The Book Eater
Sometimes, it’s easier to talk about books than life, isn’t it?
Maybe it’s just me.
I put Susanna in her room recently so I could do something uninterrupted, and she did not appreciate the separation. She cried her little eyes out for the five minutes it took to complete the task. When I opened the door to her room, she stood there right by the door, sobbing…and clutching a book, as though for comfort. That’s me, too. Clutching books in every season, especially when in need of comfort.
In any case, 2014 was a year of a lot of unfinished books for me. I am ok with that. I think life is too short and the world contains too many good books to plow on through the mediocre ones.
As I reflected on the books I read, I also realized that I read a lot of books I don’t particularly recommend. I’m not sorry I read them, but I can’t give them my stamp.
I read The Name of the Rose and The Brothers Karamazov and I am glad I did for the sake of reading outside my familiar literary preferences, but I don’t recommend them. There were diamonds in the rough in each, but both were heavily overweight with unnecessary verbosity, in my opinion.
I read The Orphan Master’s Son, and while I am grateful to catch a glimpse of sobering North Korean life, I don’t recommend it either.
However, the gem of the year for me was Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. If you google her TedEx talk, you’ll find out all you need to know. That book impacted me in more ways than I can express. Then I moved backward in publishing dates and read her previous book The Gifts of Imperfection which I also highly recommend. Brene Brown is a researcher and I love her writing style: light and meaty, succinct and engaging.
Bread and Wine, a love letter to life around the table by Shauna Niequist was a favorite in 2014, so I have since purchased her two other books Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. But Bread and Wine stands out above the rest since Shauna includes a recipe for each chapter.
I loved Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways, and The Nesting Place by Myquillen Smith and I love that they are sisters.
I loved What it is is Beautiful, a short book of poems by Sarah Dunning Park
I loved The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
I liked Gloria Furhman’s Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full.
I am currently loving The Birth Order book, which is making me think about how I parent and why.
I started The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel and I am determined to finish it this year. She has many good thoughts about parenting, but it’s couched in a strange spiritual context. I want to see it through to completion.
I started Ordinary by Michael Horton and I am loving it. His books are a little dense, but always worth the journey.
Several years ago, before we even had kids, Tim and I once saw Michael Pollan on the Oprah Winfrey show, and we were impressed with his interview. It’s taken me years to get back to it, but I have finally purchased his book In Defense of Food and I hope to read it this year. His slogan is: “Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too Much.”
On my To Read List:
Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
Honest Toddler by Bunmi Laditan
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (another start-up but unfinished)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist