Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure, by Michael Chabon
for the most part, i like to read novels by pulitzer prize winning author michael chabon because i’m blown away, at least once on each page, by his craft. it’s like, when you go to an art gallery: you get lost in the beauty of some pieces; and other pieces astound you with their technique. chabon’s books are the latter of those two. the stories are nice – this one a short and whimsical tale of two adventurer/con men with heart, living in the 10th century – but i’ve read better stories. i enjoyed reading this book because i enjoy seeing the work of anyone at the very top of his or her game. now, i still have to get around to reading the book that won the pulitzer for chabon…
Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty, by Patrick Lencioni
the whole business-book-as-fable has been widely employed these days, but no one pulls it off like lencioni. even though my context is usually different than the central characters in his books, i always find great application to my life and leadership. that said: this book, about fearless consulting, felt more directly tied to my current work than many. i massively resonated with the ideas in the book, and found they both affirmed the approach i’m using in my coaching program, and encouraged me to press into it more fully. really, the “approach” lencioni espouses in this book is just good life-coaching, for anyone. you don’t have to be a consultant or coach to benefit from this one, possibly lencioni’s best book yet.
A Tale of Two Youth Workers: A Youth Ministry Fable, by Eric Venable
speaking of fables… venable (full disclosure: eric’s a close friend) pulled it off. frankly, knowing him, i was surprised how well he pulled it off! a quick and easy read – as these fables should be – that unpacks the role of doubt in the faith formation of teenagers, and how youth workers can create a context for that kind of critical exploration. if you’re a youth worker (or a parent of a teen), there’s no excuse for not reading this book — it’s so short and engaging. i had read the book before, but re-read it since i’d assigned it to my youth ministry coaching group; and it was a great reminder to me of how real teenagers process their questions about faith (as opposed to the two-dimmensional teenagers of our youth ministry goals).
Stitches: A Memoir, by David Small
this little illustrated memoir caught my eye at a bookstore recently and became an impulse buy. it fits that “tragicomic” vibe, telling the author’s recollection of a childhood ignored by strict and distant parents. it’s not a full nightmare of physical abuse that we’ve read elsewhere — but that’s part of it’s power: this story feels so much more (sadly) common. and the simple but expressive illustrations (all black and white, btw), convey a subtle emotive power that compelled me to read the book in one sitting.