The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - It has been a while since I read a novel, and this one was good. It is a story of childhood, a mistake, and redemption with a backdrop of the modern history of Afhghanistan and imigration to the US.
Serve God, Save the Plantet, by Matthew Sleeth - Great, practical book about the intersection of Chrisitianity and Environmentalism, two things I am interested in and wish I was better at. He provides a scriptural basis for environmentalism, presents his own story of pulling himself out of consumerist culture and devoting himself to environmental causes, and presents some practical ways to be less intrusive on God's creation. I had some issues with some of his doctrine (mostly endtimes stuff), but in general he was pretty solid and his praxis seemed right on. He came off a little harsh sometimes, but maybe we've driven the planet to the point where that's appropriate.
Where God was Born by Bruce Feiler - Once again, one of my favorite authors (Walking the Bible, Abraham), Feiler is an American, Jewish journalist who writes about the intersection of current events and religion (focusing on the old testament). His methods is a kind of immersion, where he spends time in the locations he is writing about and then writes about the stories in the bible in light of what he learned from the location. In this book, he is focusing on the books of the old testament other than the Torah. He visits Israel, Iraq, and Iran in this book to visit the role these places have in the bible. I learned a lot from this book about the historical views of Joshua and David, the role of Babylon and Persia in the exile, the reasons for the dispersion, etc. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of the bible or is looking for an ecumenical viewpoint on the religions of Abraham (plus Zoroasterianism, which I knew very little about).
...and one album review, Sky Blue Sky by Wilco - One of my favorite bands comes out with a pretty solid effort. It is much more acessible than the last few albums on the first listen, but musically less brilliant. Jeff Tweedy's lyrics hint that he's a happier, more mature human, and maybe a little less restless spiritually. He often writes about religion in a negative light, but avoids that here, and many of his lyrics seem to come from a more seeking, humble place. The addition of Nils Cline on guitar adds a much jazzier feel to Wilco and most of the songs are pretty laid back. Not my favorite Wilco album, but I like it a lot. (Kind of like the pizza in the cafeteria: not great for pizza, but pretty good for food in general)
Our house made it through inspection with only a few minor items, but the closing has been moved back to June 29. It will be a big relief when it all done.