Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:
(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)
Each week, we carefully curate a handful of books for church leaders that orient us toward the health and the flourishing of our congregations.
One of the finest spiritual memoirs of the last 50 years!
Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
(Pope Francis, Anne Lamott, C.S. Lewis, MORE)
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable moments of Grace
Hardback: Riverhead, 2014.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
“An essay collection that tackles tough subjects with sensitive and unblinking honesty…Lamott is refreshingly frank…[and] has the rare ability to weave bracing humor seamlessly with earnest, Christian faith.”
A Review of
Reviewed by Jasmine Smart
In an article in GQ magazine, Andrew Corsello wrote on comedian Louis C.K., identifying C.K.’s genius as being the ability to say the things his audience isn’t even aware they’re thinking until Louis says them for us. This same sentiment, it seems to me, applies to Anne Lamott. Her writings speak to universal concerns, and yet she writes in such a way that whatever sorrow I am bringing with me seems to be directly addressed. She recently celebrated her sixtieth birthday, and she seems to be approaching this new decade in her life with the same artful connection to the world around her that she has exhibited time and time again in her writing. In her most recently published book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, she approaches the question of how to make sense out of a world of chaos: “One rarely knows where to begin the search for meaning, though by necessity, we can only start where we are. That would be fine, when where we find ourselves turns out to be bearable. What about when it isn’t—after 9/11, for instance, or a suicide in the family? I really don’t have a clue” (2).
A Feature Review of
Reviewed by Ellen Painter Dollar.
Anne Lamott opens her newest book, Help. Thanks. Wow.: The Three Essential Prayers (Riverhead 2012) with these words: “I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the past twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple.” Reading that, I silently uttered one of the three prayers that Lamott presents as essential: “Thanks.” The notion that life-changing prayer can be simple was a message I needed to hear.
One of my first ventures on the internet was launching a fan website (and email discussion group) for Madeleine L’Engle. Needless to say, I am very eager to check out the new biography of her that will be released this week: Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly says: In this insightful biography … Marcus draws upon dozens of interviews with those who knew L’Engle personally and professionally, as well as with representatives of “the thousands of students, teachers, librarians, aspiring writers, neighbors and others who crossed her path.” The result is both impressionistic and satisfyingly complex. … For those who read L’Engle during childhood, this book will serve as a valuable companion to the stories they cherish.”
A Feature Review of
Reviewed by Heather Grady.
A portion of this review is included in our current print issue.
(Which is in the mail to subscribers now! Are you a subscriber? )
[ Watch a video of Anne talking about this book…]
I began to write this review halfway through listening to the audiobook version of Some Assembly Required as I traveled back from a trip to North Carolina. I was pondering the adjectives I could insert to describe the ever profound, yet laughable tales of Anne Lamott. I had waited anxiously for this follow up to Operating Instructions – her journal of her son’s first year. What a joy it had been to come to know the crazy cast of true life characters that made Anne and Sam’s “family” of blood and choice. The vivid illustrations of her first time mothering mistakes were engaging and endearing. How could this book disappoint with Sam, Anne’s son, that baby I fell for in Operating Instructions, co-authoring? Yet, even with the treat of Sam and Anne narrating the audiobook, it did.
The first half of the book lived up to my high expectations. Anne writes from a place of division – devastation and worry about her so young son and his girlfriend Amy (they were 19 and 20 respectively) and their impending parenthood; and her enthusiasm at the notion of becoming a grandmother while wishing the timing were ten years later. She narrates so well the birth of Jax around whom a makeshift family–including Amy and her parents who would visit from North Carolina – is created. How as Jax enters the world, Anne falls for Amy and after he appears, Sam falls for Jax and of course, the grandparents fall for “the loveliest baby boy.” Anne describes meeting Jax: “I felt as though I was seeing a river gorge, from way up on high on a bridge, silenced by the vastness of his tiny face, the depth of his brown-black eyes.”
Watch for not one, but two reviews of this book in our next print issue!
Also watch a short video of Lamott talking about this book…