Monday, May 4, 2015

what i read in april

I'm finally making some progress (good progress) on the Read 50 Books in a Year Challenge that I set out for myself in January. I've been behind for the last few months, but I'm gaining on the goal (and making up the deficit) which makes me feel like a winner. April was a month of insanely delightful reading. 

Seriously, insanely delightful. I read 3 books that were impossible to put down. And then there was one that was... A love-hate sort of read. 
I can't begin to put words to the love I had for this novel. It touches on complicated issues -most notably the idea of "gifts from God"- with a grace and beauty that begged me to think and wonder. I was reminded over and over again about the two sides in every story.I was surprise by the way I became attached to the characters -all of them- throughout the book, so much so that at the end, I cried.

The plot is interesting and turns left and right and in between in ways you never expect. Each character came with thick feelings and had me working through my own reactions to their personhood in relation to mine. Personally, I hated one of them, but came to mourn for her as the plot progressed and felt for another, then found myself wondering what her intent truly was in several decisions she makes.

It's a must read. And a can't put it down. So, treat yourself.

Wow. That's how this book left me. I adore Kelly Corrigan's Foreward Medium interviews on YouTube, so I was thrilled when I serendipitous-ly stumbled upon her writing in the library just a few weeks later. The entire book hinges on Corrigan's mother and a quote from her childhood, "Your father is the glitter, but I am the glue." Initially I was nervous that an entire 216 pages could result from a single sentence, but this book is so much more than parent-child relations. 

Corrigan illustrates her childhood while being a nanny to two children who've lost their mother to cancer. I quickly came to adore her affections for these two kids and their family, while cheering for her as she discovers her mother in herself. As a woman who recognizes my mom in my flesh more often than not, I found comfort in her process, felt joy in her fondness, and celebrated the way the words came together in beautiful, relational strokes. 
Oooph. The entire reading of this book was love and hate. Deeply love and then loathe. In fact, I set the book down a couple of times and swore I was done. But then, somehow, I came back. I think it's because Donald Miller wrote it and his Blue Like Jazz was the first book that made me want to write my own story. His transparency that I loved in Blue Like Jazz he continued here. I was blown away by his honesty in talking about his engagement and marriage, his troubled past relationships and the way they formed him as a partner. 

But, If I'm entirely honest, I'm repelled by the name dropping and pre-Madonna writing experiences. I want to be impressed by your life, by your grit and your work, not by the places you go and the people you text. I want to identify with your struggle without being distracted by the way you live. 

The actual content -that which is apart from the distracting, fancy details- is rich. It's convicting and wise. It's applicable and made me think about my own approach to relationships and intimacy (and not even the sexy kind). But, I wished he'd heard himself a bit more, I still felt like he donned the "costume" he said to remove, and I wanted so desperately for there to be more than that for him and his wife. 
This entire book came from a blog post. Yes, a single article that became an ENTIRE novel. Well, it's sort of a charge, not totally a book, but so inspirational nonetheless. I found myself thinking more critically and honestly about the things I create to discourage myself, the procrastination I love to hate, and the deep desire I have to make. It's not about figuring it all out or about having the answers right now, but an encouragement to grasp your process, choosing constantly to move forward in the Must of your life's mission.  

Not only did I love the words and highlight and dog-ear, but the art. Oh the art, the beautiful watercolor art that fills the pages of this book. I wanted to tear out entire groups of pages and tape them all over because they just speak to me all over the place in their color and content. Please do yourself the favor and bring this baby home. 

I'm also thrilled to get back on the Semi-Charmed Reading Challenge train again. I missed out on the winter one (it's so hard with all those holidays so close together in there), but I'm back and excited and GOING TO DOMINATE.

