a few things in January

Late December to early January is one of my best chances in the year to read.  (I love working on an academic calendar!) Here are a few things I’ve been enjoying:

The Stages by Thom Satterlee - Thom is a friend, poet and writer in residence at Taylor, and fellow member of Gethsemane Episcopal. It's always nerve-wracking to begin a book written by someone you know, because what if it's awful. This book, though, was truly excellent. Here's the review I left at goodreads: "An intelligently written literary mystery, The Stages tells the story of Dan Peters, an American translator (and Aspie) living in Copenhagen. When his colleague and best friend dies mysteriously and a Kierkegaard manuscript goes missing, Peters seeks to clear his own name in the murder investigation.
With a strong setting, well-developed characters, surprising plot twists, and a solid grounding in philosophy, theology, and language, this book is heads and shoulders above most murder mysteries. Highly recommended. (Currently only available on kindle- and a steal at 2.99!)"

Torn by Justin Lee I basically want to recommend this to every Christian I know. Whether or not I agree with every conclusion Lee comes to, his poignant, vulnerable story is one that Christians - especially those who have never had a gay friend - need to hear. This book is not primarily an argument for gay rights or gay marriage, although Lee does take a little time to explain how his mind changed on those topics. It is primarily a story, one that you need to read with an open heart, ready to learn from it without simply jumping to find things you agree or disagree with.
Not Your Mother’s Morals by Jonathan Fitzgerald ebook available here - full review coming soon.

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter I read this because it's free on Kindle, and because I rememberd my mom recommending it to me like 10 years ago.  I absolutely loved it.  Set in Indiana (!) in the early 1900s, it's a beautiful coming of age story that demonstrates so many American cultural values - self-reliance, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, the value of hard work and education. It also has a unique naturalist perspective, and it made me think a lot about humanity, the natural world, and technology. 

As for movies, we really liked Safety Not Guaranteed. Josh Radnor's newest offering, Liberal Arts, was ok, a bit predictable, and really! he's playing the same Ted Mosby role again and again! Jack and I both sobbed through Les Miserables in the theater (and it totally changed his mind about Anne Hathaway - from contempt to admiration), and on Amazon Prime we're watching Foyle's War, which his parents recommended. It's a classic British detective show set in the south coast of England during World War II.