July2017 Booklist 3 www.booklistonline.com
And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy:
Stories from the Byways of American
Women and Religion.
By Adrian Shirk.
Aug. 2017. 272p. Counterpoint, $26 (9781619029538).
Shirk’s collection of essays focuses on well-
known female religious figures like Aimee
Semple McPherson, Sojourner Truth, and
Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Sci-
ence, and the lesser-known Marie Laveau,
a voodoo priestess, and Eliza Snow, one of
Joseph Smith’s wives and a Mormon leader
in her own right. A thoughtful essay on the
writer Flannery O’Connor is one of numer-
ous other delights found here. A book with
such a wide range of subjects might be writ-
ten by numerous authors, but Shirk authors
this collection solo, occasionally adopting
different styles and voices—even occasionally
tapping into a quasi stream of consciousness.
Shirk’s own religious background ranges
from family who are staunchly antireligious
to her (many) mainstream religious experiences. Just when readers think they know
what to expect, Shirk adds a nonreligious
essay about the feminist takeover of a New
York building in the 1970s. Readers could
pick and choose essays, but they would be
doing themselves a disservice, as the panoply
of writing also serves as a memoir of Shirk’s
life and thought. —Joan Curbow
Girl on a Wire: Walking the Line between
Faith and Freedom in the Westboro
By Libby Phelps and Sara Stewart.
Aug. 2017. 224p. Skyhorse, $24.99 (9781510703254).
It began in 1991 with a single sign: “Watch
Your Kids! Gays in Restrooms.” It was waved
about during the first demonstration by the
now notorious Westboro Baptist Church,
whose founder, Fred Phelps, had decided that
homosexuality was a menace American culture
was trying to promote. The Phelps’ picketing
grew apace, and by 1998 it had gone national,
and the church members were present at the
funeral of Matthew Shepard (“Matt in Hell”),
while in the wake of 9/11 they targeted New
York firefighters (“Thank God for September 11”). Phelps’ granddaughter, who left the
church eight years ago, recalls with coauthor
Stewart, these and other controversial incidents. If there is a villain in this fascinating
memoir, it is her humorless Aunt Shirley, not
Phelps’ late grandfather, for whom she still has
warm feelings, noting he genuinely felt he was
lovingly saving people from hell by pointing
out their sins. There is a fine line between love
and hate, however, and readers will decide for
themselves which emotion was the actual motive. —Michael Cart
In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a
By Maria Polonchek.
Aug. 2017. 208p. Rowman & Littlefield, $34
(9781442270664); e-book, $33.99 (9781442270671).
Polonchek’s expertise doesn’t come from an
academic degree or background in divinity or
counseling—it stems from her ability to write
about her personal spiritual journey. She deftly shares her experience as a parent and reflects
on contemporary religious, nonreligious, and
moral issues. As a parent, Polonchek has
found ways to approach the hope and challenge of teaching morality without religion,
awe without it being God inspired, and death
without an afterlife. She also focuses on the
importance of extended family and community for all, outside of a Christian community.
For readers who may find that last part to be a
hurdle, there are a number of helpful tips surrounding ways to find common ground and
celebrate holiday traditions. There are many
books on spirituality for Christian parents
but few for secular families—this will fill an
important gap. This is not a how-to parenting book. Although the book is written in the
style of a memoir, those raising children will
find the author’s ideas helpful. In Good Faith
is a good addition to public library parenting
and religion collections. —Joyce McIntosh
Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight
Out of this Wild and Glorious Life.
By Jen Hatmaker.
Aug. 2017. 224p. Thomas Nelson, $22.99
Popular Christian speaker, author, and
On our latest list of hotly anticipated fall books, you’ll see superstar authors’ new nov- els and first memoirs and essay collections from a prime-time news veteran and a
legendary doctor-writer. There’s even a dragon tattoo. —Annie Bostrom
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye. By David Lagercrantz. Knopf, $27.95
Lagercrantz’s second novel based on the late Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander trilogy is
sure to follow its predecessor, The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2015), straight to the top of
In the Midst of Winter. By Isabel Allende. Atria, $28 (9781501178139). Oct.
A traffic accident brings together an aging professor, the undocumented Guatemalan
immigrant woman whose car he hits, and the Chilean woman who rents a room from
him in best-selling author Allende’s latest.
Logical Family. By Armistead Maupin. Harper, $27.99 (9780062391223). Oct.
In his first memoir, Maupin will recount his southern upbringing, move to San Francisco
in the 1970s, and all that influenced his writing with the memorable honesty and humor
fans of his Tales of the City series cherish.
The River of Consciousness. By Oliver Sacks. Knopf, $27.95 (9780385352567). Oct.
Beloved neurologist and writer Sacks was working on this collection of essays when he
died, in 2015. Readers will rejoice at this first posthumous offering following Sacks’ autobiography On the Move (2015).
Sleeping Beauties. By Stephen King and Owen King. Scribner, $32.50 (9781501163401). Sept.
In the father-son duo’s near-future thriller, set in an Appalachian town, all the women,
except for one, are afflicted with a strange sleeping disease that leads to violence and
What Unites Us. By Dan Rather. Algonquin, $22.95 (9781616207823). Nov.
Journalist Rather has an appreciative audience of nearly two million Facebook followers
who frequently share his posts. His new essay collection will reveal his outlook on and
advice for our current, uniquely turbulent era.
Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir. By Amy Tan. Harper, $28.99
Tan, author of masterful, sweeping, cross-generational novels, will address her life as a
writer and the intersection of truth, memory, and fiction in her first memoir.