It’s Monday!

A few books found their way to my house this week.

A View from the Back Pew by Tim O’Donnel

(ARC for an up-coming blog tour)

Since the time Tim O’Donnell was a nuisance to the nuns, he has been asking questions about religion. He went on to become a successful owner of daily newspapers and consulting firms, but the questions remained. So at age forty, he sold his businesses, built a log home in the woods, and dove headfirst into the taboo questions of Christianity – not as a theologian but as an investigative reporter. The answers surprised him. A View from the Back Pew explores the issues we all encounter on our spiritual journey: Are spirituality and religion the same thing? Do the rules of religion actually bring me closer to God? Will open-minded inquiry help or hinder my spiritual progress? Is God a concept? A reality? A Myth? Did God create man? Did man invent God? And, perhaps most importantly, am I looking for God in the right places? Candid, humorous, and at times controversial, O’Donnell takes us on a powerful search for balance-between faith and personal experience, between the roots of Christianity and later layers of doctrine, and between systems of belief and a direct connection to the spiritual presence we call God. In this bold quest for truth, you’ll delve into everything from the “mystery” of the Trinity and the Virgin Birth to celibacy in the priesthood to Jesus’ key teachings about “the kingdom” and the real purpose of prayer.

Fire Season by Philip Connors

(ARC from the publisher)

A decade ago Philip Connors left work as an editor at the Wall Street Journal and talked his way into a job far from the streets of lower Manhattan: working as one of the last fire lookouts in America. Spending nearly half the year in a 7′ x 7′ tower, 10,000 feet above sea level in remote New Mexico, his tasks were simple: keep watch over one of the most fire-prone forests in the country and sound the alarm at the first sign of smoke.

Fire Season is Connors’ remarkable reflection on work, our place in the wild, and the charms of solitude. The landscape over which he keeps watch is rugged and roadless—it was the first region in the world to be officially placed off limits to industrial machines—and it typically gets hit by lightning more than 30,000 times per year. Connors recounts his days and nights in this forbidding land, untethered from the comforts of modern life: the eerie pleasure of being alone in his glass-walled perch with only his dog Alice for company; occasional visits from smokejumpers and long-distance hikers; the strange dance of communion and wariness with bears, elk, and other wild creatures; trips to visit the hidden graves of buffalo soldiers slain during the Apache wars of the nineteenth century; and always the majesty and might of lightning storms and untamed fire.

The Hanging Wood by Martin Edwards

(ARC from the publisher for review)

Twenty years ago, a teenage boy, Callum Hinds, went missing in England’s Lake District. His uncle was suspected of having done the boy harm and interviewed by the police. When he committed suicide close to his cottage in the Hanging Wood, everyone assumed it was a sign of guilt. But the body of the boy was never found.

Now his sister, Orla Payne, who never believed in their uncle’s guilt, has returned to the Lakes, and takes up a job in an atmospheric residential library, close to her father’s farm, the upmarket caravan park where her step-father works, and the Hanging Wood. She wants to find the truth about Callum’s disappearance, and–at the prompting of Daniel Kind–and, in a drunken call, tries to interest DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria’s Cold Case Review Team, in the case. Hannah is reluctant, leading Orla to demand whether she cares about justice. Hannah does care, and when Orla dies in strange and shocking circumstances, she determines to find the truth about what happened to Callum–and to Orla.   Hannah’s investigation brings her back into contact with Daniel, while she tries to resolve her troubled relationship with bookseller Marc Amos. But their personal lives have to be put on hold when another death occurs, and Hannah finds herself racing against time to prevent a shocking murder as the past casts long shadows on the sunlit landscape of the Lakes.

Mailbox Monday is taking a blog tour. This month’s host is Laura at Library of Clean Reads. Head over there to see what goodies others got in their boxes and to share your own loot.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Here’s my report today.

Books Completed Last Week:

  • Coral Snakes by Linda George (read with Amber-11)
  • Muppet Peter Pan by Grace Randolph and Amy Mebberson (read  with Amber)
  • In the Woods by Tana French (review not completed yet)
  • Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee (review not completed yet)

Currently Reading:

  • A View from the Back Pew by Tim O’Donnell
  • In Christ Alone by Sinclair B. Ferguson
  • Leaping Beauty by Gregory Maguire (reading with Amber)

Listening to:

  • Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie – I’m halfway through this and haven’t decided whether to keep with it or not. I really like the two main characters, Min and Calvin, but hate the way all of Min’s family and friends treat her.

Up next:

  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (audiobook)

For Friday’s Tales:

  • I don’t know. “Beauty and the Beast”? Or maybe I’ll focus on Irish stories stories this month.

What have you been reading?

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