261 pp.

LilaOh, Marilynne Robinson, how you move me! I think she (and especially her character Rev. John Ames) has become one of my favorite theologians in recent years. I have treasured the first two volumes of this trilogy, Gilead and Home, and waited longingly for Lila to finally be available.

Lila completes the trilogy with the story of Lila Dahl, the late-in-life wife of Rev. John Ames, a wanderer with an unknown past. In the previous two stories, she is a mystery. Finally we hear her own voice, and Robinson reveals–in her careful, slow way–Lila’s complicated past. Like Ames and Boughton, hers is a story of loneliness and isolation. Unlike the men, who also had to cope with disappointment, Lila never had any expectations for her life, so her struggle is not so much with disappointment as with emptiness. Her loss is not of an imagined future, but of any comfort and companionship at all.

Everything that happens here between Lila and Rev. John Ames is familiar to readers of Gilead and Home. She comes to church and he baptizes her. They meet and talk in their stilted way. They are married, and soon she is pregnant with his child. What we learn in this book is Lila’s perspective on their relationship, and the intricate back story that leads Lila to Gilead and breaks her heart open to love. Her story begins in poverty and abandonment, grows into love and wandering and being an outlier with Doll, the woman who raised her. When she loses Doll, she loses herself and falls into the realm of violence and abuse. Yet she escapes, she finds redemption, and together with Ames finds a frail happiness she can hardly believe is real.

As always, Robinson offers a deep sense of poetry and theology, even though our main character is not a preacher. Below are a few gems I want to remember.

She saw him standing in the parlor with his beautiful old head bowed down on his beautiful old chest. She thought, He sure better be praying. And then she thought, Praying looks just like grief. Like shame. Like regret. (93-94)

The next four passages are words spoken by Rev. John Ames, and they sum up much of my own theology.

I really don’t think preachers ought to lie. Especially about religion. (99)

Thinking about hell doesn’t help me live the way I should. I believe this is true for most people. And thinking that other people might go to hell just feels evil to me, like a very grave sin. So I don’t want to encourage anyone else to think that way. Even if you don’t assume that you can know in individual cases, it’s still a problem to think about people in general as if they might go to hell. You can’t see the world the way you ought to if you let yourself do that. Any judgment of the kind is a great presumption. And presumption is a very grave sin. I believe this is sound theology, in its way. (101)

“If the Lord is more gracious than any of us can begin to imagine, and I’m sure He is, then your Doll and a whole lot of people are safe, and warm, and very happy. And probably a little bit surprised. If there is no Lord, then things are just the way they look to us. Which is really much harder to accept. I mean, it doesn’t feel right. There has to be more to it all, I believe.”
“Well, but that’s what you want to believe, ain’t it?” (Lila)
“That doesn’t mean it isn’t true.” (143-143)

‘Of course misfortunes have opened the way to blessings you would never have thought to hope for, that you would not have been ready to understand as blessings if they had come to you in your youth, when you were uninjured, innocent. The future always finds us changed.’ So then it is part of the providence of God, as I see it, that the blessing or happiness can have very different meanings from one time to another. ‘This is not to say that joy is a compensation for loss, but that each of them, joy and loss, exists in its own right and must be recognized for what it is. Sorrow is very real, and loss feels very final to us. Life on earth is difficult and grave, and marvelous. Our experience is fragmentary. Its parts don’t add up. They don’t even belong in the same calculation. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are all parts of one thing. Nothing makes sense until we understand that experience does not accumulate like money, or memory, or like years and frailties. Instead, it is presented to us by a God who is not under any obligation to the past except in His eternal, freely given constancy.’ (223)

I mean, just, wow. That’s how I feel the whole time I am reading these books. The aching beauty, the grim loneliness, the frail joy, the probing faith, the way she captures the contour of the soul moves me every time. If you haven’t yet read Robinson’s trilogy, get to the library now and get started. These books will stand among the great works of 21st century literature, I’m certain.

Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013, 133 pp.

Reading for PreachingMy credentials as an avid reader are well established by the very substance of this blog. I love to read. I read a lot. I love to talk about books, to invest in them and dissect them and commit them to memory. Professionally, I am a preacher. When I read the title Reading for Preaching, I placed my book order without delay. I thought this book was written for me.

