If you have a garden and a library. Cicero said that.
I was explaining to a friend the other day that feeling when it seems you run into a part of yourself that you haven’t seen in years. It is always a little strange at first, perhaps even off putting, like that familiar face in a grocery store that causes you to duck behind cereal boxes, intently reading the labels because there could be something life changing there. Other times, it’s as if serendipity has worked her magic and you stare in disbelief in hope, yet still with some angst, because we know how this ended last time. In this case, it was a little of both. This was the year of the rediscovery of the novel and memoir in a way that I have been swept up. After a four year grad school journey, the spined book and I have had our ups and down, never broken up, but definitely needed space. But, it has wooed me back.
Here is my 2014 book list that I will possibly (have) talk(ed) about in an obsessive way.
Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd
memoir : social justice, mental health
This is the best book I have read about CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children) and DMST (domestic minor sex trafficking). Please read.
Still: Notes on a Mid Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner
memoir : faith
Lauren is one of those writers that I would just like to drink whiskey with and talk about life.
I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I waited to read this book for too long. If you haven’t, you need to read it.
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
faith : theology
Grace. That is what this book is about. Grace and a call towards change. If you love OR hate the f-word, you might be surprised (in the best way) by how it’s handled.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I got lost in the brilliance of the words and meaning and continue to threaten my roommate that I’m moving out to live in the woods. This is not a story about hiking; it’s a story about living.
If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher
She tells a tale of expectations, losing, and finding self and hope. I laughed out loud and cried an ocean. Incredibly beautiful and highly relatable if you have ever wanted to do something good for the world and love a good pop culture reference.
My Bright Abyss by Christian Wiman
faith : art
I bought this as a gift for friend and began reading before wrapping it (oh, don’t judge me; you’ve done it too). Thirty pages in, I bought two more copies for myself. If you are a writer, poet, artist, faith seeker, it will grip and tangle you.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
novel : relationships, cross-culture, race, mental health
This is my first read of Chimamanda’s books and I’m hooked. She is both funny and thoughtful and her storytelling draws you in.
Now I am working on next year’s list, though most of 2014’s books found me rather than the other way around. I’m also trying to keep a plant alive. We’ll see.