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I also listened to some awesome new (to me) music and saw some beautiful films. My ever-supportive husband suggested that I could also share my thoughts on those here on the blog, so here’s a round up of the books, movies, and music I’ve been enjoying lately.
Daring GreatlyAuthor: Brené Brown Genre: Non-Fiction / Psychology Content Warning: Crass language Stop what you are doing and go read this book. I seriously think everyone should read it. I’m going to read it again. I’m going to listen to the audiobook with Brett, and then I’m going to get the hardcopy (I listened to this one) and highlight the snot out of it because it is just. that. good. Daring Greatly completely transformed the way I view my relationships and my responsibilities, and I kept feeling the Spirit confirming the truth of Brené’s research and conclusions. I am completely confident that as I really let her teachings sink into my heart, it will help me be a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and—someday—mother. If you’d like a small preview of what this book is like, check out Brené’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability.
(5 / 5)
Virgil WanderAuthor: Leif Enger Genre: Fiction I will read every book Leif Enger writes. My goodness, that man has a way with words. Our unassuming protagonist, Virgil, is the perfect narrator to lead a cast of characters who are somehow both unique and utterly normal all at the same time. Enger also has a gift for villains who aren’t diabolical—and that’s part of what makes them so terrifying. As always, he leaves a few questions unanswered, but in a way that leaves you curious instead of frustrated. What does it mean? Like life, sometimes it doesn’t mean anything at all. Sometimes it’s just the way it is, and there’s a certain magic in that realization. Virgil Wander is a slow burn, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(5 / 5)
The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeAuthor: C.S. Lewis Genre: MG / Fantasy After watching the movies together, Brett admitted that he’d never had the pleasure of reading the Chronicles of Narnia series. As they’re among my favorite books of all time, I suggested we make The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe our next car trip read aloud book. He enjoyed it so much that he would often ask to read it when he’d get home from work. We’d mix up some hot cocoa, don our PJs and snuggle up on the couch to read together. It was very hygge of us, and we loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading another favorite book with my favorite human, and we look forward to sharing this series with our future kids.
(5 / 5)
I’m Not Dying with You TonightAuthors: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction Content Warning: Strong language and thematic violence There was a lot of language in this and I thought about putting it down, but it’s an important story that is all too real for a lot of people. I’m Not Dying With You Tonight is very well done. The characters are utterly believable, the pacing was just right, and the writing was excellent. I enjoyed having the dual narrative, as I felt it did a good job of balancing two very different perspectives. I was worried this would attempt to make one side seem less valid than the other, but it didn’t. Both of the girls face prejudice, and both learn to see things from the other’s point of view. It was a raw and honest look at race issues that are (maddeningly) still a problem today.
(4 / 5)
The Hate U GiveAuthor: Angie Thomas Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction Content Warning: Strong language, violence, and teen sexuality As with I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, I almost put down The Hate U Give because of language and other content. But it came at the recommendation of a trusted cousin (hi Dawn!), so I persisted. I’m so glad I did, because it was excellent. Reading THUG was an exercise in empathy, as it provided an opportunity to understand a perspective that is considerably different than mine. It made me take a hard look at how different my life is because I’m white. As uncomfortable as that truth is, it’s an important one to sit with if we’re going to find a better way forward for everyone. Also, I really appreciated that THUG includes a pair of happily married parents. We don’t see that often in YA literature, and I loved the dynamic between Maverick and Lisa.
(4 / 5)I Am Still Alive Author: Kate Alice Marshall Genre: YA / Suspense Content Warning: Brief strong language and violence I Am Still Alive is like Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, but for girls. In fact, Hatchet established in me a life-long love of survivalist stories (My Side of the Mountain, Brian’s Winter, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Station Eleven, Lord of the Flies), so I was instantly intrigued by the premise of this one. It was fairly well written and Marshall either really knows her survivalist stuff or she did a lot of research. She did an excellent job introducing realistic “pain points” that were a bit outside of what we normally get in these kinds of stories—things like having a gun but the wrong caliber of ammo, snares only catching animals that really aren’t good for eating, not knowing how to skin a rabbit the right way, etc. I could have done without a few of the more graphic details and Jess sometimes got a bit too whiny, but overall, I enjoyed it.
(3 / 5)
The Biggest Little Farm
(5 / 5)
(5 / 5)
Ford v Ferrari
(5 / 5)
Journey of Faith
(5 / 5)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
(4 / 5)
(3 / 5)
- “Let it Go” by Dustbowl Revival – Brett and I had the opportunity to listen to these guys live on our honeymoon to Coachella Valley, CA, and I instantly fell in love with their unique style and toe-tapping vibes. They’ve just released a new album, and I am totally digging this track.
- “Once Upon Another Time” by Sara Bareilles
- “You Want More For Me” by JJ Heller
- “Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson
- “Jolene” by The Peterson Family
- “Baba Yetu” by Stellenbosch University Choir
- “Call to War” by the Lone Bellow