Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Book Recommendations

I read two incredible books recently.
One is Love At The Speed of Email by Lisa McKay.

Quick story about Lisa McKay. I first found her when she wrote a book called My Hands Came Away Red, which I reviewed here years ago. It was set in religious riots that happened near where I grew up, and so I bought the book to read because it was close to home. I was worried it would be sappy Christian fiction, but it was not, and I loved it.

After I wrote the review, I was surprised to get a comment from the author! Since that time I've been following Lisa's blog and recently enjoying her wry posts on entry into motherhood. She's been living overseas, and I am learning from her experiences of mothering in another culture.

Most of all, though, I love Lisa's voice. Her humor and honesty is ever so fun to read, and so I eagerly accepted the chance to read her memoir, Love at the Speed of Email. I thought it would just be the story of her rather unconventional romance with her now husband, but it's interwoven with her entire life story and questions of faith, home, and love.

Ya'll. It was so good. I tweeted my way through it because I stayed up late reading and literally laughed till I cried. It's a book that hits right at the heart of an adult third culture kid like myself. I don't want to ruin any more of it for you but really.... I haven't engaged so deeply with a book in quite some time. The ability to relate to the themes while thoroughly enjoying the humor was fantastic.
Expect an interview with Lisa to come soon!

365.190: Speculative Fiction Book Club I also just finished The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. (ps - that is not my photo or my beer to the right) What a surprise this book was! It's sort of a sci-fi story in the sense that it's about a Jesuit mission to reach a newly-discovered alien planet. I'm not that into sci-fi but it's a great adventure story. What made it amazing, though, is the intense discussion of faith, the possibility of experiencing God, and a deep wrestling with suffering and whether or not God is good.

Turns out the author grew up Catholic, became an atheist, and years later decided that her moral system grew out of religion, and in a spiritual search converted to Judaism. Interesting that the book was primarily still set in the Catholic world. Check out this comment from the author in a Q&A that came at the end of my copy of the book:
"When you convert to Judaism in a post-Holocaust world, you know two things for sure: one is that being Jewish can get you killed; the other is that God won't rescue you. Writing The Sparrow allowed me to look at the place of religion in the lives of many people and to weigh the risks and beauties of religious belief from the comfort of my own home.... The risks have to do with believing that God micromanages the world, and with seeing what may be simply coincidence as significant and indicative of divine providence. It's very easy then to go out on a limb spiritually, expect more from God than you have a right to expect, and set yourself up for bitter disappointment in his silence and lack of action."
This book could be a devotional book, except that it doesn't have a religious agenda. It just so honestly wrestles with God. I loved it.


Amy B said...

Immediately putting The Sparrow at the top of my Goodreads "To Be Read" list!

Erin said...

I recently read 'Love at the speed of email' after following her blog for a few months. I loved it! I appreciated how candid she was about things in her life, and the humor was well written. I also really enjoyed her discussions about faith and being a third-culture kid and what on earth we are meant to do in this life.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, thanks for these reviews Kacie, I think I'll look them up either at the library or online. Always looking for a good read. -Adrian (not quite so anonymous, but I can never remember my Google password...)