Monday, June 29, 2015

#Collaboreads: The Invention of Wings

Today is that really beautiful day where we're going to gather round and talk about reading. Today's the really beautiful day we're going to share about the random books we've picked for ourselves and we're going to R.E.A.D.S them. You, me, and RAD are going to share and to add all the books to our GoodReads and overwhelm ourselves with the things that we absolutely need to consume.  

Let's start with the fact that I read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. 

This book is strong, really strong. I say this because I listened to it on tape (my first time EVER making it through a book on tape) and was so enchanted by all parts of it. The narrators they chose have voices that are all the kinds of delightful and fitting to the characters. My only critique is that this book is so good and you are dying for it to go fast and the readers can only read so quickly without slurring everything together. Be warned fast readers, be warned. 

Now time for the R.E.A.D.S. review. If you need a reminder of how these go, check out this post

I've always sworn I am not a historical fiction reader. I would tell you until I'm blue in the face that I just can't take all those references in my reading. But, lately, I can't put historical fiction down and I've gravitated with a deep and dying devotion to the Civil Rights era. 

This novel falls earlier than the other historical fiction books I've read as of late. It steps in and provides a context of the attitudes and actions that precipitated the Civil Rights movement with a constant battle over the righteousness and legality of owning slaves between the members of a white, wealthy southern household. 

The main character, Sarah Grimke, is a white daughter of a plantation owner who is real. Yes, this is a fictional novel that dances around the beautiful, brave life of a forward-thinking woman who changed the course of our nation's history. Sarah speaks with intense emotional clarity and intelligent appeals that immediately liken you to her. She's well aware of the consequences of her action and incredibly honest about how she wished desperately for things to have ended differently. 

Sarah has a voice that is starkly and beautifully contrasted with the slave she is given as a birthday gift. Handful, the slave -her slave-, details life under the rule of a hateful and terrible Mrs. Grimke (Sarah's mother) while providing a gruesome account of the double standards surrounding slavery. She shares the rich history that slaves pass from one another, passing down their family tales through quilts and craft and word of mouth. She's rich in person and spirit, though owned by a (morally) bankrupt white woman. 


If I could only pick a single character to love, I'd probably lean towards Sarah because of the many ways our lives seem to overlap. Her love for her father, her large role in his dying days, her closeness to her littlest sister, her pained emotions about the enormity of the injustices around her. I just see me in her. 

But Handful, with her determined-ness to honor the plan she and her mother made, was gorgeous. Her ability to reveal the pain and beauty, the hurt and hope of slaves in this time of transition (from slavery to freedom) was easy for me to grow deeply addicted to. She was divine, a character made to be loved, whose character and life was one that surely sent ripples through the lives of other characters in the book and those of readers. 

I never thought fact and fiction could linger so seamlessly, though I'd expect nothing less from Sue Monk Kidd. Her ability to bring gorgeous life to what could easily be called a history lesson illustrates the way our past is amazingly (and terrifyingly) relevant to our present. 

There's a plethora. The Help, The Secret Life of Bees, Calling Me Home, To Kill a Mockingbird. And yet, this approaches a different angle of the Civil Rights conversation. It hits in the early 1800s, when slavery was booming in the U.S., but the inklings of race equality were bleeding down from the North to the South. 

I'm a hit and miss fan of Kidd herself. Some of her novels have turned me inside out with their beauty. Others fall flat and are almost impossible to read in their entirety. You can always expect complicated relationships, beautiful wordsmithing, and amazing metaphor. Sometimes it works for me and I can't stop, other times I just can't get hooked. 

I've avidly read novels by Sue Monk Kidd. This cover was different for her, but was consistent with the cover art that's running in the historical fiction circles. It walks along the same design lines as All the Light We Cannot See with the sort of ombre, watercolor backdrop with block text on the front cover. 

I'm not sure that it relates as the image depicted falls blurry and muted behind the white letters of the title, though I'm sure it's meant to intimate a sunset with the beautiful family of reds and oranges that quickly fade into night's black. 


Five. Five stars. A hole handful. Once again, Sue Monk Kidd has opened my eyes to what beauty can happen in our history and the way that it can be a part of our present. 

I literally have this in my Amazon shopping cart to send to Rachel because I just know she'll eat it up like I did.

Now that my review is done, it's your turn! 

The random criteria for next month's link-up: 
A book with someone's name in the title. 
And we'll see ya'll on July 27th!


  1. Thanks MUCH for the FuN! Enjoying the impromptu criteria - the thrill of the chase? and the additional diversity to my reading... And thanks for the linkup opp!
    I've def enjoyed hearing your response to your NYT choice on an audio first !
    They've become a fav go-to for me - my review is also an audiobook... see you there :)

  2. Yesssss!
    1. I am SO EXCITED this is live.
    2. I cannot WAIT to see who joins us-- I just think this will build the coolest community and we will have so many new great friends as a result!
    3. I cannot wait to read this one. I keep looking at it and adding it to my cart but just haven't pulled the trigger because of the million other things I still need to read...but it needs to happen SOON.
    4. I just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and, like you said, was amazed at how similar it is to life now still, and how terrifying that is.
    5. Amen to being drawn to Civil Rights era lit right now...the news headlines of today just keep pulling me back to books where the fight for racial equality began and keep begging me to put myself in the shoes of all people so I can love well.
    6. You are the best. So grateful to know you and be doing this whole #collaboreads thing with you!
    7. This is becoming a novel in its own right, SO I'LL STOP NOW.

