Hey, family! I hope you all are doing well. Within the past few chilly months, I decided to pick up the pleasure of reading once again after a fall semester of work and diligence. While my public library did not let people check out books in person, I made the wise and rather expensive choice of splurging on books at Barnes & Nobles. However, not all the books I read were paperbacks. In fact, I recharged and used my ancient Kindle that I received in eighth grade to read a book I borrowed online. I wanted to avoid reading on my iPad, since seeing notifications pop up and the temptation of watching YouTube would pull me away from reading. Admittedly, watching T.V. still distracts me from my school work at college. Therefore, I encourage you all to try reading a physical book, but if online reading suits you well, go for it!
Let’s hop into the four books for the fourth month of the year!
The Giver of Stars
The author of the Me Before You series (a phenomenal book! I think I read it in a day) brings us a new fictional stand-alone book called The Giver of Stars. It describes the story of a traveling library managed by women in the early to mid 1900s based in rural Kentucky. While this library did indeed exist, the characters themselves are fictional. Jojo Moyes says that to make this book, she went to Kentucky and studied the library more to understand what it looked like.
The main character of the book, a British woman named Alice, marries a man who lives in Kentucky, thinking that her marriage with him would go perfect. Without spoiling much, all I can report is that her husband, and the father-in-law that they live with, do not end up being the charming people she once thought they would be. Alice finds herself distant from her husband, wanting an escape and finding it through the library, and might also find herself a new boo… You’ll have to read more to find out.
Yet, there are still other characters that take a prominent role in the book, particularly the ladies that manage the library. Because they are women and because the library encourages literacy and power to the impoverished of the book, many upperclass and Christian conservatives take offense at the creation of this library. More drama unfolds as Alice and others find out the lengths the town will take to put a halt to their success.
I read chunks of this book every night before I went to bed. A good fictional and feel-good book was exactly what I needed before heading to bed.
See the book here.
Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others
Barbara Brown Taylor
An Episcopalian priest finds herself teaching World Religions 101 at Piedmont College, and to her surprise, she found herself enthralled teaching this class and seeing the faith formation of her students. A true story written by the priest herself, gives an incredibly well-written view of how other religions that seem so foreign to some actually have so much in common. Most of the students in her class identified as Christian. Many expected Taylor to somehow prove that Christianity was the supreme religion, but she ignored the criticisms of her students.
Through taking her students to various places of worship, talking with various religious authorities, and classroom sessions, Taylor embarks on a journey herself where she finds that she feels envious of some religions. Now, to explain what she’s envious of would give the splendor of the book away, but to speak minimally, there are lot of beautiful and secular aspects of other religions that make one want to embrace those traditions… But now you must read it to find out what I really mean!
It’s a book that encourages so much unity, less judgment, less exclusion of those that do not welcome those of different faiths, and a lot of raw commentary that I would require all religious people to consider reading. As I read, I found myself often thinking about the ways that I have viewed other religions as completely distinct from mine, when in fact, we not only share the same books but also customs and rituals.
See the book here.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel
I have a confession to make. Although I got through almost all the book, I didn’t get to finish it; unfortunately, the library book loan period expired on me before I could read the final pages! I know– very tragic. But, for the time I could indeed indulge in this read, it served as the perfect bedside book. Reese Witherspoon’s book club also read this one, too!
A fictional book, the author creates a story about the protagonist, Eleanor, who lives life quite differently from most. From being peculiar about giving tips (she often only uses change!), to misunderstanding office small talk, to rather creepily not knowing the difference between stalking or observing someone (don’t worry–it’s not like Netflix’s You), Eleanor still finds a way to make a special someone from her work fall in love with her…
See the book here.
Pride and Prejudice
The first time I crossed paths with this book took place during freshman year English class in high school. At the time, this verbose 19th century classic book completely confused me. I couldn’t differentiate the difference between sarcasm or seriousness. I nearly got an A on the in-class essay about this book, but I messed up on a few things. Nonetheless, once I reached the ending, or rather, had it explained to me, I started to really love this story. Before I entered high school, my family and I happened to passed by the Jane Austen Centre in England, a museum dedicated to her life and work. Next time I visit Bath, I certainly shall stop in.
Pride and Prejudice tells the story of a family of five girls who search for husbands, as most young women did in the 18th century. The story focuses most on the second eldest, Elizabeth, who’s wit and confidence captures the attention of a certain, wealthy young man who comes across as rather arrogant… Other love interests arise, as well, but I can’t give away the endings! It’s too good!
I highly recommend checking out the movie, currently streamable on Peacock for free. I’ve watched a few times. It’s my favorite movie!
See the book here.
Let the month of April open your hearts to the diverse readings of this world! I enjoyed these reads, and I certainly hope you all will, too. Have an incredible week, and I shall be talking with you all soon!
Quote of the Post:
“What is it, like, hard?”
Elle Woods [Reese Witherspoon] from Legally Blond, after being asked by her ex-boyfriend how she got into Harvard Law School (a big female empowerment moment in the movie since he doubted her intelligence)