by Dave Eggers

August 5, 2019

I’ve read most of Eggers stuff. With his fiction, there is usually some kind of underlying social commentary. In The Parade, that commentary is subtle until it isn’t at all. This one is a fast moving read carried along both by characters and tension that show Eggers’ experience…and also because it’s short.

August 5, 2019

ShippingEasy-nav-update

I’ve done contract work for the ShippingEasy marketing site for six years. Maybe even seven…not sure I can keep track.

This summer, they wanted to overhaul their nav from some simple drop downs to a more robust “mega menu” that would more readily feature some of their…features. It looks simple enough, but there was actually a lot of problem solving. The site uses both WordPress and Bootstrap, and each likes to manage navigation a little differently, and neither accounts for this kind of drop down.

I ended up bypassing the WordPress menu system to build a custom solution so they can have this more robust nav system while also being able to edit it in the dashboard. I’m happy with the results, and they are too.

by Fredrik Backman

July 30, 2019

Considering the apparent popularity of this book, I'm not sure how it escaped my attention or my “to read” list until last year. I wasn't even familiar with Backman until I read Beartown a year ago, but sheesh now I feel like I see this book everywhere. (An upcoming moving with Tom Hanks might be a factor…)

We are offered Ove. He is a character who we probably wouldn't like, and likely would avoid, if we met him in real life. But over the course of a story, Backman gives us sympathy for him, and we find ourselves rooting for him. This is good fiction, doing one of the things I think literature should do best — invite us to be aware of the experience and humanity of others.

by Tara Westover

July 29, 2019

I'm not sure how many “Best of 2018” book lists I looked at, but I am sure that this was on all of them. It was recommended by Bill Gates and Barack Obama, among many others, and I'll join them in that recommendation.

Often times, the most painful stories to read are also the most hopeful. This memoir might have been too hard to read in the earlier chapters, though knowing she got to the place of being able to write it offered hope enough to keep going.

by Octavia Butler

July 29, 2019

One of the earlier entries in the ongoing fascination we have as a culture with post-apocalyptic fiction. This one dates all the way back to 1993 with a strong young female character. (Literature has had room for a strong female lead long before the recent celebration of these kind of roles in film & TV. )

It wasn't a a page turner for me. But it was an interesting look at how a young woman forms a belief system and invites others into it, as a way of making meaning and hope when there isn't much to be found.

July 27, 2019 11:22 am

iPad Smart Keyboard failed after less than two years, and only thing Apple offered was a slightly discounted (and I assume refurbished) replacement. Yeah, it only has a one-year warranty, but I expect an investment like that to last longer. Thankfully, Amazon had my model for half price.

July 1, 2019 8:57 am

Watched Apollo 11 last night, which was great. So was the soundtrack. Made a note to listen to it while working, which I’m doing this morning with no regret.

by Barbara Brown Taylor

June 30, 2019

I’ve done enough reading about Christian history that there wasn’t much new in this book for me. And yet, I appreciate what Taylor did here, offering some of the buried gems in the troubled rubble of Christianity past and present.

It’s one I’ll have my kids read as they mature into independence, with hopes that it will give them a wider framework of what Christianity has looked like throughout the centuries. All this, with much hope that it will give them some pride around the term Christian as they consider making this faith their own.

by Marcus Samuelsson and Veronica Chambers

June 30, 2019

Most of my reading during the week is either practical growth type stuff, or broad ideas around theology or philosophy. And, I still read fiction in the evenings in bed.

But there have always been other categories I’ve wanted to fit in my routine and not had space to read as much — generally memoirs, history, or some collections of essays have sat on my wish list for months and even years. Recently, I’ve been taking a break from other reading (besides fiction) on the weekend to read in these categories. It’s been good to broaden my reading, but also to help my mindset shift into weekend mode, and even give me something to look forward to returning to during the week.

Our family has admired Marcus Samuelsson mostly from seeing him on Chopped. But we also saw and met him at the Texas Book Festival a few years ago, hearing more of the depth of his story. All of that depth was present in his memoir, and it served the purpose that I most hope for in this kind of writing — it gave me new understanding into the experiences of a life very different from mine. And in that, it gave my new understanding of my own self as well.

