Friday, June 26, 2015

June 2015 Pop Culture Roundup

Five items for June...

1. I recently read Jennifer Knapp's memoir, Facing the Music, during which she recounts her childhood family struggles, rise to Christian music stardom and subsequent disappearance from the scene, reconciling her sexuality and faith, and her return to music. Knapp doesn't really hold much back as she shares the difficulty of walking the line as a CCM artist, and later enduring the judgment of former fans and other public Christians after her coming out. She's tremendously honest when sharing the darker periods in her life and how she's always wrestled with being in the spotlight, and offers a helpful insight into how one can be Christian without necessarily having to uphold certain beliefs and social positions. It's a genuine, vulnerable read that I couldn't put down.

2. I also read Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest this month, the final installment of her Clockwork Century series that I've enjoyed reading the past few years. She returns to the alternate steampunk history of the Civil War era that she has created, where at this point President Ulysses Grant wants to find a way to end the war and re-unify the country once and for all. People around him have other plans, however, and he turns to a scientist who has developed an early computer nicknamed the Fiddlehead to help him, along with special agent Maria Boyd, whom was first introduced in Clementine. We also have Abraham Lincoln, whom scientists managed to save and is basically part steampunk cyborg, and of course zombies. The narrative is as gripping as any of Priest's previous novels, and also offers some commentary on war profiteering, which seemed timely.

3. I recently read A More Christlike God by Bradley Jersak, the review for which you can read here.

4. Along with reading her book, I've been listening to and enjoying Jennifer Knapp's most recent album, Set Me Free. It was released last year, and I remember listening to it maybe once, albeit while distracted, and didn't give it much more thought. I was very glad to revisit it, as it's as strong an album as any previous effort. By far, my favorite track is "Neosho:"

5. I've also been listening to Florence + the Machine's latest, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Florence Welch has this way of writing songs that are driven, passionate, and rich in sound. Their latest is no different. Here's the title track: