In the past month I've read three excellent books:
A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. Held Evans spent a year trying to take the Bible's commands about women as literally as she could, with funny and fascinating results. Ever the overachiever, she engaged in numerous projects: from sleeping outside during her period, to keeping silent in church, praising her husband in the city gates like the Proverbs 31 woman, dressing modestly, holding a ceremony to honour forgotten women of Scripture, interviewing a polygamous family, and much more. Her conclusion that there's no single right way to be a "Biblical woman" doesn't have an "Aha, I knew it wouldn't work!" tone; rather, she finishes her experiment with a greater and humbler appreciation for her own faith, for her marriage, for other Christian women of all kinds, and for the freedom offered by the gospel. A hilarious, informative, moving book (with pictures!) that isn't just for women.
Found by Micha Boyett. I started reading Micha Boyett's former blog, Mama:Monk, a few years ago and loved how she blended life as a mom of two sons with reflections on prayer and spiritual disciplines. Found explores how she struggled with whether she was doing enough for God as a mother, and how she came to terms with her calling and discovered joy -- hers, and God's -- in her here-and-now life. The book is structured according to the divine hours, beginning with Vigils: Midnight and ending with Compline: Night Prayers. This structure helps emphasize that the insights she gains are not once-and-for-all achievements but part of a daily, constant exercise of faith. Great book for anyone who's ever wondered if their ordinary life matters.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. This book of essays deals with a wide range of subjects: Patchett's childhood as a daughter of divorced parents, her own early marriage and divorce, her second marriage (the "happy" one of the title), her writing habits and assignments, her beloved dog Rose, and other things. The only previous books I'd read of hers were Truth and Beauty (about her friendship with writer Lucy Grealy) and her novel Bel Canto, so it was interesting to find out more about Patchett the person and the writer; but this book is well worth reading even if you haven't read any of her other work.