Looking for something new to read or recommend to your book-loving friends? There’s always a stack at my bedside or downloaded to my Kindle, so beginning with this first Reading Roundup, I’ll periodically share what’s impacting me. Here are four books to kick us off. Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner. I’ve once again dug out this well-worn book of daily meditations. My dad gave me Listening to Your Life after buying a copy for himself, so we’ve been known to call each other up and say, “Read today’s entry in Buechner!” Frederick Buechner, a 91-year old Presbyterian minister, is a hero to me because he’s written not only theological works but also fiction, including novels that were finalists for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. This collection draws from his sermons, nonfiction writings, and novels to create a daily feast for the soul. If you’re feeling creatively and spiritually drained, grab a copy for yourself and send a copy to that friend who loves to reflect on life and faith.
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson. Hudson is a new find for me. If you’re ever near me waiting in the school pickup line and see me slapping the steering wheel while I hoot with laughter, it’s probably because I’m listening to the Big Boo Cast, her podcast with fellow-author Melanie Shankle. A Little Salty is her book of “Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon,” and it turned out to be a great mix of humor and heartfelt reflections. This is the perfect book for a travel bag and a great one to share with girl friends, especially those who know and love the Deep South.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is one of those books I wish I’d read when it came out over two decades ago. I recently ordered the 20th anniversary edition, and I will be sharing it with my two teenagers as we continue to discuss issues of race and civil rights in America. In this work of historical fiction, Curtis lets us see the civil rights movement through the eyes of a smart, funny kid named Kenny Watson as he navigates family, school, and community life in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. When the Watsons take a road trip from Flint to visit family in Birmingham, Alabama, we not only see the realities of a black family entering the Jim-Crowe-era South but also witness with them the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Moving and memorable, the book is going to prompt some great discussions at our house.
Single. Dating. Engaged. Married. Navigating Love+Life in the Modern Age by Ben Stuart. Can I mention again that I have teenagers? If you’ve got a teen or young adult in your life, then figuring out the world of love and relationships is going to be a hot button topic. I confess I haven’t quite finished this book because I keep skipping around to pertinent chapters as I try to figure out my parenting philosophy on things like dating. I feel like I’m in on-the-job training on this topic! What Stuart does so beautifully is balance spiritual insight with practical advice, so I’m confident that this is a book I can recommend to my young adult friends for sound principles on things like valuing singleness, navigating our sex-obsessed culture, and how to know when you’ve met “the one.” Ben and his wife Donna have also released several short videos based on the book to answer readers’ questions.
Happy reading, friends!