Regarding books that come in spells. It seems like parenthood and religion are the thing now on my list. I tried to avoid it, somewhat, but I've got Bible story retellings (Rachel and Leah), religious autobiography (Son of a Preacher Man), and a teacher memoir (Dangerous Minds) from the library.
Leaving the Saints was just as good as I had hoped. Martha Beck is witty and perceptive, and does not suffer from cynicism in spite of a life that really should have engendered it. Funny without being ironically distant. Also, Mormons are wacky. Also, if you don't like your therapist, fire your therapist. That's what I say.
I also learned that a number of Bible stories I thought I knew are NOT actually Bible stories but Book of Mormon versions of them (thank you so very much, Orson Scott Card). My whole world is turned upside down.
Now I want to get a little bit away from the religious thing, mostly because I've gotten too deep into it. I read Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott, and found it a little too preachy for me. I thought Son of a Preacher Man would be a somewhat skeptical indictment of mainstream Christianity and/or televangelism from Jay Bakker, son of the famous Bakkers. But it looks like he's a pretty mainstream (albeit tattooed) Christian, and the story itself looks a little haphazard and apologetic. So I might not even read it right now.
The parenthood/children thing I might be able to maintain, though. It's not so much a reading theme yet as on my mind, since I've been reading Rebecca's blog about Anna, and since I've been reading Dooce for a while now. I guess it's my online reading that's parenthood oriented. But there's a book called Raising America about the history of parenthood theory in the US--Dr. Spock to Dr. Phil--that I'm curious about.
And book club went well yesterday. After the renegade meeting, we might just see how the real thing pans out. I have hope again; this is a valuable thing.