This page will be a little different from standard book reviews in that I won't always be reviewing recently published books or best sellers. You can find reviews like that in any literary journal. These are simply books that I've read, enjoyed and found value in...perhaps something you've seen in a bookstore or library but never thought to pick up. Some will be new; some will be old favorites. I'll try to include one fiction and one non-fiction selection each week.
Do you have a favorite book you'd like to talk about here? DROP ME A LINE! I'll put up your recommendation ("John X recommends TITLE, by Author, a book about..."), or, if you prefer, you can write a guest review.
NOTE: Erbie's does not sell books. Prices are included,
where available, only as a guideline for people who may want to look into
purchasing one of these books, and may change without notice. Please
check THE REFERENCE SECTION for links
to on-line book stores, or consult your local bookseller or library, if
you are interested in reading one of these selections.
In 1990, Barry Stopfel, an openly gay man living in a long-term committed relationship, was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church...an event that spawned one of the few heresy trials in the church's history and brought the issue of gay clergy in mainstream Christian churches to newspaper headlines around the world.
Courage to Love, written in the voice of Stopfel's lifepartner and fellow clergyman Will Leckie, is a moving story of faith, calling, committment and integrity in the face of incredible adversity. The title was well-chosen: This is truly a love story...the love of two men for their God and for each other...that carries the reader beyond the all-too-easy "us/them/gay/straight" stereotypes. It is also very much a story about courage...not only Leckie and Stopfel's courage in the face of a world that would prefer to remake them in its own image, but also the courage of many other people in the church, both clergy and laity, who faced up to an issue that many Christian institutions would prefer to see swept under the carpet.
is a "good read." The writing style is relaxed and conversational;
the dialogue flows smoothly and rings true; the descriptions are
clear and vivid; the story is engrossing. Best of all, the people
come across as real human beings who could, perhaps, be your neighbors...very
believable and easy to relate to. You don't need to be an Episcopalian,
or even particularly religious, to appreciate and enjoy Courage to Love.
If you like a good story, with a true-to-life hero (or two, or three...),
you'll find this book very approachable. Sometimes truth reads much,
much better than fiction.
This is a
BIG book -- 578 pages, including the historical note -- but it moves along
briskly and engages the reader fully from the opening scene to the tragic,
yet triumphant conclusion. I found it very hard to put down.
A note for the squeamish...some of the more painful scenes, including Jehanne's
death by fire, are very graphic.
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