A wonderful novel given to me got my birthday by a friend, a hard science fiction murder mystery, and a couple of books I read as research for my upcoming book, Changing Paths.
Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus
I really enjoyed this book, which is heartwarming and heartbreaking by turns, as Elizabeth Zott, the heroine, comes up against the misogynist attitudes of the 1950s and 60s (many of which are still prevalent today). Zott just wants to be valued as a scientist, but her male colleagues (and even other women) conspire to stop her and put her down at every turn. If you want to understand something of what life was like before feminism made some gains, read this book. It’s not a dry treatise on the subject, but a fun romp through a rollercoaster of a plot. Also takes some much-needed potshots against the whole system of adoptions and orphanages (highly relevant to the post-Roe-vs-Wade world). I also loved the dog, Six-Thirty. He is a Very Good Dog.
Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy: How to Talk with People about Their Spiritual Lives, James L Griffith, Melissa Elliott Griffith
Amazing, compassionate, and open-hearted book on how to bring religion into psychotherapy. The authors are Christians but hugely respectful of other religions. They deal with liminality, ritual, beliefs, spirituality, what happens when religion turns bad, and how to be open to other people’s religious language and metaphors. A must-read for therapists, ministers, and for anyone interested in how to have a meaningful conversation about religion. I’d’ve liked there to be more about dealing with trauma from fundamentalist groups, but I think the approaches detailed here would help in that situation to some extent.
Far from the light of heaven, Tade Thompson
Very good cross between hard SF and murder mystery. If you like either of those genres, you should find this excellent. Some poignant details, like the fairy tattooed on the murder victim’s wrist, to remind us that each murder victim is an individual with hopes and dreams.
Diary of a Heretic: the Pagan adventures of a Christian priest, by Mark Townsend
I enjoyed reading this even more than when I read it the first time. Such refreshing honesty and a sense of deep connection to All That Is — whether the All is seen as Nature, Goddess, or Cosmic Christ. A reminder to look at the humanity of a person rather than their label. Some of the people encountered in this book are open to new light wherever they may find it, and some are not. And sometimes those who are open can be found in very surprising places.