May 052011
Given that I work in publishing, I probably have more literary friends than the average bear. Still, I can't think of the last time that I had no fewer than three of them release new books in the same week, and in three totally different genres to boot (a novel, a memoir, and an academic anthology). I'm a bit perplexed, which isn't that unusual for me.
Here are the details:
1. Long-time site reader and commenter Meg Moseley's debut novel When Sparrows Fall is now available from Multnomah Press. It deals with themes of spiritual abuse that will be familiar to many fans of this website, and it's gotten great advance press from readers who are up on the subject. There are of course several nonfiction books that discuss these issues from spiritual, sociological, psychological, or personal memoir standpoints, but as far as I know Meg may well be the first to address them directly in novel form. I'm really looking forward to reading this as soon as I get a chance.
From Meg's website:
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling brand of “shepherding.” But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets only he knows, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.
More details about the book can be found here. Congratulations, Meg!
2. My college buddy Christopher Yuan has released a memoir– coauthored with his mother, Angela Yuan— of his testimony of faith. Entitled Out of a Far Country, the book describes a Prodigal Son-like journey through drug abuse, a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle, and eventual time in prison. It promises to be the most controversial of the three, due to Chris's abandonment of a gay lifestyle for Jesus, but I can vouch that he's the real deal, and is a valuable advocate for Christians who want to understand these issues with sensitivity and respect.
From Chris's website:
It is a blindingly true story that will resonate with prodigal sons and daughters, and with the parents of prodigals. The story is sometimes heartbreaking, and often raw in its honesty. The battle that is waged over a person's soul is lengthy and hard-fought, and the outcome is not known until after wounds have been suffered. 
Info on Chris's book, coincidentally also published by Multnomah, can be found here. Cheers, Chris and Angela!
3. Finally, my bemusedly blogging brother Mr. Pond, a.k.a. John Patrick Pazdziora, contributed a chapter to a brand-new academic volume on an emerging literary topic known as anti-tales. It's entitled Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment. Those who have followed John's blog at The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond know what this is about; otherwise, the blurb might give a clue:
From Catriona McAra's website:
The anti-(fairy) tale has long existed in the shadow of the traditional fairy tale as its flipside or evil twin. According to André Jolles in Einfache Formen (1930), such Antimärchen are contemporaneous with some the earliest known oral variants of familiar tales. While fairy tales are generally characterised by a “spirit of optimism” (Tolkien) the anti-tale offers us no such assurances; for every “happily ever after,” there is a dissenting “they all died horribly.” The anti-tale is, however, rarely an outright opposition to the traditional form itself. …
John supplied the chapter on the satirical fables and whimsical fairy tales of James Thurber, one of my favorite American writers. I haven't seen the other chapters, but assuming they're anything like John's, the book promises to be thoughtful, probing, insightful, and a bit of fun. It's edited by Catriona McAra and David Calvin, and published by Cambridge Scholars (!). More information is here on Mr. Pond's blog. Well done, old boy!
If any of my other readers are publishing books or working on other endeavors, I'd love to hear about it. Just try not to release it this week. It's a little full.