Each chapter ends with a plan
and practice section. Couples,
counsellors, pastors and others will
find this book a tremendous resource. –SAM BERG
Embracing the Body:
Finding God in Our
Flesh and Bone
By Tara M. Owens
2015. 254 pages.
THERE IS a much more worthy alternative to the destructive body
worship and pornography so dominant in contemporary culture, according to Tara Owens. She encourages Christians to come to know
their own bodies and those of others
in healing and celebrative ways.
Owens asserts that while traditional Christianity has often been
a poor teacher by denigrating the
human body at the expense of the
spirit, there is to be found in better
Christian theological and spiritual
traditions the source of a new appreciation for flesh and bone. Indeed, God is to be found there.
Our bodies have been the cause
of much shame and guilt, as well as
false pride – yet they have much to
teach us about divinity. Owens
unpacks this thesis by examining
themes such as fear and impulse,
celebration and connectivity.
The Canadian author, who offers
spiritual direction sessions over
Skype from her base in Colorado
( www.AnamCara.com), has a strong
command of biblical and liturgical
theology, and she directs that skill
in penetrating and healing ways.
Incarnation and resurrection –
God in Jesus, both human and divine – are at the core of our understanding of being Christian. We can
rejoice in both carnality and divinity,
and this book helps us explore that
more deeply. – WAYNE HOLST
By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Harper, 2016. 368 pages.
$22 (e-book $13.99,
WOULDN’T JUST a little
more money (or maybe a lot
more money) increase a person’s happiness?
We know from real-life news accounts that
winning the lottery does nothing to improve
a person’s values. But this witty novel looks at
what happens to the life values and happiness
of people who live in expectation of such a
The four Plumb siblings have lived their
lives in New York with the (mistaken) belief
that a big change in their respective financial
situations would make a big difference, if only
their brother Leo, keeper of the family nest egg,
would give them their share.
As the characters’ stories unfold, we see how
their single-minded focus on their inheritance,
and their propensity to spend the money before
they have it, has led them to lose sight of how to
live with gratitude for what they already have.
Readers will want to pull them aside and tell
them to be a little more humble, forgiving and
just in their relationships, not to mention more
understanding and kind.
The characters’ stories are told through
the lens of a number of culturally relevant
issues including tenuous sibling relationships,
addictions, the aftermath of 9-11 and LGBTQ
This popular novel is the first published by
D’Aprix Sweeney, who grew up in an Italian-Irish
family in Rochester, N. Y., and previously worked
in advertising in New York City.
In the end of this novel, Sweeney chooses
endings that make it both Hollywood-movie
ready and, for me, less interesting than it could
have been. –DANA AN TAYÁ-MOORE
“The weight of stone and
the fragility of glass join
together in a dance that
starts often in deep,
broken places and travels
toward something free,
raw and worshipful. I often
use abstract, nature-in-spired forms and the
human form to comment
on aspects of this internal
Portico of Light
(alabaster and cast glass
lace) by Heidi Brannan
Reading THE BES TSELLERS