Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Paperboy by Vince Vawter
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller
BECAUSE YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW IT.
Now, nobody panic, I'm not about to go down some twisty, Da Vinci Code, Illuminati conspiracy trail. I promise I'm not. Dr. Keller is not Dan Brown (puh-raise JESUS). What Keller does in this book is break down the parable: The audience to whom Jesus was preaching and what kind of message God was trying to get through to them; the culture of the day and what each piece of the parable means in light of that culture; and that, um, hello? There are two sons in this story, each equally important, each with something to teach us, and how each one of us, with our own backgrounds and opinions and uniquely-shaped chips on our shoulders often behave like an Elder Brother or a Younger, and why we need to just stop it and clean up our act, already. Except nicer, and way more eloquently. You should seriously read this, especially if you've read and heard the story of the prodigal son so many times you give yourself special permission to mentally check out when your pastor brings it up. (Not that I have ever done that. Ahem.)