What to Read Next (No. 195): Celebrating a friend's new book
In the course of my internet career, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people who have written books. In this very newsletter, I’ve interviewed authors who I never dreamed of interacting with: David Epstein, Lulu Miller, Daniel James Brown, and so many others.
In today’s edition, though, I have the honor of featuring a true friend—someone I met in college who has now become an incredible author and all-around creative force.
I also have a fun announcement and a great interview to share with you, so let’s get right to it!
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To Light Their Way by Kayla Craig
Published: 2021 | Pages: 240
Last year, back in March, Kayla started up a Liturgies for Parents Instagram account. This was technically pre-pandemic, by about a week. When COVID-19 hit the world in full force, parents were a group of people with a unique subset of problems, needs, and worries. Through Kayla’s prayers and comfort, that IG account blew up and has now launched into a book called To Light Their Way.
These prayers are a nourishment for weary parents (young parents, old parents, grandparents, godparents, parents-to-be, and parents-who-never-were). They will give you hope that you’re not alone in this unbelievably joyous and unbelievably hard journey of caring for little humans in our complex world.
Beyond that, To Light Their Way is just a really well done object. The color of the paper is just right, the design and use of space is perfect, the typeface is vintage and authentic—it all works together to give the book a weighty, sacred tone that sets it apart as something to be approached with mindfulness, depth, and an open heart.
It’s a book that can live on your desk, nightstand, or diaper changing station all the same. No matter the place, though, it’s one you’ll return to again and again when you need a breath of fresh hope.
I don’t pretend to approach this review objectively. That doesn’t make it any less true, though.
Have book idea or book proposal questions? Let me help!
A while back, Speakeasy approached me about becoming a featured live webinar speaker for all things books—writing, reading, pitching, etc. My life is a little too crazy to jump into live events, but then they let me know about a new feature that allows me to answer some of these same questions as more of a paid consultant than a speaker.
I said yes to that one.
If you need expert feedback on your book proposal, book idea, or just about anything else in the writing, publishing, podcasting, or bookish world, click below to get started:
A Few Bookish Questions With Kayla
1. Your new book is about parenting, prayer, and finding rest in the overwhelm of this moment. Do you have any indispensable books in those subjects that you frequently return to or that have greatly influenced your own thinking?
Prayer: Forty Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson came to me at a time when I didn't have the words to pray. The art and the short meditations felt new and accessible. I also often turn to Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Enuma Okoro, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I'm not Episcopalian, but their book of Common Prayer is deeply rooted in Christian spirituality. I also love Father James Martin's new book, Learning to Pray. I'm deeply honored that he endorsed To Light Their Way.
2. Are there writers who have particularly shaped your approach towards writing? Who do you wish you could write like?
I wish I could write like Madeleine L'Engle. Both her fiction and nonfiction have inspired me greatly. She had an expansive view of creativity and art, spirituality and faith. She also wrote out of her experiences as a mother. I highly recommend Walking On Water and re-reading A Wrinkle In Time. (No movie will ever come close!)
3. Give me a couple recommendations for faith books you recommend that fall outside of the Christian mainstream.
I just started reading God Speaks Through Wombs by Drew Jackson. It's a compelling book of poetry inspired by the Psalms from the perspective of a Black man in America. Absolutely stunning. For women who are looking for a fresh perspective on spirituality and motherhood, I was honored to endorse Rewilding Motherhood by Shannon Evans. I also find myself immensely grateful for Dominique Gilliard, who recently released Subversive Witness: Scripture's Call To Leverage Privilege. And Abuelita Faith by Kat Armas is on my nightstand right now.
4. What would we find you reading after hours for entertainment, comfort, and/or relaxation? Do you have genres or subject areas you gravitate towards?
Fiction is my go-to. I love an expansive, immersive novel where I can travel to another time, another space -- getting lost with the people and places on the page. I try to be intentional in expanding my perspective in reading BIPOC authors. I love historical fiction, literary fiction, and books that keep me on my toes. I recently finished The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and can't recommend it enough. What an immersive read.
6. Any all-time favorite books that have especially stuck with you and/or shaped your thinking over the years? Books that you think about a lot? Fiction, non-fiction, whatever it is.
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