While I enjoyed Plantinga’s book, I quickly discovered it was not written for me. Plantinga makes a compelling case for why a preacher should endeavor to regularly read, especially novels, biographies, poetry and journalistic narratives. I am clearly already sold, and a quick skim through the long lists of reviews posted here will show that I most frequently turn to those precise genres (except poetry, which I should read more often). For example, Plantinga thinks it unrealistic for a preacher to read as many as six “classic novels” each year, and offers hope that preachers will read just one.(41-42) While all my fiction reading is not “classic novels,” I definitely read a lot more than that already.

However, Plantinga does offer great perspective and insight about why reading matters–for me and for other preachers. He begins with the obvious: reading is a source of illustrations for sermons. There is nothing worse to me than a tired, canned sermon illustration, and Plantinga urges preachers to “dig up your own stuff.” (22) He points out the ways that reading can make preachers more attentive not only to the possible illustrations in texts, but events in everyday life that might illuminate the gospel. Reading also serves to “attune the preacher’s ear,” to help a preacher register how best to speak to a given audience. Plantinga identifies a variety of dictions a preacher might use–from tuxedo formal to tank-top casual to upscale colloquial or business casual (49). Each one pitches the message to a particular setting, designed to speak appropriately and engagingly to the audience at hand. Reading a variety of dictions helps the preacher recognize and develop the right tone for his or her own congregation and message. He recommends children’s literature as an especially good tool.

The second half of Plantinga’s book talks about the importance of reading as a source of wisdom for the preacher. While scripture remains the preeminent source of wisdom, other literature also provides a great deal of wise insight into the human condition. He highlights the way literature can open us to a variety of worlds and life experiences beyond our own:

The preacher wants his program of reading to complicate some of his fixed ideas, to impress him with some of the mysteries of life, with its variousness, with its surprises, with the pushes and pulls within it. (95)

Plantinga also points to the ways that literature and journalism can help us explore good and evil, sin and grace with a more complex, nuanced understanding.

The whole book is rich with appreciation and encouragement for the life of preaching, and the importance of sermons in the life of Christian worship. For example, he remarks:

The unpredictability of the preaching event gives no one license to wing it. Faithful preachers work hard on their sermons, understanding that although a fruitful result may be God’s gift, hard work is the preacher’s calling. After all, it is audacious to speak for God. (43)

It is a bold and humble task we do as preachers, and I cannot imagine undertaking it without an army of words behind me from other authors. Plantinga’s argument for the importance of reading did not move me because I am already convinced, but this book did encourage me to see my indulgence in good fiction not as a rest from quality reading, but a different kind of endeavor at building my theological and emotional vocabulary for preaching.

I finished this book and felt much better about setting aside the latest book from a consultant on church leadership, returning instead to the public library, where I checked out nearly a dozen new books, a mixture of quality fiction, history and biography. Now, to read them all!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Dutton Books, New York, 2012, 318 pp.

The_Fault_in_Our_StarsI admit I just wanted to see what all the buzz was about with John Green. I started with Looking for Alaska, not willing to even begin a book about kids with cancer if it was just going to be some sappy tear-fest. When I met the voice of John Green in Looking for Alaska, I couldn’t wait to read the next thing–even if it risked making me cry for days. The good news is: it didn’t. Yes, I cried, but mostly I smiled, and I think I even smiled while I was crying.

The narrator of the story is Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl with terminal cancer. The story opens with her attending a support group for teens with cancer, where she meets the gorgeous and charming survivor Augustus Waters. What follows is a simple, youthful love story between the two star-crossed lovers, with their love binding them together through (and in spite of) the reality of their cancers. They bond over Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, with an unanswered cliffhanger, and they journey all the way to Amsterdam to meet the author. Hazel and Augustus are charming as individuals and as a couple, and their story is beautiful and engrossing.

What is most impressive is the way John Green creates a world for these two–a world dominated by their cancer, but not limited to it, and he finds space for them to exist as human beings beyond their diagnoses. His humor (and therefore the characters’) is irreverent and occasionally biting, with no tolerance for saccharine sentimentality or easy answers. Green and his characters demand depth and authenticity, and they provide it in return.

The novel is packed with beautiful observations about life and death, pain and suffering. Here are some examples I want to remember. First, in response to a plaque in the Waters’ house that says, “Without pain, how could we know joy?”

