What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. — Anne Lamott
After a relatively col spring, summer in SC is making up for lost time. The only thing this weather is good for is reading. Since I know many people begin to make time for beach reads over the summer, and because I know it can be hard to gain momentum, I thought I’d offer a quick review of some of the books that have recently been on my bookshelf, to do with as you will.
1) The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.
I know I’m absurdly late to the party with this one, but I really enjoyed it as a light summer read. I can’t speak to how accurately Kathryn Stockett captured the voices and lives of African-American maids during the time period, but when I shut down my inner sociologist and critic and focused on the storyline, I really enjoyed it.
2) Start Something That Matters, by Blake Mycoskie.
I “read” this book via audio and really enjoyed it. Blake breaks up his descriptions of how Toms was founded with stories of other companies that are working to change the way the world works. While this was definitely geared toward the entrepreneurial/business mind, I still enjoyed it, despite being profoundly non-entrepreneurial.
3) Matched, by Ally Condie.
I added this book to my reading list after I saw that Nancy Pearl had recommended it in one of her NPR articles. I’ve been in a major reading rut lately and needed something simple and light, a sort of cotton-candy read, to kick-start my reading again. This, unfortunately, was not that book. While certainly simple (I finished it in a night flat), it felt somehow. . .incomplete. I didn’t feel particularly engaged to the characters, and the story felt a little flat. I’ve decided to read the second book to see if it picks up, but if you’re looking for a light young adult fiction series, I would recommend The Lunar Chronicles over this series.
4) Forgotten God, by Francis Chan.
Excellent, quick read. If you love Jesus, by all means pick it up.
5) When I Was a Child I Read Books, by Marilynne Robinson.
In the interest of full disclosure: I haven’t actually finished this book yet. But this author’s writing is so rich I actually stopped listening to the audiobook and picked up a hard copy from the library so I could take the time to savor her words and ideas. She is amazing, and well-worth the brain work. (This is basically the opposite of a cotton-candy read. This is a filet mignon read.)
What books are you reading this summer?