The Best Spiritual Writing 1999 edited by Philip Zaleski
I picked this up on a whim at the used bookstore several years ago and finally got around to reading it. I can't believe I waited so long. The short essays and poems on spirituality (in a broad sense) were beautiful. If you can get your hands on Andre Dubus III's essay entitled "Fences & Fields", please read it. It is one of the most touching depictions of fathering a daughter that I've ever read.
One More River by Mary Glickman
This was a sweeping, multi-generational story about a son's quest to find out the truth about his mysterious, ne'er-do-well father. It talked a lot about the experience of Jews in the southern U.S. in the post-World War II era, which was interesting for me. It was a sad story, but very gripping.
Unchristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
I had heard a lot about this book and borrowed it from my brother when I was home this summer. It's based on research done by the Barna group about outsiders' view of Christianity. Of course, the responses were pretty negative, which, sadly, does not surprise me. A major part of the book is spent convincing people that these perceptions are real, which didn't really apply to me. However, I appreciated the suggestions on what we need to do to change those perceptions --- basically judge less and love more, although the advice was a little more concrete than that. I don't agree with all of the author's conclusions, but it's definitely a worthwhile read.
The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life by Thomas M. Sterner
I love self-help books, especially ones about developing discipline. This one was kind of a disappointment, though. A lot of it was based on Taoist thought, which is interesting but just not my thing. Plus, the author's writing was somewhat disorganized. I did like some of the principles though, like focusing on process instead of product.
Three Willows by Ann Brashares
I absolutely loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I had to read this book by the same author. This is about a slightly younger set of friends, but is written in much the same style and with similar themes. So, of course, I loved it. Some of the characters from the original books make cameos, which was quite fun.