Fall Reading List
The low temps and early nightfall makes fall the perfect time to cuddle up on the couch, light a candle, sip a glass of wine/tea/coffee, and read a really good book. I've read a few books in the last couple months that I wanted to share. A wide spectrum including self-help, apocalyptic trilogy, historical fiction, artsy novel, and religious meets humor. Hope you enjoy! Give me some suggestions of new books below in the comments!
"Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
Grade: A+ -- I love every thing that Brené writes. She's truly a genius and provides the language to understand our collective human experience and the wisdom to develop qualities we need to live a wholehearted life. I still stand behind my assertion that every Brené Brown book should be read by every single person! We'd all be much better for it!
"The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.
The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken."
Grade: B+ -- I like books that span decades in character's lives and this book does just that. While you don't really like any of them, I did get invested and wanted to keep reading to see how they got from point A to point B in their lives. The book jumps backward and forward in time, which I enjoy, and dives deep into the intricacies of long lasting friendships and how egos, success, and ambition can affect them.
"Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge."
Grade: B -- This book told a really powerful story and while I felt like there were some flaws in the way it was told, it was riveting to get a sense of WWII outside of actual battles and from teenagers in Germany and France's perspective. It's definitely worth the read, but -just a warning- it's a long one!
"Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers―they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding―but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything."
Grade: C -- Ok, so I didn't love this book. The plot is super interesting, but I left with more questions than answers and the writing style wasn't my favorite. It was also hard to imagine the landscape that was described because it is "other worldly". They are making it into a movie with Natalie Portman starring as the lead and I think it will be a much better film than book.
"Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She reveals with humor and style how Jesus’ embarrassing grace is the key to dealing with life's biggest challenge: people. The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, go to church with, don’t like, don’t understand, fear, compare ourselves to, and judge. Jen knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental, how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide."
Grade: A -- I want Jen Hatmaker to be my new BFF! She is so fun, so spunky, so full of passion and a joy for life while also being a no-nonsense and shoot-it-straight person that everyone needs in their life. I love her insights of what the church should be doing differently, from a pastor's perspective. I love that she admits that she has been wrong and changed her mind and admits faults. I love that she really opens up and gets personal and isn't vague like a lot of Christian authors. She delves into hard conversations and rarely talked about topics and makes you laugh while changing your perspective without projecting any guilt or shame! She is marvelous and I love her.
What is on your reading list? I'm always looking for suggestions! Leave your favorite books in the comments!