My reading life was back to normal this month. I am thrilled! I dug into my 2020 Reading Goals and updated my spreadsheet, identified where I stood in my goals and where I needed to hit the books hard. As our local library is now scheduling appointments for pickup of books on hold, I, purposefully, made a list this month of those books I might want to read in the years - read a book published in every year since I was born - I have left. My husband and I finished another read a-loud this month which means I am on track for completing that goal this year. This summer I think I will work on completing Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2020 Reading Challenge, also a part of my 2020 Reading Goals.
In my May my book club met via Zoom and hopefully it will be the last month we will have to meet online. We love meeting in my living room together discussing everything book club read. What Alice Forgot was our May book and many consider it their favorite thus far of all book club reads. Even over The Alice Network, which for those of us who read that it was excellent.
Surprisingly, this month, most of the books I read were 5 Star books and only two I gave lower scores. I read such good books.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Fantastic, compulsory read, and clever plot. This was my Between the Covers book club read for May and everyone loved it and several consider it the best book we've read for book club, even over The Alice Network. The book garnered some lively and intriguing discussion. Definitely, a book we won't soon - forget. Alice wakes up in the gym and later realizes she's lost 10 years of her life. Who she is now 10 years later is not who Alice ever expected she'd become. There are several telling voices, one offered by Alice's sister through epistolary writing, letters to her psychiatrist, and the additional story line that I couldn't get enough of. This will definitely be one of my top reads of the year. 2020 Reading Goals, read a book published in every year since I was born - 2009
Walk the Wire by David Baldacci. Another episode in the Memory Man series, my favorite Baldacci character, an FBI agent with hyperthymesia and synesthesia -- resulting in his never forgetting anything and his counting in colors and seeing time as pictures in his head. Without giving everything away, there is another Baldacci character who has a prominent part in the storyline. Good storyline, however, the direction Baldacci took with the motive for the murders was - frustrating and had me shaking my head - really? And, we didn't find that out until the very end. Captured my attention but the lackluster last chapters found me wanting a different ending.
The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes. Thank you Moyes for redeeming yourself after Me Before You, which I liked - except for the ending. I enjoyed The Giver of Stars immensely. Several slow spots that made it difficult to plow through, but how much I loved this book far outweighed the pace. An exceptional book about a subject, bringing books to the folks who live in the deep hills of Kentucky, and the women who took on the challenging expedition. Big plus, it is a book about books! Rich with historical reference on a subject I knew nothing about and now I find so intriguing.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (auditory by Books with Mrs. Bomgardner). What a joy to listen to Suzy Bomgardner (I'm a good friend of her mom!) read aloud The Velveteen Rabbit, one of my favorite children's book as an adult. I'm not a fan of audible books, mostly because my mind wanders and miss the story, but Suzy read the book on YouTube so I could listen and watch if I needed the connection. "Once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. For so long I have shied away from this book. I have even checked it out from the library several times only to put it down again and - again. However, my book club was surprised when they heard I'd never read it and everyone raved about it so, I decided to dig in and get it over with. I know. That was my approach. But, what I found was a beautiful, excruciating story told through the voices of the women, a wife and daughters, of a missionary in the 50's-60's who set out to the Congo unprepared in order to save the Congolese to God, only to do everything wrong a missionary could to wrong. 2020 Reading Goals, read a book published in every year since I was born - 1998.
Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 by Dallas Willard. No fear of life. No fear of death. How do we live a life everyday enjoying the presence of God, practicing living in His presence; practically living in His presence. Experiencing peace and freedom, and contentment. This was our latest, Jeff and I, read a-loud together and read in the bestest possible way, slowly, savoring. At times overwhelming difficult to grasp, yet so much to ponder. If you think you know and understand Psalm 23, think again. 2020 Reading Goals, read a-loud 8 books with Jeff. This is book 4/8.
Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin. Within 8 vignettes are vivid stories of faith and family, bitter love and sheathing hatred, racism, religion, or Christianity at its worse, and life in Harlem all themes that permeated these stories. After the first story I was able to settle in to Baldwin's style of writing. I am not sure if this is his intent but I was quite frustrated at the whites portrayed in his stories; at their behavior. This would be an amazing book to discuss story by story because I think there is more to each story than meets the eye. 2020 Reading Goals, read a book published in every year since I was born - 1965
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfullness by Timothy Keller. This short, 1-hour reading by Timothy Keller explains gospel-centered humility versus self-esteem whether high or low esteem, the difference, and finding our identity not in self-worth or esteem, or the applause of man. But our identity is always - first - found in Christ and what He has already done on the Cross. Over the past couple of months one person after another has referenced this short little book and for a Christian it is a must read.
Get Out of Your Head, Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen. Another must-read Christian non-fiction. So very applicable for me and so many. The thoughts that are so often running through our minds are not the truth, and, yet, it is Truth that we should have racing through our heads for a healthy way to live. Changing our mindset can impact the way we live out our lives in Christ. We have a choice what goes into our heads. I can stop those fearful thoughts. Our identity is not in our worst sin but our identity is found in Christ. This is another book on my permanent book shelf of - books I love and books I wish I could download into my head.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I heard about this book from Modern Mrs. Darcy and while I was drawn to her simple, sweet mini-review it was the books cover that drew me in more; the colors, water blues, and even better it is a book about books. I was also thrilled to find there was a mix of epistolary writing (a favorite of mine) via messages and letters that are left in books in the bookstores' library. This YA book is about navigating friendship, the painfully rough edges of loss, and unrequited love. But, it is even more - or at least just as much - about books as the story is centered in the spines of a secondhand bookstore.