June: In the Books
My sister-in-law Darcee reminded me this morning that my June reading post should be coming soon. If anyone loves reading more than me, it's definitely her. I spent a half hour shopping on her bookshelf last Saturday. Maybe we can convince her to jump on here soon with her very own recommendations. And this weekend we learned that my cousin's future wife is also a bookworm. It was meant to be. I sense some very Amazon-friendly Christmases in our futures. Speaking of Amazon. I really do love it because you can basically get any book in your hands in 2 days. But I also love a good bookstore. The smell is like the first day of school mixed with summer library days, so it's basically the beautiful feeling of all the structure without the anxiety.
I had a free afternoon alone in Brenham a few weeks ago, and I stopped at the coffee shop and then wandered around the quaint downtown. The lady making my coffee said, "I'm sorry. I bet you're in a hurry." And I got to say, "I'm actually not." And she relaxed. And I breathed slower. And it felt good and right and reminded me that we should position ourselves to get to say that more often.
Bookstores also remind me of that. Brenham's Book Nook is a used bookstore with all the small town charm.
The wood plank floors. The vintage signs. The eclectic collection of shelves. It's the best. I spent most of my afternoon picking up copy after copy of books softened by others' hands.
[I'm always skeptical of "like new" copies in a used bookstore. I mean: Why does this book not look loved?]
Anyway, onto June's book reports. I went to a writing conference (Writer's Boot Camp) in Utah last week, so three of the books that I read this month are by Margaret Feinberg and Jonathan Merritt who hosted the conference. We'll start with those:
- Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg I had never read anything by Margaret Feinberg, but I found this book very relatable. She talks of looking for God in the places we're likely to miss Him--in the ins and outs of our daily lives. She shares her stories in a way that encourages the reader to seek Him in our stories, and I don't think it's ever a bad idea to read a book that makes us more eager to find the Lord's fingerprints on normal days.
- Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg I read this book on the flight to Utah. The whole thing. In 2.5 hours. Mostly because I had to have it finished before I arrived. I wish I had spent a little more time savoring it. It's written about Margaret's battle with cancer, but it applies to any battle, big or small, that we face. She starts out talking about a failed experiment to find joy by saying "yes" to everything. She goes searching for joy, and it proves elusive. But just one month later, a cancer diagnosis lands in her world. The joy that she'd sought starts showing up in places she'd rather not have looked. And isn't that how it often is with the Lord and His joy?
- Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined by Jonathan Merritt The title kinda summarizes this one for us. He was another new author to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed his fresh insights and different ways of looking at the world. He tells it like it is as he communicates the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in the middle of what was for him a very chaotic year. Jesus really is better than we imagined, and this book is a good reminder of that.
- The Peach Keeperby Sarah Addison Allen Katie gave me this one. Allen incorporates some strange magical elements that are a little hard for my concrete mind to follow, but I enjoyed it all the same! It's about friendship--the stories of two thirty year olds and their eighty-something year old grandmothers. The younger peers are far from friends until secrets from their grandmothers' pasts sneak into their lives and demand camaraderie. What they found is a friendship we'd all be grateful to have. I text Katie this excerpt when I got to it:"...I just have to keep trying to find what I'm looking for." "You'll find it," Willa said. "I hope so." "I'm here if you need me." That, ultimately, was why she called. She needed to hear that. "Thanks, Willa." (Allen, __)That might also be what inspired my last post on friendship.
I didn't mean for the month to land so heavy on inspirational titles, but sometimes circumstances demand it. I'm planning on a few more novels in July, but I also just picked Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist off of Darcee's shelf because I've been wanting to read it for years. I'll let you know how it goes.
And as a bonus, because Lindsee is reading it and it keeps popping up around our house, I'm going to share with you my favorite novel of all time because it's perfect summer reading material:
- The Winner by David Baldacci I love a good intrigue novel. A young woman gets caught up in a scheme that lands her wealthy and wanted by a dangerous man. She is strong and clever and trapped. It is a rags-to-riches story interlaced with a damsel in distress who turns out to be her own best defense. It's the best summer read if you like mysteries and adventure.
That's it for June. Happy reading!