Holy Hot Mess: Finding God in the Details of this Weird and Wonderful Life by Mary Katherine BackstromWhat it's about: learning to embrace imperfection in faith and in life, and how being a "hot mess" is no obstacle to developing a relationship with God.
Read it for: the funny and engaging writing style; the inclusion of many candid and relatable "messes" in the author's own life and the lessons she's learned along the way.
You might also like: Mended by Angie Smith; Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.
No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) by Kate BowlerWhat it is: an incisive collection of essays about grief, hope, family ties, and what it means to think about the future in the face of a devastating cancer diagnosis.
About the author: Kate Bowler is a professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School whose previous works include Blessed, Everything Happens for a Reason, and The Preacher's Wife.
Why you might like it: Bowler tells her heartwrenching story with unexpected but welcome humor, reflecting on the absurdities of life in even the darkest times.
Exodus, Revisited: My Unorthodox Journey to Berlin by Deborah FeldmanWhat it's about: the moving story of author Deborah Feldman, who left her Hasidic upbringing behind in 2009 to forge a new life for herself and her young son.
Topics include: finding a Jewish identity outside of her insular Hasidic community; learning to be a single mother; and traveling across Europe to explore her family's experiences with the Holocaust.
Media buzz: Feldman's first memoir Unorthodox was adapted into the Netflix series of the same name.
The Artist and the Eternal City: Bernini, Pope Alexander VII, and the Making of Rome by Loyd GrossmanWhat's inside: a richly detailed portrait of the political, cultural, and spiritual role that the Papacy played in 17th-century Rome and Pope Alexander VII's efforts to restore the prestige of both the city and the Church as an art and architecture patron.
You might also like: Painted Glories by Nicholas A. Eckstein; Basilica by R.A. Scott.
Reviewers say: The Artist and the Eternal City is an "engaging, sumptuously illustrated" journey to Baroque Rome (Kirkus Reviews).
Even If:Trusting God When Life Disappoints, Overwhelms, or Just Doesn't Make Sense by Mitchel LeeWhat it is: an inspiring exploration of how to learn to trust God even during times of uncertainty and fear.
Why you might like it: Author Mitchel Lee interweaves examples from his own life experience with scriptural analysis and presents his reflections in an encouraging voice.
Chapters include: "Goodness in the Deep End of the Pool"; "Control Freaks of the World Unite"; and "Take a Step (but Not by Yourself)".
I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in... by Tyler MerrittWhat it's about: the life, faith, and work of actor, comedian, and musician Tyler Merritt and the way his identity as a Black man has affected all three.
Read it for: Merritt's amusing and engaging style of storytelling and the balance he strikes with humor while discussing difficult topics like racist violence.
Reviewers say: "Readers will be awed by Merritt’s brutal honesty" in this "powerful testament" (Publishers Weekly).
The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life by Lisa Miller, PhDWhat it is: an accessible and thought-provoking look at the intersection between spirituality and science, steeped in years of clinical research.
Topics include: the correlation between spiritual practice and reduced rates of depression and addiction; genetic variables that may predispose someone toward spirituality.
Why you might like it: the author's definition of spirituality (or "heightened awareness") is refreshingly open and allows her to include a broad spectrum of faith traditions, from Lakota healing ceremonies to monastic cloisters.
God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning by Meghan O'GieblynWhat it's about: the potential spiritual and existential issues humanity may soon need to wrestle with as artificial intelligence grows increasingly sophisticated.
Is it for you? Although it raises a number of thought-provoking questions and relates them in an accessible, engaging way, the book's melancholy tone might not resonate with all readers.
Reviewers say: "Razor-sharp, this timely investigation piques" (Publishers Weekly).
Where the Light Fell: A Memoir by Philip YanceyWhat it is: a compelling and thought-provoking story of rebuilding a relationship with faith after surviving a traumatic childhood suffused with Christian fundamentalism.
Read it for: the candid portrayal of racism in Southern churches before the Civil Rights Movement; the exploration of fear as a basis for faith and how to create a healthier relationship with spirituality.
About the author: Former Christianity Today editor-at-large Philip Yancey has published numerous books on spiritual topics, including The Jesus I Never Knew, Soul Survivor, and What's So Amazing about Grace?
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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