As a reminder, books listed on a post titled "to watch for" are books that have not yet been published but whose listings sound interesting. Often, these are books that have just signed contracts and are reported in Publishers Lunch.
Erin Dionne's BEAUTY BINGE, about a reluctant entrant in a plus-sized teen model search who is afraid to win but tired of losing so resorts to drastic acts of sabotage.
Keith Swain's DYNAMIC DUOS: THE ALPHA/BETA KEY TO UNLOCKING SUCCESS IN GAY RELATIONSHIPS, based on the premise that all gay men are not the same biologically, rather there are both alphas and betas—super heroes and sidekicks—and a successful relationship requires one of each.
Ingrid Law's debut novel SAVVY, about a family that has harbored for generations a magical secret: their thirteenth birthdays bring the emergence of a supernatural power—their "savvy" (one can make it rain for days; another can create furious gusts of winds)—and the adventures of a twelve-year-old member on the eve of her birthday as a tragic accident befalls the family.
Arts correspondent for The Guardian Charlotte Higgins's LATIN LOVE LESSONS: PUT A LITTLE OVID IN YOUR LIFE, a humorous collection of romance and dating advice from the great writers of Ancient Rome, including Ovid, Horace, Virgil, Catullus, and more.
New School professor Thaddeus Russell's A RENEGADE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, a look at key social and political turning points in history, showing how outsider groups such as slaves, immigrants, gays, prostitutes, and criminals have defined mainstream culture and freedoms.
unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity . . . and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.
Kinnaman, president of the Barna Institute, was inspired to write this book when Lyons (of the Fermi Project) commissioned him to do extensive research on what young Americans think about Christianity. Lyons had a "gut-level sense that something was desperately wrong," and three years of research paints exactly that picture. Mosaics and Busters (the generations that include late teens to early 30-somethings) believe Christians are judgmental, anti-homosexual, hypocritical, too political, and sheltered. Rather than simply try to do a PR face-lift, Kinnaman looks at ways in which the church's activities actually may have been unchristian, and encourages a return to a more biblical Christianity, a faith that not only focuses on holiness but also loves, accepts and works to understand the world around it. It would be possible to get lost in the numbers here, but the authors use numerous illustrations from their research and life experiences, and include insights at the end of every chapter from Christian leaders like Charles Colson, John Stott, Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis. This is a wonderful, thoughtful book that conveys difficult truths in a spirit of humility. Every Christian should read this, and it will likely influence the church for years to come.