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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Books I've Read Lately (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).



Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 

Plot: "Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship." -via goodreads

My thoughts: This was the best book I've read in a long time. It was an incredibly unique story, and it dealt with serious subjects (anxiety, mental health) in a way that felt honest and refreshing. It was so obvious that he had a deep connection to what he was writing about, and that made the story so much more relatable and beautiful. 

Favorite quote: "Your now is not your forever." 

Should you read it? Absolutely yes! 

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker 

Plot: "Jen Hatmaker believes backbone is the birthright of every woman. Women have been demonstrating resiliency and resolve since forever. They have incredibly strong shoulders to bear loss, hope, grief, and vision. She laughs at the days to come is how the ancient wisdom writings put it.

But somehow women have gotten the message that pain and failure mean they must be doing things wrong, that they messed up the rules or tricks for a seamless life. As it turns out, every last woman faces confusion and loss, missteps and catastrophic malfunctions, no matter how much she is doing "right." Struggle doesn't mean they're weak; it means they're alive.

Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change ("Everyone, be into this thing I'm into! Except when I'm not. Then everyone be cool.") or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip ("Why are we in San Antonio?"), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted "in the moment" no matter what the moments hold." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I listened to this on my way to Atlanta last month, and pretty much silent laughed (you know the kind where you're laughing so hard that you're just making no noise?) and ugly cried my whole way through it. The way she writes about friendship was so beautiful (we need our people!), the way she writes about changing is so relatable (you don't have to be who you've always been), and the way she writes about faith is challenging. So, so good. 

Favorite quote: “You can care about new things and new people and new beginnings, and until you are dead in the ground, you are not stuck. If you move with the blessing of your people, marvelous. But even if you don’t, this is your one life, and fear, approval, and self-preservation are terrible reasons to stay silent, stay put, stay sidelined.” 

Should you read it? Y E S.

Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown

Plot: "In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

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." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I have a lot of feelings about this book, but they're hard to put into words. This was something I read at a time I needed to read it, and it felt like I was listening to a friend talk about deeply personal things. If you've ever felt left out, or if you've ever felt like your life wasn't full of life, then you need to read this one. 

Favorite quote: “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 

Should you read it? Yes.

What have you been reading?


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