  3. Woohoo, it's here!! I've been so excited to link up with you ladies and today did not disappoint. I can't wait to read all of the reviews and meets some new virtual friends.

    This book is in my Amazon cart as we speak. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvJune 29, 2015 at 6:58 AM

    I loved The Invention of Wings and I learned so much from it! It was fun to read your thoughts. I've never listened to a book on tape, to be honest I'm a little scared to, it almost feels like someone else intruding on my private reading experience (if that makes sense). I've also always been drawn to the Civil War and Reconstruction period. I'm currently reading The Goldfinch and I'm so in love with it.

  5. This is seriously theeee funnest book linkup. I love that we're all reading different things. Not only are we introduced to new bloggers, we're introduced to new books! I've heard only the best things about The Invention of Wings. It sounds amazing . . . and I do love me some historical fiction. :)

  6. I'm seriously loving this. Oh my goodness!! Unfortunately, I'm still in the middle of my read (The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty) and am unable to link-up today. I'm enjoying this format and have loved reading everyone's reviews!

    I typically HATE historical fiction, but I've found a few to love. Your review of this one intrigues me and will be added to my TBR list for sure!

  7. Historical fiction is my FAVE! Love, love, love. I've read other books by Sue Monk Kidd and I have to agree - some I love, some not so much. But I'm so glad to hear that you love this one and gave it 5 stars. :)

  8. This book sounds fascinating! Adding it to my list of to-read books now! I've heard great things about Calling Me Home which you mentioned as well. Have you read it also?

  9. This one has been on my list for a while, but I've always been hesitant to read it. I ADORED Secret Life of Bees. Like "read it 3+ times" adored. But then I read Mermaid Chair and was incredibly disappointed in the content/writing style, so I didn't want that to happen with another one of her books. Your review gives me more insight than the book jacket, so I think next time I'm at the library, this one is coming home with me! I haven't read historical fiction in a coon's age, so I think I'm due!

  10. I've never done audiobooks...but I could see the appeal! If I spent more time in the car (or on the train, like I used to) I would probably have gotten into them already. I LOVE this linkup! I can't wait to join next month - this may be the impetus I need to get back into reading!!! :)

  11. Thank you! The criteria was our favorite part... And we're hoping to open up our own reading choices because it's so easy to settle in to what's familiar! :)

    So thankful you enjoyed it!

  12. Girl, I need to reread To Kill a Mockingbird... I loved it in high school and can only imagine I'll love it more now. Plus I really want to read Go Set a Watchman and it only seems to be worthy of AFTER TKAM. :)

    Also, this was a win. Not that I doubted a win from your GORGEOUS mind, but WAHOO!


    Please tell me what you think of The Invention of Wings... Obviously I had big feelings about it... :)

  14. Girl, I have been terrified to try it... But I've recently become OBSESSED with Podcast listening so I decided to give it a go. Honestly, I enjoyed it, but I have decided to try listening to a business book or something more cerebral than a novel next. Somehow I think it'll go better... I enjoy reading and fiction is so fun so maybe it'll go better to stick with the harder to read business. :)

  15. Thank youuuuu! It was SO awesome to see the HUGE group of books and the way they didn't overlap nearly at all! :) I didn't know if we'd all end up reading the same book and being disappointed, but no! :)

    And, of course, it's so special to have you join in! :)

  16. Ohhhhhh what do you think of The Husband's Secret so far!?!?

    The links will stay open for a while so if you finish and decide to join it'll be there for you! ;)

  17. Girl, HOW DID I NOT KNOW HOW GREAT IT WAS?!? I mean, honestly, I just have discovered the goodness of it and now I want to read it all! ;)

  18. OH MY GOSH, yes I read Calling Me Home last month and LOVED it. Totally recommend it to you because, GORGEOUS.

  19. Oh girl, I don't know how I'd manage kiddos, life, blog and books. You do it all so gracefully and I heart you for the real and beautiful example that you are. <3

  20. I don't think it was as GORGEOUS as The Secret Life of Bees, but I can say that it's beautiful. The writing is amazing and a couple of times I relistened to parts because the imagery she created was magical. I promise it won't disappoint you. :)

  21. I've recently become OBSESSED with Podcast listening so I decided to give the Audiobook thing a go. Honestly, I enjoyed it, but I have decided to try listening to a business book or something more cerebral than a novel next. Somehow I think it'll go better... I enjoy reading and fiction is so fun so maybe it'll go better to stick with the harder to read business. :)

    So thankful to have you next month! :)

  22. I don't think much can live up to Secret Life. ;) I'll give it a try!


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