Remember how last week I had all these great plans? Well sickness knocked me down and out along with Benjamin, so our week was altered. I was thankfully on the mend by Friday and enjoyed my birthday very much! Thanks to my husband, family and all the friends who made it a great day. My 35th year is looking promising!
As for my confessions, today I have been up since 4:30am listening to the crazy wind blowing. It sounded as if the house would blow down multiple times! Instead of my regular confessions today, I am going to share some recent reads with you. I am just sharing my own opinions and if I would recommend the read or not. (Apparently I am still on a pretty big non-fiction kick and sorry if some of these reviews get long! Just skim if necessary :) I realized that I should be posting my winter reads a little more often because there's been so many. Here's a handful I chose and in no particular order, here we go!
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; This is a non-fiction work by Bryan Stevenson, recalling his work with those found on the wrong side of the law. His stories are varied but almost all heart breaking. His particular focus as an attorney is to help those that can't afford the proper representation. He has fought for many on death row, some who were wrongly convicted. Honestly, a lot of the stories are hard to read. They're full of sad realities but the thread was trying to find justice for all. Mr. Stevenson continues to champion for those who have been wrongly condemned to death. This book forced me to contemplate heavy questions, such as if I even support the death penalty (that's a whole different topic on it's own). He questions all different areas of the law on things from how we should treat children or mentally ill when convicted of crimes. All in all though, I found myself inspired with this read. It's uncomfortable to be exposed to things in our society that need work. I was reminded that these incarcerated people are humans, with their own stories and complexities. I had the particular pleasure to hear Mr. Stevenson speak just a couple weeks after finishing his book. I found his speech just as inspiring as his book, encouraging us all to get uncomfortable and proximate to issues in our community. My rating: a must read
Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance: I have been hearing bits about this book so I grabbed it at the library. It's the story of a young man being raised with Appalachian hillbilly roots and how he now sits on the other side of having served in the US Marines and earning a Harvard law degree. His writing is poignant at times and in touch with the white working class poor of America. I could find some common ground with parts of his story, although certainly not to the extreme of some circumstances. When I was 13 years old, I served on a youth trip week where we worked in a small Kentucky town. My crew worked on a dilapidated trailer on a Kentucky mountainside, which was home for a sweet family. I learned a lot about the plight of coal mining families as well as challenges to rural life. So much of what I witnessed as a teenager is exactly what JD describes here.
There was a line his grandfather said to him that stuck with me. His "Papaw" told him, "Our generation has made our living with our hands and your generation is going to make your living with your minds." You know I always love a good memoir, as well as a story where the underdog wins. (The timing of reading this right after Just Mercy was also intriguing to me because I has just contemplated the struggles of many poorer African Americans while reading Just Mercy. Following up with reading the similar but different plights of the poor white American population made for good contemplation.) My rating: A good read if you know a hillbilly and like a memoir
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: This is a WWII fiction work that I really enjoyed. It was a wartime story so there were lots of hard things still, but the resiliency of the human spirit to survive is always something I enjoy. It's definitely a longer book but there were lots of different characters and stories developing. I learned a few new things as well, which is always a bonus. My rating: A good read, especially if you love history or WWII or France :)
She Reads Truth by Amanda Bible Williams and Rachel Myers: This is another memoir but it's interesting because I was written by two authors. Their stories are woven together beautifully along with the truth of God's word. I found myself so encouraged both by the women's stories and by the lasting truth of scripture. I already loaned this book to a friend but probably will read parts of it again. If you love the bible and a good written memoir, this book is for you! My Rating: great read
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: This is a historical fiction work set in pre civil war Charleston, SC. It was also a longer read over decades of time so there was a lot of character development. I would say in the end I enjoyed the characters and historical commentary, but it did start to feel drawn out after a while. I guess I didn't realize but I have been reading all different eras and perspectives on the American struggle to get where we are today. I don't alwa My rating: good read
Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley: This is a great read for women in my stage of life or any similar stage of young adulthood. It's a beautifully designed book and has a bit of a "workbook" style in some sections to help you think through the chapters. I liked her easy and honest writing style but to be honest, the content was similar in vain to some other things I had recently read. Don't get me wrong, it was still helpful and enjoyable read but it wasn't as fresh for me because I had also recently Present Over Perfect and Loving Your Actual Life. My rating: an easy, helpful read
I am currently in the middle of a few books at once so I need to focus in one them and finish. I get major book ADD when there's so many things I want to be reading! What's your reading style? I can definitely read lots of non-fiction at once, but I guess it's not saying much for my productivity or organizational style is it?! I also always get lots of questions on "finding time to read." I have to say, I really just have to make time like anything else. If I am honest though, if you cut out social media or just "phone scrolling," you can definitely get some books in instead!
Hope you all have a great Monday and don't blow away out there!