Love Wins, by Rob Bell, may be the least controversial controversial book that I have ever read. For those of you outside church circles or just not paying attention, Bell has taken monster flack for what he writes in Love Wins, particularly in regards to his view of hell. C.S. Lewis suggests similar stuff in The Great Divorce and no one says "boo." N.T. Wright has taken similar flack for suggesting similar things. As someone who considers myself fairly orthodox, I expected to run across something in Bell's book that I'd object to (though not anything I'd feel the need to question his character over). It's actually pretty straightforward stuff; and only someone who insists that hell can only be a literal lake of fire that burns its victims for eternity without ever burning them up will find this book shocking. Bell believes in Jesus, and in heaven, and in hell. What he believes is heavily informed by the Biblical texts and, I'd argue, a pretty solid understanding of them. Others will disagree. And have. Whether you do or not, the book is worth picking up. Oh, and for those of you who are new to Bell, he has a writing style that some love, some hate, and some don't feel too strongly about, either way. He writes like he talks. It's no big deal, but it throws some people off. For those of you not new to Bell, he still writes like he always writes. If you like Bell, you'll like this; if you don't, you won't. I like Bell.
The Hawkline Monster served as my introduction to Richard Brautigan. It was a fantastic bit of fun. If the rest of Brautigan's work is half this good, he will serve as one of my go to bits of fiction when I need a good laugh or just something wry and weird. Not as good as Vonnegut, but certainly scratches the same itch. Hawkline Monster is a blast and I could have hung with its characters for another 200 pages. Great fun. High recommended.