This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate. (35)

When their friend Isaac loses his girlfriend and his sight, he goes into a destructive rampage of tears. Augustus observes: “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” (63)

Hazel describes herself as a grenade to those who love her. Because she knows that she will die and cause them so much pain, she wants to protect others (and herself) from loving her. (99) If only Hazel’s experience was unique! How many people in this world refuse to let themselves be loved (or to love others) because they fear that the danger inside them will explode and harm someone?

Then there is this exchange:

“You’re a hard person to comfort,” Augustus said.

“Easy comfort isn’t comforting,” I said. “You were a rare and fragile flower once. You remember.” (145)

As teens who know death is near, they spend a lot of time contemplating its reality and meaning. Augustus has even researched the numbers. There are seven billion living people, and 98 billion dead people, which means that there are fourteen dead people for every living one. Augustus contemplates a plan for each living person to remember 14 dead ones, so that everyone can be remembered.(151) It made me think about the cloud of witnesses, hovering around us and cheering for us.

The Fault in Our Stars is packed with wisdom and insight, with honesty and wit. I loved every page, even the sad ones, and there were many more pages overwhelming with joy than with sorrow, which is pretty much the book’s message–we love even though we may suffer for it, because the goodness of love far outweighs the sorrow of loss.

Looking for Alaska by John Green, Dutton Books, New York, 2005, 221 pp.

Looking for AlaskaI have been wanting to see what all the hype is about with John Green. Many of the young people I know have been deeply touched by his books, and adults who have read them have also appreciated them. Now I know why. Looking for Alaska was a great read.

The narrator is Miles Halter, an intellectual high school student who loves to read biographies and memorize the last words of famous people. He convinces his caring parents to let him attend Culver Creek Academy, the same boarding school in Alabama that his father attended. There, he meets his roommate Chip, a scholarship student who goes by “The Colonel,” a Japanese student named Takumi, and, most importantly, Alaska Young, whom he describes as the sexiest girl he’s ever seen. Her room is filled with books, and she is the perfect combination of beauty, rebelliousness, and intellect, with a measure of crazy thrown in. He is christened as “Pudge,” an ironic moniker given his slender frame.

The foursome become fast friends, standing together against the rich, preppy “Weekday Warriors” and breaking all the rules. They experiment with sex, alcohol, cigarettes and defiance. They execute pranks, meet (and break up with) their first girlfriends and boyfriends, and study for classes. They are a charming bunch of misfits, and I loved them immediately, just like Pudge falls for Alaska.

However, tragedy disrupts this joyous journey through adolescence. A member of the group dies, and the rest of them blame themselves in various ways. The second half of the book deals with this guilt, with the sense of responsibility and the burden of grief.

One of the aspects of the book I most appreciated was the presentation of adults in the story. Much like adults in the Peanuts universe, adults in Looking for Alaska are a benign presence, but generally absent from the lives of the young characters. Miles’ parents are caring and kind, the wise headmaster and professor provide structure and rules without harshness or ego. Otherwise, the young people are left on their own to navigate their world. This is a refreshing approach.

What won me over most of all, though, was John Green’s clever and compassionate writing. There was humor and honesty, insight and reflection, all told in an approachable style. The characters spoke an openness that immediately endeared them to me, and I just wanted to keep hanging out with the gang and enjoying Green’s writing. I look forward to reading more.

The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen, Bantam Books, 2011, 273 pp.

Peach KeeperThis book was like candy. So sweet, so nice, so delicious, that you just keep having one more bite after another. It’s not deep or nutritious, it’s not going to make you healthier or better in any way, but it tastes wonderful and it brings great pleasure.

The Peach Keeper tells the story of Willa Jackson, who grew up in a hard-working family, and Paxton Osgood, a wealthy socialite. They are now in their early 20s, and both have returned to their small town in the mountains of North Carolina. Paxton is the leader of the society crowd, while Willa runs a store selling organic outdoor equipment in the tourist part of town. Paxton and Willa went to high school together, but their social status kept them far apart. However, their grandmothers share a history full of mutual secrets.

