I’ve been reading a lot more than I expected to, so this month I’ll be breaking up my reviews into several posts. If you want to participate in the challenge, you can find my original post here!
A Memoir: Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber
I found this memoir to be incredibly powerful. As someone who thinks a lot about the future of organized religion in our country, I loved reading about Nadia’s story. She’s a heavily tattooed, foul-mouthed Lutheran minister who founded a holy space, the Church for All Sinners and Saints where everyone can feel accepted for who they are. This is a must-read for anyone questioning whether religion is for them or are simply struggling to find God’s meaning in our world.
A play: Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
I couldn’t get past the blatant sexism rampant in the play to even begin to determine its merits. It just made me really angry with the remarks about tainted women and the men interrupting the women because men’s thoughts are more important. And the self-righteousness of the priest who, in my opinion is wrong in his beliefs. Terrible play. I don’t recommend it to anyone.
A book with one word in the title: Fracture by Megan Miranda
This started out as a usual accident/recovery story when Delaney Maxwell falls through the ice covering a lake in her neighborhood. She should have died, but instead she wakes up with a fully functioning brain and the ability to sense when people are going to die. Instead of the heart-rending recovering story I thought this was going to be, it becomes a thriller when Delaney meets a boy with the same ability she has, but he’s not as innocent as he seems. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this book in one sitting. Amazing writing, wonderfully real characters, and a plot that leaves you guessing all the way to the end. I recommend this without reservation.
A book with non-human characters: Xoe by Sara C. Roethle
Step aside, Bella Swan, there’s a new player in town. Set in the small town of Shelby, Oregon, this short book follows the story of Xoe Meyers as her best friend is turned into a werewolf, her new boyfriend turns out to be a vampire, and she discovers the secret to her own ancestry. Although similarities to Twilight are evident, they don’t detract from Roethle’s originality and skill. There are some typos, grammatical errors, and some stylistic decisions that I didn’t enjoy, but Roethle’s skill at weaving an engaging story overshadowed all of that. The characters are believable and unique, the relationships between them are healthy, and the plot is interesting. I even bought the sequel immediately after finishing the first book because I couldn’t bear to not know what happened next! I enjoyed this book and fans of Twilight and other supernatural stories should check it out!
A Non-fiction Book: The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I don’t usually read historical non-fiction books, but my friend told me about Caterina Sforza and recommended her biography to me. I love my friend, so I persevered through a book I normally wouldn’t have picked up. Elizabeth Lev’s ability to bring historical events to life is evident on each page as she skillfully weaves Caterina’s colorful life history together with the backdrop of intrigue that plagued 15th century Italy and affected her life. The only thing that detracted from my enjoyment of the book was that the names of the numerous historical players were difficult to follow at times. Although this kind of book is not my go-to genre, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the oft-forgotten medieval history of women.
What books have you read this January? I would love any and all suggestions you’d like to leave in the comments!