Deeper Water: A Tides of Truth Novel. – Robert Whitlow: I decided to try some Christian fiction again- this time a legal drama. It was kinda interesting, but I’m not sure if I’ll read the others in the series or not. I have always had a fascination with the law, but never enough to seriously consider law school.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. Apparently I already read this book, but I didn’t realize it until I started reading it again. I can’t decide if I like Lamott’s style or not. She is hilarious, but a little raw for my taste. This made me laugh: “I just can’t get over how much babies cry. I really had no idea what I was getting into. To tell you the truth, I thought it would be more like getting a cat.”
First of all, I love books (obviously) and I have always had the interest in little bookshops and libraries.
Second, this memoir takes place in a small town in western Virginia, and reminds me of the small town I lived in in Eastern Kentucky.
What kept me reading:
Wendy is a great storyteller. I laughed at their escapades as they learned how to keep shop and how to relate to their new community. Yes, out loud giggles. I also almost cried at some of the stories she shared of people she had met through the store.
Wendy is right when she said “Don’t open a used bookstore unless you love people.” Wendy’s love for both people and books exudes from this book.
Wendy included a great quotation from the play The History Boys:
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
Don’t run away if you don’t like sewing. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is not just about a seamstress. And don’t be afraid if you can’t pronounce the title. I can’t either. I loved this book.
Gayle Lemmon tells the true story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young woman from Kabul (in Afghanistan), who refuses to just sit inside her house and watch the Taliban take control of her city. Instead, she starts a business that not only supports her family, but empowers other women to support their families. Although Kamila knows the danger of what she is doing, she does it anyway. After starting the business, she had an idea of starting a school. So, she did. The next week.
I find her story inspiring. I am a dreamer, a thinker, and sometimes I don’t take the steps to follow-through. Kamila followed through.
I just wanted to share two books that I finished recently – Witchel’s All Gone, and Cain’s Quiet. I don’t have time to write a full review on either, since I really should be working on my sermon for Sunday (AAAHH!), but I wanted to at least note them.
All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia, With Refreshments by Alex Witchel: This book especially interested me since our family is experiencing something similar. I haven’t read any books on dementia, so I appreciated the nuggets of information surrounded by story. I love hearing and reading people’s stories. And I love food! I enjoyed the recipes Witchel shared from her mother’s kitchen . . spinach kugel, anyone? (I’m not sure what spinach kugel is, but I have never gone wrong with spinach).
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Wow. This is incredible to read, even if you don’t consider yourself an introvert. I am very much an introvert and I found it empowering to read Cain’s research and work. I loved the combination of information/research and personal stories. I think I would like to read or listen to this again at some point, because the 2-week library loan was not long enough for me to fully absorb the goodness.
Yes, I know that that is a strange title. I felt like I had to explain it to everyone who saw what I was reading. No I’m not dying. And no, I’m not starting a book club for people who are dying. But I did love The End of Your Life Book Club. The author, Will Schwalbe, tells the story of his mother’s battle with terminal cancer and her end-of-life-journey with books.
I have not experienced walking with someone through a terminal illness. Most of the people in my life who have died have left suddenly, unexpectedly. So this was an interesting read for me in that regard.
But really, this book is not just about death. Actually, it’s not that much about death, except for the fact that Will’s mother is dying. The main point is books and reading and people who devour books like I do. Will and his mother have a book club – just the two of them – (my kind of book club!! ha!) and they swap books and grow in their mother-son relationship. I had read some of the books that they mentioned, such as The Hobbit and A Thousand Splendid Suns, but others were new to me.
I’m glad I’m not the only crazy person who loves reading. And I’m annoyed that I forgot to copy the list of mentioned books. I’ll have to get it out of the library again.
I am very fascinated with India. Even though I love Indian food and I have a sari in my closet, I don’t really know that much about what life is like there. Katherine Boo helped me understand one segment of the Indian population: people living in a makeshift settlement community outside the Mumbai airport. She mostly focuses on the lives of the children and youth, although she does write about the experiences of their parents as well.
You will meet Abdul, a quiet Muslim boy (or man, he doesn’t know his age), who makes his living by serving as a middle-man between the “scavengers” who find pieces of valuable trash and the companies who use the scrap metal. And then there’s Manju, a college student who runs a school in her home for settlement children. I have to mention Fatima, the one-legged woman, who sets herself on fire and starts a series of events that greatly affects Abdul’s family.
It’s hard for me to summarize this book because of all the different stories of all the different families. If you enjoy learning about different cultures or are as fascinated by India as I am, you might want to check it out! For myself, I know that I need to keep reading about places and people that are different than me – in order to grow in compassion and gain perspective.
I discovered this book when I was searching for books on human trafficking on Amazon. Fortunately, our local library had a copy so I could check it out.
Nujood Ali, a 10-year-old girl from Yemen, tells her story of being married, abused, and divorced, all before the age most American girls have a boyfriend. Apparently it is common in some areas of Yemen for very young girls to be given in marriage, with the understanding that the husband will wait for sexual relations until the girl reaches puberty. Nujood’s husband did not wait. He also abused her physically and verbally.
I wish I could say that Nujood’s life got immediately easier and better after her divorce, and maybe today she is doing well.This CNN article shares more, but even that was written in 2009. I pray that Nujood would continue to be a courageous woman who inspires many.
What I learned or gained from this book:
a window into life in rural Yemen
a sense of compassion for families like Nujood’s, who find themselves in very difficult circumstances with difficult choices
a reminder of the incredible gift that my childhood and education was AND how precious my husband is
a desire to look into ways to help others. . . especially women. This ties into what I’ve been learning about Hope International and their small business loans. How can I really help people around the world, instead of just giving easy hand-outs?
When I think of human trafficking, I think of children and women in other countries. Theresa tells her story of sexual slavery in the U.S. This is hard listening. I wanted to plug my ears and believe that such evil doesn’t exist in my country. Or in any country, for that matter. But it does.
You can watch Theresa’s story here:
I encourage you to listen, watch, read, and learn more about human trafficking. Here is Theresa’s site, a good place to start