Springtime. Spring cleaning. Easter. Everything about this season speaks to renewal, revival and positive change. The following list and short reviews should help you get into the spirit of Spring this year, even if the weather in New England isn't really cooperating.
Every child of the 80's will remember the controversies surrounding the 1988 Martin Scorsese film “The Last Temptation of Christ”. But if you haven't also read the 1955 Nikos Katzanzakis novel on which this movie is based, I'd strongly recommend it. The book isn't without controversy itself and for some Christians, Katzanzakis' attempt to grapple with Jesus' interior life is a bit too speculative, a bit too personal. For me though, I found the book to be incredibly moving and in some ways, an aid to deepening my understanding of what the story of Christ means for people of all faith traditions.
The writer Hope Edelman is well known for her self-help books. Her story in “The Possibility of Everything” is an unexpected memoir of parenting and family-life challenges. Edelman and her husband find themselves in the midst of deep marital tensions and grappling with a daughter whose imaginary friend borders on the malicious. In response, the whole family seeks healing with a shaman in Belize. This book gets mixed reviews, faulting Edelman's privilege and her parenting style. For my part though, I was impressed by the willingness of this family to do something radical in order to solve their problems.
“I am Radar” is a strange and otherworldly story by Reif Larson. What starts as a kind of fairy tale about a black child born to white parents veers into science and science fiction when Radar discovers a bizarre puppet theater, travels to war-zones worldwide, and causes a military crisis in his hometown. At the heart of this story is a sweet and sensitive teenager, seeking love and figuring out who he is. It's completely unexpected and hard to put down.
Lastly, “The Afterlives” is a debut novel from the short-story writer Thomas Pierce. The narrator has survived a heart attack but is left profoundly disoriented with people from the distant past dipping in and out of the present. The author plays with time, with love and with what life means in the aftermath of a near-death experience, but skillfully avoids the cliche's we might expect from this landscape. It's a book that's moving and strangely fun to read.
Spring is the perfect time to read books that challenge your perspective. So what stories have inspired you or brought you to think about transformation?
More About Silvia
Silvia DiPippo-Aldredge is a writer and a home-schooling mother of three teenagers. A RI native, her family now divides its time between Dubai, UAE and Putnam, CT. She writes about books, the arts, and the intersection of cultures in the Middle East.