June 28, 2019 8:22 am

Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Just starting in on this book, but feel like it matches up with thoughts that have been growing in me for quite a while. Looking forward to having it guide me in an ‘attention’ declutter.

by Trevor Noah

June 13, 2019

Before reading this, I wasn’t a Trevor Noah fan. It’s not that I disliked him, I was just…neutral. Now, after finishing his book, it would seem trite to say I’m a fan. It would be true to say, though, that I respect him quite a lot.

He’s a comedian, so I expected a funny book. It’s not. It’s a thoughtful reflection of a young man trying to find his way forward through multiple levels of familial and cultural brokenness. And above all, it’s a lovely homage to a mother who guided him along that way even as she was broken herself.

by Christopher Heuertz

June 13, 2019

It’s become easier and easier to mention the enneagram in a conversation without expecting a blank stare in return. And while I’m far from an expert on it, I’ve hoarded more than my fair share of reading about it. It’s also been a helpful tool, as I believe it was designed to be, for understanding my inner motivations that shape so many of my patterns and behaviors.

Chris Heuretz’ book is a unique and helpful take in the growing, and perhaps overcrowded, market of Enneagram books. He offers the obligatory summary of types, as you’d expect. But he goes beyond, getting into some core spiritual practices, from a Christian perspective, that will be beneficial for each type.

This is the kind of writing that is needed in the chatter around the Enneagram. Rather than something that helps us wedge ourselves into a type that matches our behaviors, he drives us deeper into how the number we identify with reveals our core longings. And once there, the practices he offers reveal not just a path to self identity, but to maturity and growth.

by Robert Kurson

May 24, 2019

I don’t recall any of the Apollo missions though they were happening in my earliest years. But I still remember our family watching a TV show about Apollo 11 on the tenth anniversary of the first moon landing. My imagination was captured, and it is still held. Rocket Men is, of course, about an earlier mission, but holds the same sense of wonder for me. I’m thankful for stories like these being captured and told while there is the distance of history alongside the perspective of those who actually experienced it.

by Leif Engel

May 10, 2019

I’m not one to wait in long lines at a book festival to chat with an author and get some sharpie scribbles on a cover page. (Not for me anyway…done it many times with my kids and thankful for how the authors always take time to engage them!) But, when Leif Enger was at the Tucson Festival of Books, it seemed important to have him sign a copy of one of my favorite books ever: Peace Like a River. That doesn’t say much of anything about Virgil Wander, but offers helpful context for me to say that it held up to my high expectations.

by Brené Brown

April 30, 2019

I suppose I could argue that Brené Brown seems to keep writing the same stuff, and just framing it through different topics or perspectives. But when the things she has to say are so meaningful, seeing them through different frames is helpful and interesting. I’ll keep reading with the hope that someday, I’ll make personal progress in some of these ideas.

by Randy Woodley

April 30, 2019

I have less space for reading theology in this season, but my interest level is still sustained by ideas about how God engages in the day to day. And any time a work of theology is intersecting language and culture, that interest level increases. In our search for language that helps communicate the work of God today, Randy Woodley offers some indigenous language about the “Community of Creation” that I’ve found myself referring back to many time since reading a few months ago.

by Walter Isaacson

April 5, 2019

Years ago, I read How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci, by Stephen Gelb. That left me with a mild interest in Da Vinci which isn’t that unique to say but it makes me feel all renaissance man and stuff.

Isaacson does here what Isaacson does, which is write a thorough and detailed biography of Da Vinci’s life. I found myself hoping for more of the interpretation early on, but halfway through I just settled in for the amazing details that made up Da Vinci’s life.

by James Clear

April 5, 2019

I read this one back in January and, as expected with a title like that, it was a good one to start the year with. Not a lot of new ideas but some good challenges to review my own habits. Main one I started after reading it was adding a habit tracker to my bullet journal. It’s helpful to have the visual both for motivation and to recognize patterns.

One of these daYS I really need to write about my experience of switching to a bullet journal.

by Mark and Lisa Scandrette

February 15, 2019

I’ve read each of the Scandrette’s last three books and always appreciate the unique angle and way of living they brings to things. So, I was glad to see them tackle family life. For anyone trying to cultivate some healthy intention in their family, and especially if you want to include some faith perspective, this will provoke good conversation. And hopefully good rhythms.

February 15, 2019

Had the pleasure of speaking for my friend Chris Breslin at Oak Church a few weeks ago. Being with them, in so many ways, felt like home. Thanks for the invite Chris!