The story brings Willa and Paxton together because Paxton is restoring the Blue Ridge Madam, an old home owned by Willa’s family before they lost their fortune. Paxton wants Willa to attend the opening with the society crowd, but she naturally resists. The plot is a mixture of feel-good twists and turns that include women helping women, the development of a friendship across class lines, the discovery of old secrets and mysteries, the grandmothers revealing all, and the young women’s journey into independence and full adulthood. There’s sweet romance too–Willa with Paxton’s brother Colin, and Paxton with her longtime friend Sebastian.

This is candy, but it’s the good stuff. Well-written, smart, funny, upbeat, interesting, exciting, with the added bonus of being a story about women’s friendships and support for one another. Take it to the beach or on an airplane, consume the whole thing in one sitting without the guilt. Enjoy.

Benediction by Kent Haruf, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, 258 pp.

BenedictionThis book came in a big stack of like-new hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law’s next door neighbor. She and I share a love of reading, and she knows my preference for literary fiction and stories about women. This is one of the best ones she has ever passed my way. I’d never heard of Kent Haruf, but I want to hear much more from him.

Benediction is the story of a dying man, Dad Lewis, his wife, his daughter, and the community that holds him in his dying days. The book begins in the doctor’s office with the terminal diagnosis, and follows through until his death. It offers his own perspective, revealing secrets from his life that will remain hidden forever once he dies. Some are guilt-ridden, others are acts of compassion, most are a mix of the two, like the memories of most human lives. The story unpacks the relationship with his wife and daughter and estranged son, sorting through the past and the future that will not be.

Meanwhile, there is a secondary cast of characters–the community around Dad Lewis and his family. There are neighbors and church friends, even the pastor and his family. While Dad Lewis and his family are arrested by death and dying, their lives go on–teens explore sexuality, children enter families, new friendships develop, careers unravel. The world outside the Lewis home goes on without them.

As someone who spends a lot of time with people who are dying and their families, I can testify that this story has a depth of truth and insight into end-of-life situations . From the awkward visits to the easy ones, from the hard truth-telling conversations to the meaningless ones, Haruf captures what it’s like to be with the dying.

The thing that most captivated me, however, was the voice Haruf develops in his writing. It is a sparse style, with much dialogue and little to get in the way. Its descriptions are muted, as though there was a slight haze over everything, which seems entirely appropriate to the situation. The prose is simple, elegant and beautiful.

One of my favorite sections, of course, is from the pastor.

I’m finished as a minister. I haven’t done much good. … People don’t want to be disturbed. They want assurance. They don’t come to church on Sunday morning to think about new ideas or even the old important ones. They want to hear what they’ve been told before, with only some small variation on what they’ve been hearing all their lives, and then they want to go home and eat pot roast and say it was a good service and feel satisfied. (193)

That’s how I feel a lot of the time in ministry, and it felt good to see that named and reflected on the page–however depressing it is.

Benediction is a beautiful novel, and not nearly as melancholy as the topic makes it sound. The characters are endearing and real, so you can imagine them in their town having these conversations with one another. I recommend it highly.

 

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls, Scribner, 304 pp.

Silver StarCharlotte Holladay ran away from her life as a Southern belle, daughter of the wealthy family living in their former plantation in a small town in Virginia. She married and had children, but left town after her husband’s death. She made a new life for herself as a wanderer, folk singer, drug user and wanderer in California in the 1960’s. Now she is a single mom of two daughters, ages 12 and 15, when life gets to be too much. She has left them before, but never for very long, and this time the police take notice.

The two girls, Liz and Bean, take a bus to the family home in Virginia, where they have not been since they were very young. They find Charlotte’s brother as a recluse in the family home, and Bean (the younger) begins to discover the history of her father and his family.  Eventually Charlotte returns, but the girls have made a new life in Byler. They begin working for Jerry Maddox, who is a bully in every way. The reader can immediately see where the plot is headed, as Jerry’s behavior eventually harms the girls and causes a catastrophic upset in the system of this Southern town, and of Liz and Bean’s lives.

