The Bookshelf, September 2018

I am in love with libraries. Always have been. My mom used to have to limit me on the number of books I could check out. I still had to use a grocery basket to carry them all.

I recently put about twenty books on hold and then realized that, when they call came through at the same time, I should probably stagger my holds. Ah well.

I’m also in love with the free neighborhood library stands. There are three within a mile walk of where I am staying. The other night I took a walk, talked to a friend on the phone, and scored a pile of excellent books. Tonight, I will take another walk and drop off books for others to enjoy.

Here’s what I got (haven’t read them yet):

Liars Club, by Mary Karr

Under the Banner of Heaven, a story of violent faith, by Jon Krakauer

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (okay, I read this like a hundred times as a kid and want to share it with other kids)

Here’s what else I’m reading this month (some, I’m skimming, because I want to get all the words in that I can, while I have access to the miracle that is a library)

A Moonless, Starless Sky, ordinary men and women fighting extremism in Africa, by Alexis Okeowo. This is a heart-wrenching and fascinating look into the lives of several people across the continent of Africa, including a child soldier and his forced bride, who end up married to each other after they escape the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and the story of young girls trying to play basketball in Somalia.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (not the money one, the in general you one)

Demon Camp, a Soldier’s Exorcism by Jennifer Percy, which, as my doctor noted when she saw what I was reading before an appointment, sounds incredibly creepy. It is about PTSD and war and, well, demons.

The Gospel of Trees, by April Irving, a memoir of growing up as a missionary kid in Haiti. Here’s a quote I highlighted:

“If only this place wasn’t so beautiful! You want to love it, to make it your own, but it won’t take you. It only looks at you strange, then laughs behind your back. Rather humbling, you know? But it’s good for us tet cho Americans to know we can’t have everything.”

The Very Good Gospel, how everything wrong can be made right, by Lisa Sharon Harper

Practicing Resurrection, a memoir of work, doubt, discernment, and moments of grace, by Nora Gallagher

Finding God in the Waves, by Mike McHargue (aka Science Mike)

What are you reading?

The Bookshelf: Memoir, Afghanistan, and Alaska

books afghanistan alaska memoir

This week I devoured The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr. Devoured. Anyone who is thinking of writing memoir or who does write memoir should read this book. Or any of her other books.

Last week I was reading The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan. I finished it this week. Amazing. Jenny Norberg did incredible research and reporting, she also has clear, well-thought out discussions of gender and women’s rights. Don’t miss this one.

I restarted Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption this week, too. This time I’m reading it as research. Not into the story but into the author, the writing, the ‘how the heck did she do this?’

And I started reading Looking for Alaska by John Greene. My kids read it this summer and I was stuck at the grocery store for over an hour because the battery died on our car. So while he worked on that, sweating and all, I sat at the cafe in the air-conditioned grocery store and read a novel. A bit rougher around the edges than I was anticipating, but I’m intrigued because the main setting is a boarding school.

Still reading Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown. Might be reading it for a while, it isn’t really a fly-through-it kind of book, though I do really like it and am finding it useful for parenting teens.

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