Tag Archives: Book

Sinners make the best Christians (I hope)

So this song sticks in my head a lot, which is awesome and sad at the same time.

I mean, “Sooner or later, God’s gonna you down?” Can I get an amen? And a tissue? And a happier song, maybe?

As I’ve said multiple times, yesterday I was on the Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR yesterday, and you can listen here. Or not. There won’t be a test.

I am usually uncomfortable talking about Christianity in public, given my tattered past and my inability to follow the rules as they were introduced me to early on. I identify as a Christian and I’m not ashamed of it, but I have a congenital dislike of people who go around yapping about it. This show was different, because we were exploring and not pontificating, and it was in service to a really interesting book by my new friend, Tom Krattenmaker, Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers In Jesus For Those Who Don’t Believe. It’s a thought-provoking book for believers and nones, alike. I highly recommend it.



What a beautiful legacy to leave

08dewdney-obit-1-blog427When children’s book author Anna Dewdney died at age 50 of brain cancer, she didn’t want a funeral. She wanted mourners to read to a child, instead.

I love that. It’s like a kiss blown from the grave.


Reader, I did it.

DeBoneeZionStYesterday, promptly at 3 p.m., I dropped off my manuscript, “Searching for the American Dream in Frog Hollow,” at Wesleyan University Press. It was 264 pages, close to 600 foot notes, and a whole lotta headache to get done in time.

I have been working on the damn thing for a year and a half, and I’m pretty sure Real Authors don’t come sliding in home, as I did, with arms akimbo, trailing random pages.

But I did it. Since I moved to work in Hartford 30 (Jaysus) years ago, I’ve liked that neighborhood, and now I’ve written a love letter to it. For one day (today), I am going to feel good about that, and not worry about the editing, or the photo permissions I still have to get, or any of that other stuff that will soon rise to bite me on the leg.

For now, for today, I’m going to feel good that I did it. And I’m going to make yet another promise to myself to never attempt a book again. Ever.

(For this, my last-ever book, I’m kind of leaning toward the above photo as the cover. It was snapped by the wonderful Hartford photographer, Tony DeBonee, which is pronounced just as you’d imagine. I have another one that’s a contender that was taken around the turn of the last century, but there’s something about this one…we’ll see. In the end, I’ll just make suggestions and let the professionals do the work.)

Onward. Yay.

Have you read “The Warmth of Other Suns?”

chicago-gun-violence_400x295_11That wonderful book (full name: “The Warm of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration) by Isabel Wilkerson charted the movement of Southern African Americans to economic opportunities in the north, in Detroit, in Chicago, and yes, in Hartford (particularly to the Frog Hollow section, the subject of a book-I’m-finishing).

This says that gun violence in the windy city is reversing that migration. African American families are leaving the land of opportunity for safer addresses. From Alex P. Kellogg, at The Trace:

Thoughts of leaving Chicago have become “a common conversation, especially with black millennials in the city of Chicago,” says Corey Hardiman, a 25-year-old who mentors kids on the city’s South Side. For many of them, violence is part of their daily existence. “Chicago is depressing,” says Hardiman, who has lost three close friends to gun violence and is thinking of relocating to Texas. “When people are constantly being killed, at the rate they are being killed, it’s depressing.”

More than 130 people were killed in Chicago as of the end of March, the vast majority by guns, an increase of more than 80 percent over the first three months of 2015. The city has also seen more than 600 non-fatal shootings in the first three months of this year, twice as many as in the same period last year.


Go out and buy “Chaos & the Kingdom”

OpenForum_Eliminate_ChaosA friend of mine, Michael T. Bush, co-wrote (with Nathanael Vissia) “Chaos & the Kingdom,” a book designed for small group discussions, but I read it on my own and got quite a bit out of it.

The book explores six Biblical stories — among them the flood, and Jesus’ walking on water — through the prism of exploring the good news of the Bible, which is, by Bush and Vissia’s telling, the idea that we can create heaven right here, that we can create kingdom in the chaos.

I found the book thought-provoking, yet easy to read at the same time, if that makes sense. I can cheerfully and freely tell you it’s well worth your time.

And the No. 1 Christian book of the year is?

indexRick Warren’s weight lost book, “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.”

It comes with a special Daniel t-shirt. No lie. Here’s a bit more about the Biblical character, Daniel.

And thanks, Leftover, for the link.

Just a bit more on Harper Lee’s new novel

HARPER LEE MUSEUMCynical sends this,, an interesting piece by a Monroeville, La., native who knows more than most of us about Harper Lee, and the controversy around her recently published prequel, “Go Set a Watchman.” The piece includes her reaction to that book’s publication:

I thought of Miss Nelle, sitting in that quiet nursing home out on the Highway 21 Bypass, her beloved sister in the ground and her closest friends scattered to the winds, her once notoriously peppery persona marred by physical infirmity, at the mercy of people who see her as a living, breathing dollar sign, and so “humbled and amazed” about the release of a book she spent her life promising we’d never see. She once told Oprah in an off-camera interview that people had her figured all wrong, that every article written about her compared her to Scout. “But,” she admitted “I’m really Boo.” If you can believe nothing as an ultimate truth from all of this confusion and sadness, believe that.

And always remember: ”You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” So I have. And you won’t see a copy of Go Set A Watchman on my shelf. I won’t be a vulture. And I won’t feed them either. I will re-read To Kill a Mockingbird instead. And I will take joy in knowing that it was created by someone who was once a little girl just like me, growing up in the same town and seeing the same bitter ugliness clash with simple beauty.