Here's my preliminary list: 
A Freebie (5 points):  
              The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison  (326 pages) 
A book you have never heard of before (10 points):  
              The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam  (336 pages) 
A book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years (10 points)
              Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner  (320 pages) 
A book that won a 2014 Goodreads “Best Book” award (10 points)
              #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso  (256 pages) 
A book by an author who is completely new to you (15 points)
              Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler  (336 pages) 
A book by an author you have read before (15 points)
              Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans (258 pages)
A book with "light" or "dark" in the title (15 points):
               Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman  (262 pages) 
book with the name of a city, state or country in the title (20 points):
               The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst  (261 pages) 
A book with an animal on the cover (20 points):
               A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas  (208 pages) 
A book that is part of a series with at least four books (25 points)
              The Giver by Lois Lowry   (240 pages) 
A book that is longer than 500 pages long (25 points)
              East of Eden by John Steinbeck  (601 pages)  OR A 
A book with an alliterative title (30 points)
              H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald (320 pages) 


  1. The Light Between Oceans was so good- one of my favorites too! I LOVED Blue Like Jazz- one of my favorite books ever, but from your review of Scary Close I'm not sure how much I would like it either. You have such a good list together for the SCSBC! I'm still stuck on a 500+ page book & an animal on the cover.

  2. Ahhh I'm so glad you loved The Light Between Oceans - I remember crying for the last like, 50 pages or so. (Which is weird but I love a book that makes me cry.) The Elle Luna book looks good too!!
    And #GIRLBOSS is on my SCSBC list too :)

  3. How do you ONLY read awesome books?! You're the master of finding good reads. Please send me all of these. THANKS.

  4. I really thought Girl Meets God was interesting! (Though I was a little underwhelmed by the follow up). I've heard all good things about H is for Hawk.

  5. I love this list! I want to read more sci-fi this summer. We'll talk more about this later.

  6. I started Scary Close because of your IG. I have to link back to you bc I couldn't remember whose IG it was!

  7. PS East of Eden is my fave book

  8. I'm so bummed that you felt that way about Scary Close. I feel the same way about Blue Like Jazz, and I have to say that none of this subsequent books have lived up to the magic of that one. I was hoping this one might change that. Womp.

    But your SCBC picks are great! I'm looking forward to your reviews of all of them!

  9. Wow it seems like you read some pretty solid books this month! Awesome! Adding these to my reading list now...

  10. I just started The Light Between Oceans! So glad to hear you loved it!

  11. I've heard great things about The Light Between Oceans - I'll have to add it to my list. I'm doing the scsbc challenge again this year too, I just posted my list today and I'm hoping to actually finish it this year!

  12. Thanks for sharing!! I'm always looking for new books to read! :)

  13. I'm doing this challenge, too! Can't wait to hear what you think about your books!

  14. Girl I wanted to love Scary Close SO BAD. I really did. But I know I have issues with some of the stuff that's happened in the circle of writerly friends that Don Miller keeps and, well, that might be part of my struggle.

    The 500+ was a HARD one to come up with... But the animals on cover, have you read any of the books by Barbara O'Neal? Almost all of hers have a dog on the cover and I REALLY have enjoyed them.

  15. Okay soooo #GIRLBOSS is the only one that I wasn't sure about. I want to read it, but I'm not sure if I'm going to find it irritating so I chose We Were Liars as my back up... :)

  16. Well, I'm a stalker of all the book lists.

  17. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed Girl Meets God... I actually went back and forth about putting it on there... But I've been trying to read all the memoirs I can get my hands on (for research's sake) and soooo, hers seems like it'd be important in there.

    My mom actually got my H is for Hawk for my birthday. I have a weird fascination with them and have since my dad got sick... Then the book is about a girl who loses her father and, well, serendipity.

  18. Oh, yes. I want to hear all the things.

  19. What do you think of it so far??

  20. This is not the first time I've heard this. And I still can't believe it's taken me this long to come around to reading it! :)

  21. YES READ THEM ALL. Well, except Scary Close if you're not interested in the relational conversation... But then again, I'm thankful to have read it so I can be in the know of all the conversations going around about being "scary close". :)

  22. YES, WHOMP. I was really upset and sort of felt like he went out of his way to disappoint me. Though, I know he didn't because I'm not that important in the world.

    I LOVE that you have The Phantom Tollbooth AND The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on yours... I almost chose that one for my series too! :)


  24. Ohhhh and you have Catcher in the Rye on your list... LOVE THAT BOOK. (And cannot believe that it was allowed to be read in high school!)

  25. Girl, add em to your list. AND share what you love with me! :)

  26. Oh girl, it was delightful. SO SO delightful. I think because it doesn't end happily ever after and that's life. :)

  27. so far i like it. i stopped early on bc someone recommended this other book that now I want to finish first. I am posting about it tomorrow...Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. But I will let you know when I finish Scary Close

  28. It does look like you're going to dominate!! :) Good luck!

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