Rewarding Reading: Excerpts from Middling

I write an occasional newsletter (quarterly when I don't forget) to friends and family about my life: music, books, work, and getting older. I'd love to send it to you if you're game. What follows is an excerpt from the summer 2018 issue, focused on books I was into in the moment.

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I’ve been into letters lately—an antiquated genre of writing, it reveals (and demands) a lot of the letter writer. So I appreciated An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. This novel is made up in the middle of correspondence between a man and a woman working out the complexities of their relationship. How they stand up for themselves—how they fight—via letter was pretty compelling to me.

Meanwhile, I’m now starting to get back from the printer some of the books I edited for this fall—a particularly rich season for me. Quick call outs for three of them, although all told there are seven or eight of them, and they’re all quite good.

White Picket Fences by Amy Julia Becker. It takes a special kind of brilliance and humility to write a book on privilege as a white person and not be obnoxious about it. Rewarding reading.

Keep Christianity Weird by Mike Frost. I’m a geek for Mike Frost going way back, and this is the kind of book that I would only trust from someone like him. He delivers the goods.

The Message Devotional Bible. It’s entirely possible and even somewhat common to feel ambivalent about (and even scornful toward) Eugene Peterson’s Message version of the Bible, and yet be hopelessly enamored with every word of Eugene’s other writings. This project
brings them together, and besides enriching a Bible reading experience, it gives you a great window into how the biblical texts inform our thinking, and how our thinking informs our reading of the biblical texts. I edited this precisely so that I could read it.

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