The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu

I picked up The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World to read during Lent along with the folks at Cafeteria Christian. I love Desmond Tutu, though, and I'm not good at sticking to a reading schedule, so I finished it way ahead of time. I was frustrated by this book at first because it felt like it was barely scratching the surface. I wanted more details, more explanation, and I just wasn't getting it. I'm so glad I stuck with it, though! Each chapter revealed another layer, and another, and yet another. The same stories circled back, but with a deeper understanding of the forgiveness process as the book moved on. I got a…

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What Shines From It by Sara Rauch

There are 11 short stories in Sara Rauch's collection What Shines From It, and overall this was a solid "it was good, I liked it" read for me. The first five and the final stories really wowed me, but the ones in between didn't have the same impact. I found my mind wandering as I read. Sara Rauch has a knack for telling people stories, though, getting to the heart of what motivates and moves her characters and how they interact with each other. Her writing flows easily and is filled with warmth, even when exploring darker themes. If you love character-driven short stories, be sure to check out this book.

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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

The town of Lucille is essentially a utopia. Its older citizens have done some hard, difficult work. Justice is restorative, not punitive. There's a deep sense of community, of caring for each other as if they're all family, of getting to the root of problems and working them out. The community emphasizes free access to knowledge and the importance of public spaces like libraries. But Lucille is also a reminder that when we think we've figured things out, we must stay vigilant; complacency makes us unable and/or unwilling to acknowledge that injustices continue to occur. The characters in Pet are wonderfully diverse without their diversity being a plot point. And Jam and Redemption's friendship is the most loving, beautifully written…

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How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

I went into Jenny Odell's How To Do Nothing thinking I was getting a general "how to slim down your social media usage" type of book, but this completely surprised me! I loved its nuanced, anti-capitalist perspective. Odell discusses the far-reaching implications of how our attention is being used as a commodity, as well as how to subvert that in deeply meaningful ways. She makes great points about how the ability to choose to unplug from social media involves a lot of privilege, and how it misses a larger, more important point. Instead, she encourages readers to resist and redirect our attention in order to regain control, without giving up connection and community. (Including a cool bit about the free,…

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