The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

After her mother’s death and a professional failure, Kate heads to Ireland to get away from her life.  While wandering she comes across a group of lacemakers in a depressed town.  While most of the town welcomes her, some members aren’t so friendly and see her as a bad moral influence when the group starts to make lacy lingerie.

This book was cute but not very probable.  It was a fun read though.

When It's A JarWhen It’s A Jar by Tom Holt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the book because I can’t improve on this description – “Maurice has just killed a dragon with a bread knife. And had his destiny foretold… and had his true love spirited away. That’s precisely the sort of stuff that’d bring out the latent heroism in anyone. Unfortunately, Maurice is pretty sure he hasn’t got any latent heroism.
Meanwhile, a man wakes up in a jar in a different kind of pickle (figuratively speaking). He can’t get out, of course, but neither can he remember his name, or what gravity is, or what those things on the ends of his legs are called… and every time he starts working it all out, someone makes him forget again. Forget everything.”

Tom Holt’s books are fun to read but I have no idea what happened when I finish them.  These are books that are purely about the ride.

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest UniversityThe Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kevin Roose was an intern/slave for A.J. Jacobs while he was writing A Year of Living Biblically.  Kevin was sent to visit Liberty University, a Christian college started by Jerry Falwell, as part of that assignment.  He decided to follow up by enrolling for a semester. He transferred from Brown, a very liberal Ivy League school, to Liberty, a school known for its strict moral code.  This is his story.

Kevin’s liberal family and friends are scared that he is going to be either lynched or converted.  He doesn’t think that will happen but he isn’t prepared to truly like most of the people he meets.  He also isn’t expecting to start to be influenced by their ways of thinking.

He isn’t converted and he stays disturbed by parts of the conservative evangelical worldview.  I noted a few quotes that stuck with me because they are things that I have often thought but haven’t heard expressed as well as this. Emphasis mine.

After he visits a support group for men who want to stop masturbating –

“On the walk back to my dorm, I start to feel a number of the same emotions I felt after I went to see Pastor Rick about his conversion program for gay Liberty students…

…. Frustration with a religious system that gives issues of personal sexuality higher spiritual priority than helping the poor or living a life of service.”

Discussing the undercurrent of antiintellectualism he notices:

“Another worrisome statement came during a guest lecture in my Evangelism 101 class by one of Liberty’s campus pastors. At the end of the lecture, the pastor addressed the two hundred-plus students in my class this way:  ‘I just want to say this, Liberty students.  My biggest worry about you, about all of you, is that you’ll become educated beyond your obedience.”

YES!  I’m stealing that!  That is exactly what happened to me but I’ve never been able to put it that succinctly.  The more I studied my religion, the less I could believe it.  I was educated beyond my obedience.

I loved this book.  The writing is very well done for this type of memoir.