My sister-in-law, neighbor and friend Linda Buturian has a book out, and it’s really good. It’s a memoir/essay collection, much of it revolving around our neighborhood/hippie commune near Milaca. It’s fun to read about the seven kids in the neighborhood. Linda has the ability to look at the world through their eyes. I don’t, but her writing helps me try.
You should get a copy (whoever you are). It’s called World Gone Beautiful: Life Along the Rum River. It’ll be available in May from Amazon, but I suggest you get it from a small local bookstore instead. It’ll make you feel better.
My friend and neighbor Debbie Blue also has a book out called “From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again.” It’s a great book about the Bible (if that’s possible). Debbie has a unique voice and original way of reading and talking about the Bible. She’s a pastor at House of Mercy in St. Paul, a church founded by a bunch of liberal lapsed evangelical friends of mine. Her previous book, Sensual Orthodoxy, is also worth reading, especially if you are kind of interested in the Bible but are afraid it will be no fun to read.
My friend Chris Boesel has a book out, too. It’s theology, and more academic than the other two. I’m wading through it, but I’m having a hard time because I’m out of touch with the style of language and the content. Haven’t read much of that academic stuff in 15-20 years. It’s interesting, and I can still hear my friend’s voice come through. It’s called Risking Proclamation; Respecting Difference and is a conversation among Kierkegaard, Barth and Post-modern philosophers regarding Jewish-Christian dialogue. Chris is a theology prof at Drew University in New Jersey.
My friend Russell Rathbun, also a pastor at House of Mercy, also has a book coming out. It’s called Midrash on the Juanitoes, and it’s kind of a Hunter Thompson-esque approach to the epistles of John. I have lots of Bibley friends, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m sure it will be good. His first book, Post Rapture Radio, was fantastic.
You should read all my friends’ books.
I tried to write my first book in 1987. I rewrote it in 1993 or so, then again last year. It’s a novel, the only one I have any interest in writing. I wrote a memoir a few years ago, but now I’m embarrassed by it. I tried (not hard enough, probably) to get them published but was unsuccessful. I don’t think they’re very good. Sometimes I give copies to my friends, and sometimes they don’t read them. Sometimes they do.
I resent my friends for being more successful and better writers than I am. But I’m also proud of them and happy for them. And bitter. And jealous.
I know I shouldn’t publish this, for several reasons. It shows what a bad fellow I am, and it takes some of the shine off of my friends’ accomplishments. Then again, when I told Russell how much I hated him for how good his first book was, he said it was the best compliment he’d ever received.
It’s part of the funny truth of life — that feelings are rarely pure, either good ones or bad ones. Mostly I’m happy for my friends, and maybe my turn will come.