blue graphic with pictures of novels, a memoir, and podcast episodes that are on the Friday Favorites list

Friday Favorites: Novels, a Memoir, and Podcasts

For my Friday Favorites this week, I’m sharing two novels, one memoir, and several podcast episodes.

Quick Links:

NOVEL: All That is Secret

I raced through All That is Secret by Patricia Raybon during Thanksgiving week. For anyone who enjoys mysteries, this one takes you into the life of Annalee Spain, a Black woman in the 1920s in Denver, Colorado. The racial politics of a city in the control of the KKK, the questions of a young woman around faith and loss and love, and a crime to solve all make for a fun, compelling read.  

MEMOIR: The Whole Language

And then I’m intentionally moving slowly through The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness by Gregory Boyle. This third memoir by Father Boyle—who has now lived and ministered among gang members (aka homies) in Los Angeles for decades—is filled with stories about the tender love of God. I find myself reading it out loud to anyone who happens to be nearby because I so appreciate his insistence that we are all God’s beloved.

NOVEL: Crossroads

My novel of the moment is Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen. I like it. It’s the story of a minister and his dysfunctional family in the midwest in the 1970s, and I wondered whether I would take issue with Franzen’s depiction of Christianity and youth groups (a lot of the book circles around the high school youth group at the father’s church). He gets at both the emotionalism of group experiences and the sincere belief of young people. And at both the hypocrisy and sincerity of adults who want to connect with God and want to satisfy their own desires, even if the desires and the faith seem to contradict. I haven’t finished this one yet, and I truly do not know where this family will end up. I hope and pray there’s some redemption and grace for all of them, even if the mess of their lives never becomes something neat or tidy. 


Also, a few podcast episodes to recommend:

The Book of Acts & the Acts of the Spirit

Willie James Jennings talks about the book of Acts on The Bible for Normal People (listen here). 

Parenting from the Inside Out

Dr. Dan Siegel talks about the most important thing for parents to do on Going Scared with Jessica Honegger (listen here).

Why Is Murder Spiking? And Can Cities Address It Without Police?

Patrick Sharkey explains how policing can and cannot affect violence in communities on The Ezra Klein Show (listen here).

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