what i’ve been reading: fall 2013

Torn by Justin Lee

{Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee}

Torn is written by Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, who grew up in a conservative Christian home and church and was just sure that we was not gay, even though it turns out he was.  In Torn, Lee tells the story of his journey from being known as “God Boy” at school, to admitting he was gay, to trying to make himself straight, to finally accepting that he could not change who he was.  But within his personal story is of course the bigger story of the church and how unaccepting (or accepting) it is of gays and lesbians.  Lee has done his research, and he has several chapters dealing with everything from “ex-gay ministries” to breakdowns of Bible passages that are often used when discussing the “gays vs. christians” issue.  I think this is one of the most important books I’ve read all year.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

{The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri}

In my opinion, Jhumpa Lahiri can do no wrong.  Ever since I read her first story collection for my First Year Composition Class in college, I have been hooked.  I think I have read all of her previous books twice, going through them slowly and just marveling at the art of it all.  And The Lowland is no exception (although I haven’t read it twice yet.)

All the reviews I’ve read describe The Lowland as the story of two brothers, but really it is the story of one brother (Subhash) and the absence of another brother (Udayan).  It is the story about what a family does when it loses someone in a violent way, and how some people handle it well and other people handle it in destructive ways.  And it is about how life and family continues and how the world goes on around us and keeps evolving and changing, even when monumental things happen within our private lives.

And the ending…the ending just blew me away.  Not because anything particularly spectacular happens, but because it is some of the most true writing I have read and such a beautiful way to tie together a heavy story.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

{The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid}

I’ve heard so many great things about this book, and while I felt it was a bit slower than I expected, the ending just makes it all work.  It’s a short read, and when you get to the last page, even if you pretty much had it figured out, your jaw still drops.  The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of Changez, a Pakistani student in America.  He is telling the story of his time in America, and how much he loves it, to an acquaintance at a restaurant and we learn how 9/11 and the aftermath was a turning point in his life.  This is a book that challenges stereotypes, something I think it is so important for us to do in our post 9/11 worldLove thy Rival by Chad Gibbs

{Love Thy Rival by Chad Gibbs}

I think Chad Gibbs just needs to keep writing books, mostly because  in years that I read a book by him, Auburn has a fantastic football season (I read God and Football in 2010).  But also he needs to keep writing books because they are hilarious.  In Love Thy Rival, Gibbs travels to major sports rivalries around the world (and some minor ones too) and asks people about the rivalry.  If you love a team that is a part of a big rivalry, you will get this book.  Also, I finished reading this book the morning of the Iron Bowl, and look where that got us.  War Eagle!  (Oh, I should point out that Chad Gibbs is also a huge Auburn fan, if that makes me biased towards how he writes about sports at all.)

2 Responses

  1. Becki's Whole Life December 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

    I love hearing what other people are reading. Torn is such an interesting topic and lots to think about as a Christian for sure.

    The Lowland sounds like a good read because it is always interesting to hear about struggles and how people overcome – plus I like that it is set in India. Thanks for sharing!!

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