Rachel Held Evans just released her third book. I haven’t read it yet but it is on my list.
I encountered Evans through her blog, then her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town, now called Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions.
I read this on an airplane ride between Djibouti and Minnesota. Her youth group childhood could practically have been my own, which I think is one of the reasons this resonated so powerfully with people of my generation. Here was our story! What I appreciated most about this book was her honest struggle, her willingness to ask questions and her openness about being on a journey that wasn’t over yet. My own faith has been challenged and sharpened since those youth group days and I sometimes feel I could write a book, “Evolving in Djibouti Town, how an American Christian relearned faith while living in a Muslim country.”
I read this a while ago. Some parts were great, some parts were a challenge for me to relate to. For example, because I am lazy and ultra-casual when it comes to hair and clothes, I struggled to connect with her trauma over not being able to cut her hair for a year. Plus, once you’ve lived under a headscarf in Somalia for almost a year, clothing and hair becomes an entirely different thing than it is for most American Christian women. But I willingly and quickly acknowledge that this is a silly thing to take issue with, the book is still worth a read.
The new one!
I haven’t read it yet so I can’t say anything about it. I’ve read about it, does that count? Not really. I’m confident this book is full of challenge and grace and humor and honesty. Whether or not a reader agrees with Evans theologically, her words hold powerful sway among American Christians. I appreciate how she leaves room for dissent while standing firm on her own convictions, not an easy thing to do.
What I’m Reading This Week
Home Leave: A Novel by Brittani Sonnenberg. Actually I am listening to this one and I’m almost finished. I really enjoyed it. The author uses unique voices (like the voice of a a house and you’ll have to make it all the way to the end to understand the significance of this) and shifts in time, place, and perspective to keep the storyline fresh. It is a cuttingly insightful look into the life of an expatriate family who is dealing with both the unique challenges of living abroad but also deep family grief and secrets. I especially enjoyed the chapters about one of the daughters, when she tries to transition as a TCK into adult life, both in the US and abroad.
The Turtle of Oman: A Novel, by Naomi Shihab Nye, a book for ages 9-12 or so. We are reading this one out loud together and so far I am really enjoying it. It reads smoothly and is about places familiar in our region of the world. Oman, Dubai, people speaking Arabic. Really a fun world to enter through fiction for this age. I’d like to read more like this.
Still reading this one, it is really fun to stop and hear my kids say, “Hey, we’ve been on Turkish Airways.” Or, “That is what it felt like to move.”
It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, by Lynnsey Addario. Am further into this book now and am thoroughly enjoying it. She is honest about the challenges personally and interpersonally, about feeling conflicted regarding when to photograph and when not to, about the impact of war on who she is. The photos are hard to see in the Kindle version, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it just for the pictures, but for the story and the perspective, I totally recommend. Anyone remember D.L. Mayfield’s series: War Photographers? Here is the real deal.
What are you reading this week?
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