Joined in Progress: *The Handmaid’s Tale* Group Read

Joined in Progress: *The Handmaid’s Tale* Group Read

We’re just about halfway through the designated time frame for the group read of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Today, participants have been asked to weigh in with some sort of “progress post” – non-spoilery discussion, response to a particular theme, thoughts on Atwood’s writing, etc. – on their reading. I’m hosting this read, but I was probably one of the last to actually start the book. We kicked off on August 21, which was […]

Why I’m (re)reading *The Handmaid’s Tale* – and I’d love to have you join me

Why I’m (re)reading *The Handmaid’s Tale* – and I’d love to have you join me

The things that scare me most aren’t monsters and fantasy creatures – they’re things that really could happen. In that framework, Margaret Atwood’s 1986 novel The Handmaid’s Tale is undoubtedly one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in its year of publication, The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic of speculative fiction, a prime example of dystopian literature, a feminist touchstone, and a recurring visitor to various banned-books […]

What the Hell (House)? Discussing *Small Town Sinners* (Faith & Fiction Roundtable)

What the Hell (House)? Discussing *Small Town Sinners* (Faith & Fiction Roundtable)

Melissa Walker’s YA novel Small Town Sinners (review to be posted on Monday) is the subject of the Faith & Fiction Roundtable’s current book discussion. The novel is focused on a group of teen members of the House of Enlightenment Evangelical church in the small town of West River as they prepare for their annual Hell House presentation/spiritual outreach project, and centered on Lacey Anne Byer, daughter of the assistant pastor. If you’ve never encountered […]

Sunday Salon: Diversifying…or trespassing? An awkward circular argument

Sunday Salon: Diversifying…or trespassing? An awkward circular argument

Every time I read a post about someone’s plans to “diversify” their reading I feel a little awkward. I haven’t always felt this way, but I’ve noticed it over the last decade or so, and I was reminded of it while reading Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow last week. My reading choices tend to have a cultural sameness…and I’m mostly OK with it, except when I branch out and then start questioning it. In my post-college […]

A Discussion for *Leibowitz* (Faith and Fiction Roundtable)

A Discussion for *Leibowitz* (Faith and Fiction Roundtable)

The Faith and Fiction Roundtable’s third book of 2011 was the science-fiction classic A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (reviewed here last week). Wait – a “science-fiction classic” for the Faith and Fiction Roundtable? Science and religion do not have to be opposing forces, although history has shown that they often are. They both offer ways to confront the world’s most complex questions, and the conflicts between them usually arise from a […]

The question remains: What good IS God? (Faith and Fiction Roundtable discussion)

The question remains: What good IS God? (Faith and Fiction Roundtable discussion)

“What good is God?” is a pretty big question, and as is the case with most such questions, my feeling is that it has multiple, complex answers…well beyond the scope of this collection of Philip Yancey’s essays and speeches (which I reviewed earlier this week). Yancey seems to realize the magnitude of the question himself, and acknowledges that the focus of most of the pieces here is a little more specific: “What good is God […]

F’n’F Roundtable #1: Talking about *Certain Women*

F’n’F Roundtable #1: Talking about *Certain Women*

Members of the Faith and Fiction Roundtable – a reading and discussion group that I talked about earlier this week – are discussing our first read of 2011 today; if you’ve also read it, or have thoughts on the themes it brings up, we’d love to have you join in on any or all of our blogs: My Friend Amy Linus’s Blanket Tinasbookreviews Bookjourney Roving Reads Books and Movies Book Addiction Word Lily Ignorant Historian […]

I Believe in Questions; or, Why I Joined the Faith and Fiction Roundtable

I Believe in Questions; or, Why I Joined the Faith and Fiction Roundtable

I was honestly a bit surprised when my application to join the 2011 Faith and Fiction Roundtable was accepted. After all, Amy has heard me call myself a heathen. But she’s also heard me – sometimes, still – call myself a Catholic, although it’s been a while since I’ve been active in the Church where I was raised. However, I’ve found that you can take the girl out of the Church but you can’t take […]

Thoughts from my Reading: Surfing the Third Wave

Thoughts from my Reading: Surfing the Third Wave

Thoughts From My Reading is an occasional feature in which I consider my reactions to books beyond the scope of my typical review. It was 1981, and as I neared the end of my high-school career, it was hard for me to fathom that legal equality for women wouldn’t be in place by the end of the decade. Despite side issues like the “unisex bathrooms” debate (which I had with my best friend – I […]

Critical controversy, #Franzenfreude, and writing about women writers

Critical controversy, #Franzenfreude, and writing about women writers

Do you read book reviews in mainstream media – newspapers and magazines, and/or their websites – any more? There actually are some of them still around, despite the rapid disappearance of dedicated book-review sections in newspapers during the last few years. And while many of us seem to be getting book information and recommendations from book blogs and other new sources, traditional review outlets like The New York Times still carry influence and weight – […]

Book Talk (Part 2): On not believing what *Believers* believe

Book Talk (Part 2): On not believing what *Believers* believe

Reading In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church by Gina Welch, which I reviewed yesterday, gave me a lot to think about. Please keep in mind that this is my own subjective reaction based on my understanding of a set of beliefs that I don’t personally embrace, and I may not have all the facts right. If you’d like to correct me on any of those, […]

Am I too old for “young adult”? Are you?

Am I too old for “young adult”? Are you?

One thing that surprised me when I began reading more and more book blogs is how many bloggers were regularly talking about books classified as “young adult” – and I wasn’t reading book blogs written by teens (although there are plenty of those around). Most of the readers and bloggers were women – some younger than me, some roughly my contemporaries – and many of them didn’t have tween or teen children of their own. […]

Husband and wife…and wife…and wife…and wife…

Husband and wife…and wife…and wife…and wife…

This is turning out to be Polygamy Week around here, what with two book reviews related to the topic (one posted on Monday, the other will be up tomorrow) – and two books with common themes read in near-succession tend to get me thinking. In a review of yet another novel about polygamy, Natasha of Maw Books Blog asked the question, “Should polygamy be legal?” and wondered if the answer might be less obvious than […]

Bad mothers, good mothers, and mothers who think about motherhood

Bad mothers, good mothers, and mothers who think about motherhood

If you would have asked me at 18, I would never have predicted that by the time I was 45, I would have been a mother for over half my life. My son will be 25 this summer, and I’ve lived more of my life with him in it than without – I can’t imagine it otherwise, even if I try. There have been changes in our relationship as he’s grown, of course, and he […]