Ok, that’s a lie. I am totally about the TV too, especially since it’s still Bachelor [in Paradise] season and there’s nothing I love more than my Bach family making fools of themselves and eschewing sunscreen in Mexico.
But books! I love them lots, and this summer I have read some good ones. In interest of full disclosure, I really should have put that read in some good quotation marks, because I am a staunch supporter of Audiobooks. For those who don’t have tons of spare reading time, you have got to get on board with Audiobooks. They are also great for those who are slaves of their Fitbit, trying to drag themselves back into training for a half marathon, or the type of person who can never master laying out AND holding a book. That’s me, thrice over. (Special shout-out to Rachel and Bethany, who both let me purge their Audible accounts on a regular basis. You all are the best.)
Here they are, the books of summer:
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin. This is a book for people who love books. The story was sweet, mildly predictable, but with enough twists to still make it interesting. And above all, it was like sitting down with all my favorite books smashed into one beautiful web of references and adoration.
“The words you can’t find, you borrow.
We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.”
―Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Language and Silence, George Steiner. Before I started the Great Dissertation Topic Debate of 2015, I was planning to work on silence in post-God literature of the 20th century. In preparation, I read this book, and even though I switched topics, I am so thankful that I read this painful collection of essays. It cuts at times, but also had beautiful things to say about humanity, language, and truth.
Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul, Charles Timoney. We know that I’m a sucker for books about the French. I read this one while in France, and it had me giggling over so many funny expressions and cultural quirks.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr. Like every single other human on the planet, I read this book this summer. And like all of them, I loved it. I would have liked a neater ending, as I didn’t get the closure I wanted on certain characters… but then again, sometimes you don’t get nice ribbon-tied closure after the horrors of WWII.
“Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.”
― George Steiner, Language and Silence
The Heir, Kiera Cass. When I saw that there was a new book in the selection series (gushed about here) I was ALL OVER IT. This will probably be the first and last time that George Steiner has graced a booklist beside a novel about a Bachelor-style dating situation in dystopian teen fiction. No apologies.
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins. This book was disturbing, even more so because I listened to it as I was riding trains around Europe, and by the end I was basically imagining myself in the story. But it was engrossing in a sort of Gone Girl way and reaffirmed my desire to avoid drunkenness, to not associate with sociopaths, and to never live beside train tracks.
Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee. I loved this book, and I have so much to say about it that you are just going to have to wait for it to get its own post tomorrow or soon thereafter.
Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey. This book. I did not agree with 100% of it, but even what I disagreed with was said in such love that I didn’t feel attacked, just interested in understanding. And what I did agree with, unequivocally and deeply, was her assertion that Jesus loves woman. That he champions their dignity and values their work in his church. That the Bible was and is a radically feminist book, because it proposes radical love to the least of these, and woman are that in much of the world. That Christian history is full of amazing women. I can’t remember the last time that a book had me this excited about being a WOMAN in the church, about being a DAUGHTER of Christ, not just a follower or child.
“As long as I know how important maternal health is to Haiti’s future, and as long as I know that women are being abused and raped, as long as I know girls are being denied life itself through selective abortion, abandonment, and abuse, as long as brave little girls in Afghanistan are attacked with acid for the crime of going to school, and until being a Christian is synonymous with doing something about these things, you can also call me a feminist.”
― Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist
Have you all read any of these? What are your thoughts? And what are you reading now? After 4 years, I am FINALLY going to get a DC library card this summer and my possibilities shall be endless!
*Image via here.