Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor

My friend Micha wrote about this book on her fabulous blog (I couldn't find the link to the exact entry--but here's a general link). I got it out of the library, curious, but not sure I'd read it--I thought maybe I'd page through it, then take it back, unread. So not my kind of thing. Instead I sat down and read and read and read. And now I'm looking forward to reading Barbara Brown Taylor's other books.

About her experience becoming a priest in the Episcopalian Church, working in a large urban ministry in Atlanta, then finding a tiny parish in rural Georgia, where she was the only woman priest in any denomination. Then leaving that parish--leaving the ministry completely, to figure out her own spirituality outside the church.

I was raised Catholic, and for the past couple of years I've been meditating at a Zen temple near my home. So I know something about Christianity, and considerably less about Buddhism, but I've been learning. Never took a religion class in college or grad school, haven't read much on the subject, but it does fascinate me.

I liked this book a lot. Lots to think about. Religion definitely fascinates me--though in a distant, removed way.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel

I read Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, several years ago, and really liked it. I've also read many of the "Dykes to Watch Out For" comics over the years.

So, Fun Home was her memoir about her father--his death, apparently a suicide, though apparently catalogued by the police as an accident. But she and her family seem clearly to view it as a suicide.

Anyway, I liked Fun Home a lot. This book, essentially a memoir about her mother, I didn't like as much. There's not the same cohesive story there, and though it's been several years since I read Fun Home, this book just didn't feel nearly as compelling.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tenth of December, by George Saunders

I just finished George Saunders' new book of stories, Tenth of December--released on January 8, 2013.

According to an awesome profile in the New York Times Magazine ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/magazine/george-saunders-just-wrote-the-best-book-youll-read-this-year.html ), George Saunders has written the best book you'll read this year.

I did love it. My favorite book of his since 2000's Pastoralia. I'm already looking forward to reading it again.

I don't know what more to say about it. Thoughtful, bizarre stories that show Saunders' sense of humor, thoughtful worldview, and are fabulously weird and not weird, both.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Monsters of Templeton & Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

After finishing Arcadia, I had to read Lauren Groff's other books: her first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, and a collection of stories, Delicate Edible Birds. Arcadia was the best, feels the most fleshed out and thorough--The Monsters of Templeton was great, but felt very first novel-y in places, and some of the stories were really strong (Groff spans such a wide range of time in both Templeton and the stories--it's a lot of fun), but again, there were a lot of spots in the stories that felt very young too. Especially after Arcadia, I'm excited to watch Groff mature and grow as a writer.