Reading Reflections

Thoughts on books about faith, family, and disability.

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Searching for African American ProtagonistsWhy I want my kids to read about lives that seem different from theirs.
Searching for African American Protagonists
Mike Mantin/Flickr

We've been reading chapter books with our two older kids—Penny, now 8, and William, nearly 6—for a few years now. We generally stick to the classics: Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte's Web, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Little House on the Prairie, Pippi Longstocking, Charlie ...

The Serious Pleasure of Summer ReadingTen books--for kids and adults--to challenge and entertain you this summer.
The Serious Pleasure of Summer Reading
ClaraDon/Flickr

School has finally finished for my kids, and the temperatures are finally reaching the 80s. Summer has arrived, which means I've gotten emails recently from the town library, the school library, from teachers and other parents, all related to summer reading. Our eight-year old daughter Penny came ...

Why Christians Should Read Secular NovelsAmong other things, great books help us love our neighbor
Why Christians Should Read Secular Novels
Vainsang/Flickr

A lesbian wedding, childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, violence, pornography, and murder all show up within the pages of Wally Lamb's most recent novel We Are Water. So does love, loyalty, healing, beauty, and a confused evangelical Christian. In many ways, it was a hard book to read, particularly ...

Four Ways to Help Your Child Love ReadingReading is in decline among adolescents. Parents can help.
Four Ways to Help Your Child Love Reading
ThomasLife/Flickr

If you were conducting a poll and asked me if I read regularly to my children, I would say yes. I can name chapter books we have enjoyed with our older two: James and the Giant Peach, Pippi Longstocking, The Trumpet of the Swan, among others. I can point to our youngest child's favorite book ...

What's Your Favorite Spiritual Memoir? (and other reading notes)

Some book and article notes in a sec, but first: What's your favorite spiritual memoir? I'm looking for a good one. I've enjoyed Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, and Kate Braestrup, to give you a sense of what I like. Any other favorites out there?

On the bedside table: I abandoned The Sun Also Rises ...

My "Successful" Bumbling Writing JourneySome thoughts on how I got from there to here, with thanks.

I am reading a wonderful manuscript of a book that I hope will find a publisher one day. It's a memoir that includes a child with a disability and a spiritual journey and many hopes and fears and dreams and some very lovely writing. Despite its many strengths, it may well be years before it finds a ...

Why We Need Paternity LeaveHaving Dad take time off makes for a more balanced family life

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The morning progressed and Peter tried to help out—packing lunches, showers, getting dressed, making beds, brushing teeth—as our children continued to resist his assistance. They swarmed me for most of the time, with one break to pillow-fight with their father.

Liza Mundy's recent article in The ...

What I'm Reading and TweetingWhat's the most interesting thing you've read this week?

A few nights back, we thought all the kids were asleep, only to discover Penny under our covers, reading Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship through Letters, written back and forth over the years by Amy Andrews and Jessica Griffith. "This is a cool book," she told me. And although I'm certain the ...

Book Update and What I'm Reading and TweetingI've submitted my manuscript of Small Talk (hooray!) and here are some books and articles about faith and disability that might be of interest...

First of all, could someone please remind me that I should never try to submit a manuscript for a new book on January 3? I'm pretty sure my deadline for A Good and Perfect Gift was December 30th, 2010, and then I went and agreed to submit Small Talk today. The bad news is I got really stressed out about ...

What I'm Reading and Tweeting (and How to Find a Good and Perfect Gift)Down syndrome in ancient art, Jesus isn't white, men doing housework, and more...

I've heard lately that it's hard to get a high-quality copy of A Good and Perfect Gift. And I'm sorry about that! Apparently Amazon is printing its own copies, which means that if you order one there (for the low-low price of $6.98, which should have been a clue), instead of a beautiful matte-finished ...

What I'm Tweeting

A few articles from this week that you might enjoy:

A modern image of the typical#AmericanFamily far from Norman Rockwell's#Thanksgiving portrait http://ow.ly/rdxEB #Diversity @angier58

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"It's time to involve boys and #men..in the#fight to end #ViolenceAgainstWomen"ow.ly/rlsvU @guardian

"Meet Sally ...

Favorite Books of 2013What were your favorite books of 2013?

Books lists are coming out. The New York Times has announced their editors' favorites. President Obama has been shopping for books. I'm on my way to the bookstore later this afternoon, with a list that includes The Boxcar Children, Pippi Longstocking, and the first in the Ivy and Bean series. So if ...

Are you Ready for Advent? (Plus What I'm Reading)Advent is right around the corner. Here are my number one suggestions for adult and kid participation in the season.

Every year, Peter and I pull out our very favorite Advent book: God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. (Here's what I wrote last year, when I recommended it.) If you'd like the opportunity to prepare your heart to celebrate the incarnation, this book is for you.

And if you ...

Talking Taboo: An Interview with Enuma Okoro and Erin Lane About Women, Faith, and Hot TopicsWhat "taboo" (which means off-limits but also means sacred) question or issue would you want to see addressed (whether you are a man or a woman) when it comes to talking about faith?

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had the opportunity to contribute an essay about male and female roles within marriage for the new book Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith (see my post Should Men Be the Head of the Household? for the beginning of my essay). I've now had ...

What I'm Reading and Tweeting this Week...

Today I'm excited to be attending the Q Women Conference in NYC, with speakers such as Kate Harris, Katelyn Beaty, Rachel Held Evans, Lauren Winner, Kathy Keller, and Rebekah Lyons (plus a cameo by my husband but that's another story). Next week, I'll share an interview with the editors of Talking Taboo, ...

Should Men Be the Head of the Household?An excerpt from my essay in Talking Taboo: American Women Get Frank About Faith

I am honored to be a contributor to a new collection of essays called Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. I wrote my essay about the question of male "headship" in marriage. Also in the collection, you'll find reflections on motherhood by Micha Boyett, on women as pastors ...

Our Children, Collectively (a guest post by Jennifer Grant in honor of National Adoption Month)"When we adopt a child, whether she was born in a land far away (as my daughter was) or in the next county, we are claiming responsibility for those who are smaller, more vulnerable, and who do not live within the loving care of a family."

"The beggarly question of parentage – what is it, after all? What does it matter, when you come to think of it, whether a child is yours by blood or not? All the little ones of our time are collectively the children of us adults of the time, and entitled to our general care." –Thomas Hardy (from Jude ...

Book News and What to Read this WeekArticles on messy stories and disability, marriage, money, and civil discourse. Plus news about books new and old.

If you read one thing this week, check out Ellen Painter Dollar's cover story for the Christian Century: Messy Stories: Disability and the Choices Parents Make. To whet your appetite:

In the illness narrative, disabilities are seen as problems in need of solving, abnormalities that will surely bring ...
Announcing Small Talk (or, I Get to Write Another Book!)Small Talk (to be published by Zondervan next summer) is a parenting memoir about the “big questions" children ask, the thoughts they provoke, and the laughter, investigation, and soul-searching that follow, for parent and child alike.

Last spring, I received the wonderful news that Zondervan would be my publisher for my next book, Small Talk (subtitle to be decided), which is scheduled to come out next August. It took a few months of back and forth to finally receive the signed contract, so I've written twenty chapters in the meantime. ...

What Reading Material is on Your Bedside Table This Week? What reading is on your bedside table this week?

On the bedside table: I just started God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom by Bob Fu (with Nancy French). I'm 100 pages in, and so far I recommend it as a well-written memoir that takes place within a historical and spiritual context all Americans should try to ...

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