To give

The Both, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo’s first album together, combines catchy tunes with lyrics about the complexity of human relationships. Topics include setting boundaries with people with addictions, conflict with loved ones, and coping with environmental destruction. But the songs aren’t disheartening so much as cathartic.

Pilgrimage through Loss is part memoir about Linda Lawrence Hunt’s grief for her 25-year-old daughter and part guide for parents mourning the death of a child. Hunt makes it clear that there’s no one path through grief. She provides the perspectives of other parents who’ve lost children and offers help for those who care for families through loss.

Much of the writing and research on inter­faith marriages takes a tone of warning. In Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Min­ister Married a Hindu Monk, J. Dana Trent writes candidly about the challenges, joys, and lessons of being in such a union.

To receive

In Pushin’ Against a Stone, Valerie June weaves strains of gos­pel, soul, and bluegrass. Growing up in the Church of Christ denomination, where congregations don’t use instruments or have choirs, June says that she learned to sing from “500 teachers three days a week for 18 years.” The voice they trained is extraordinary.

In Beyond Death: What Jesus Revealed about Eternal Life, re­tired pastor and spiritual director Flora Slos­son Wuell­ner writes with wisdom, honesty, and gentleness about issues en­countered in pastoral care, both from the people we care for and from within ourselves. She guides those grappling with questions related to death and faith.

My husband loves to read new fiction, especially everything he’s read by Japa­nese author Haruki Murakami. I expect that the author’s newest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pil­grim­age: A Novel, will be no exception.



Celeste Kennel-Shank

Celeste Kennel-Shank, a Century contributing editor, is author of What You Sow Is a Bare Seed: A Countercultural Christian Community during Five Decades of Change.

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