I checked out this book because Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle was outstanding. It was deep and emotional and detailed and beautiful. This book lacked all of those things. Liz and Bean and Charlotte’s relationships with each other were generally uninspired, and the plot itself was predictable and unsurprising. While it wasn’t poorly written, the writing did not speak with any great art or beauty, and the characters failed to rise above stereotypes.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I rarely give poor reviews–largely because I don’t read things I don’t enjoy. However, I kept thinking that this one would get better, based on my experience of The Glass Castle. It never did. Don’t waste your time on this one. At best, it gets a “meh.” Hopefully Walls will return to her former ways in her next work.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, Little, Brown and Company, 2014, 337 pp.

downloadI kept hearing Joshua Ferris on the radio on NPR in recent weeks, but always interrupted—I’d catch an appreciative glimpse from the host or quip from the author, along with the book title. When the title appeared on the “new books” shelf in my local library, it seemed a small miracle. In our small town, I often have to wait a long time for the newest NPR-promoted titles. I grabbed it up, excited to be the first one to take it home to read.

And then I started reading it, and discovered I really didn’t like it. Meeting the narrator, Paul O’Rourke, was like going on a blind date with a guy you met online, only to discover that instead of sensitive and interesting, he’s just a self-centered nerd consumed with his own loneliness, lust, and baseball. He is unable to connect, especially with women, and lacks empathy, which made it impossible for me to empathize with him. At the end of my first date with the book, which lasted for 50 pages or so, I didn’t really want to see Paul O’Rourke ever again.

Yet all that NPR press made me keep going. I realized it was outside my typical style, so I persisted in the hopes that I would be won over. In the end, I can’t say that I liked the book or enjoyed reading it, but I am glad I did bother to finish it. It had its moments, and by the end I found some sympathy for Paul O’Rourke, likely because by the end of the book he became a more sympathetic character.

Paul O’Rourke is a dentist in New York City with an elite clientele, an obsession with the Red Sox, and a terribly needy and disastrous history with social and romantic relationships. His life carries on from day to day, back and forth between his dental practice and his nightly Red Sox rituals, and the narrative we hear of this life is petulant and awkward. The plot of the book begins when someone anonymously creates a website for his dental practice, followed by a strident social media presence. The anonymous “other Paul” begins a prolific public campaign of speech for him, including allusions to a strange new/ancient religious and ethnic sect. At first, O’Rourke is obsessed and angry, but he eventually becomes intrigued and even enamored of the other Paul’s ideas. The experience sends him on a quest for a deeper engagement in life, breaking him free from his strangled approach to relationships and opening him to new possibilities. It is a hopeful story.

I think it was the passages about the experience of being a Red Sox fan that kept me going and made me want to read more. The author captures my own relationship with the Red Sox, before and after 2004.

The single happiest night of my life came in October of 2004 when Mueller forced extra innings with a single to center field and, more spectacularly, David Ortiz homered in the bottom of the twelfth, halting a Yankees’ sweep of the American League Championship and initiating literally the most staggering comeback in sports history, culminating in a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to take the World Series. It was the validation of all those years of suffering, the cause of an unexpected euphoria, and a total cataclysm. Sometime in 2005 … the unlikely fact that the Red Sox had won finally sank in, and a malaise crept over me. I wasn’t prepared for the changes that accompanied the win—for instance, the sudden influx of new fans, none of them forged, as it were, in the fires of the team’s eighty-six-year losing streak. … I worried that we would forget the memory of loss across innumerable barren years and think no more of the scrappy self-preservation that was our defining characteristic in the face of humiliation in the face of defeat. (147)

He carries on there about becoming the team we’ve always hated, poaching players and buying victory, all the same feelings I’ve had since the Red Sox changed from being perpetual heartbreakers to repeat champions. Winning is great, but it changes what it means to follow my team. Later in the book, he reflects on the end of the 2011 season:

How happy I was that the Red Sox were acting once again like the Red Sox: a cursed and collapsing people. I didn’t want my team to lose; I just didn’t want my team to be the de facto winner. … It was our duty, as Red Sox fans, to root for Boston than it was to ensure in some deeply moral way—I really mean it when I say it was a moral act, a principled act of human decency—that we not resemble the New York Yankees in any respect. (324)

Oh, how refreshing to read someone who gets me about being a Red Sox fan.

So, the book had its moments. Excellent commentary on Red Sox fandom, interesting reflections on postmodern religion and the role of doubt, along with the problems of identity in our social media constructed culture. I may not have enjoyed it, but I finished it—and didn’t regret the time spent.

 

 

 


About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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