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Culture Notable Books
“Eating a Krispy Kreme donut is like eating a baby angel.” Stand-up comedian Hawkins admits he has no idea what that means, but it’s the kind of off-the-wall humor that will have readers laughing out loud all the way through this book. In chapters structured like comic routines, Hawkins covers topics like marriage, fatherhood, and eating at Taco Bell with wit and occasionally something akin to wisdom. But mostly wit. Some families may not like his references to alcohol or his slightly irreverent or gross jokes (i.e. eating baby angels or boogers), but overall it’s clean family fun.
Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship
Melanie Shankle is no stand-up comedian, but her autobiography of friendship kept a smile on my face. Her reflections on the best friends of her life include an early friend who shared her love of Olivia Newton-John and stretch to Gulley, her bestie since college. As Shankle discusses both her joys and embarrassing missteps (including the night she and Becky tried to outsmart their moms and sneak out to a fraternity party), she combines thankfulness for God’s gift of friendship with a wisdom that comes with Christian maturity—thanking God, too, for ending relationships that might have kept her from Him.
Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck
When Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) felt the walls of his dream job closing in on him, he took a leap in the dark to pursue a writing career. While the transition may have looked like his “most loserish day of all time,” he says he had a “toolkit I never would have jumped without.” Here he unpacks that toolkit—including insights on character, skills, relationships, and hustle. With self-effacing humor, he details how those who need a career “do over” can make their own successful transitions. Not only is this book helpful, it brings much needed levity to an often fearful, sober subject.
The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You’ll Ever Love
With so many off-color and sexual jokes, this book isn’t edifying reading. I gave up hope when one of the writers admitted he may have searched the internet for “Selena Gomez and panties.” However, the book does function as a helpful window on “conservative” views of fatherhood. With authors like P.J. O’Rourke, Tucker Carlson, and Jonah Goldberg each contributing a chapter, the writing is crisp, funny, and filled with secular insight centering on the ideal of fatherhood as serving others rather than being served: From diapers to dorm rooms, “it’s the worst job you’ll ever love.”
Two months after publication of Go Set a Watchman, readers still wonder whether author Harper Lee, now disabled and living in a nursing home, was coerced into publishing the decades-old manuscript. The book is a financial success: HarperCollins’ fastest-selling book ever, topping 1 million sales in its first week. But one independent bookstore in Michigan, Brilliant Books, offered full refunds to customers angry with what it called “shameful” and “exploitative” marketing of the book.
Although HarperCollins presented the book as a sequel to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird—it has protagonist Jean Louise Finch (Scout, grown up) coming home to Maycomb for a visit—Lee wrote it before her famous work. Reviewers disliked an uneven storyline and clunky writing. Fans disliked the presentation of Scout’s father, Atticus, as a pro-Klan racist. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus heroically protects an innocent black man. —E.W.