Blog?! What Blog?!?

So it has been two whole months and then a little since I last posted. I just counted it up and I have read 21 books since my last post on June 1!!! Wow, that’s a lot. I mean, a lot.

So, here’s the thing. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say about those 21 books.  I have had A LOT to say, just ask Leonel…he’s been getting the brunt of it. It’s that I haven’t been in a head space to share.  Having something to say and actually saying it, sharing, are two very different things I have come to realize.

Gregory Orr might expressed it best for me:

Balanced on the edge
Of speech
But the slope is so steep.

To speak is to leap.
Wanting to, but afraid.

Instead, merely
Gazing at the beloved
From that tall cliff.

I, like so many others, have anxiety and apparently when it is running at full tilt, I struggle to speak.  I stand at the cliff and gaze at what could be without actually saying anything.  To share my thoughts on the things that matter to me became a leap I just couldn’t take for a while.  And perhaps particularly because it was my reading.  I pick up “heavy” books.  This is intentional. This is because I value reading for entertainment but also for learning, breaking my boundaries, shedding light on my blind spots and deconstructing my worldview so I have the hard work of reconstructing it with a fuller understanding of someone else’s point of view.  So yeah, when my anxiety, fear and self-doubt are high…I struggle to leap, to articulate (even for my sister, Mom and Aunt, love you ladies) what my current reads are showing me because I usually come out looking like the idiot.

So, with all that said…

Here is a list of 21 books I have read since my last post.  I do not know what moving forward will look like, we will just have to find out together.  But for now, here are those books and a super brief (I really did try) comment on how they pushed me:

  1. Speaker for the Dead – what does it mean to “other” and how do we decide who lives or dies? (sound familiar?)
  2. How Does it Feel to Be A Problem: Being Young and Arab in America – I had no idea…I thought I knew, I thought I could guess, but I had no idea what my country did to Arab Americans after 9/11
  3. A Wrinkle in Time – I liked it.  That’s all I got on that one. I think I liked some of the movie’s messaging more (I know, sacrilege…I’m cool with that)
  4. The Girl on the Train – I don’t read a lot of thrillers.  This one was fun. I thought it could have ended about 2/3’s of the way through though.
  5. Lighter Than My Shadow – a graphic novel about anorexia and its effects on the human psyche. And again, I had no idea. The author is telling her own story and I have to say the graphics, the pictures she uses so enhance the emotional and psychological toll anorexia had on her.  It was eye opening read.  Highly recommend.
  6. The Mountain Between Us – it was a good fun read. I got to picture Idris Elba and Kate Winslet that whole time, that was a joy.  The book was better than the movie…for sure (not always the case for me…just FYI).
  7. Hidden Figures – it is an utter travesty the talent and gains we have lost as a country and humanity because of America’s legacy of patriarchal white supremacy.   The sheer brilliance of women and people of color who have been ignored, forgotten or never even given a chance due to their gender or color of skin.  I am ashamed…deeply ashamed to be part of that legacy and also so honored to have at least read these women’s stories.
  8. Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians – YES! All things yes to this! It will break you, but only in the best of ways and Hartke is amazingly generous as he teaches and preaches the Bible for all of us. Read it!
  9. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir – Again, I had no idea. The American history I learned in these pages was only outnumbered by the emotions Yang made me experience for her refugee journey.
  10. Walking with Nehemiah – Unless your really looking for something on Nehemiah, you can skip this one 😉
  11. Xenocide – again…who gets to live, who gets to die and what does it mean to “live?”
  12. Death – yeah, what does it mean to “live?” and how do you think about “death?”
  13. Exit West – a world migrating, fleeing their homelands and desperately trying to survive, find love and community.  How does humanity deal with each other? A beautiful portrait.
  14. The Power – not my favorite read, but an intriguing idea and if it grabs you, read it. And then let’s talk 😉
  15. The Noticer: All You Need is a Little Perspective – Not my book as it over simplifies the complexity of life into a “ten word answer” (those of you who know, know what I mean here).  But a great choice for a book club, which is what I read it for, as it has a lot of things to discuss, agree with, challenge etc.
  16. Ishmael – Still good.  Read many a time and still good.  Will break your worldview and remind you that we ARE NOT set in these patterns, this is just the story we chose to live out, but we do have the power to shift.
  17. Sister’s Entrance – a beautiful book of poetry by a Sudanese refugee.  If you like poetry, pick this one up.  It’s well worth your read.
  18. Kindred – whew, this is a tough tough read, but one I think so many of us need to experience to make real and palpable the antebellum south and its horror that has lasting effects on our country today.
  19. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America – I paired this with Kindred and was basically a white ball of shame and horror for a while, but I think that’s important and necessary sometimes.  A sermon, unfiltered, unedited to the white ear.  Read it. Hear it and if you want to process?  I am totally here for that!
  20. How Beautiful the Beloved – love, love, love. That is all. I love it! FYI: poetry.
  21. Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved – You’ve probably seen it at the library, at the book store.  Pick it up.  It’s worth it.  It’s an accessible read of a young woman’s open and vulnerable journey with stage VI cancer.  It doesn’t solve the world, but you’ll be glad you took the journey.

Update 8/7 – I added the Goodreads Review links to each title so you don’t have to scroll through all my books to find a review of one that you might find interesting.  Why? Because I got the time!!!

Happy reading all! More blogs to come…I hope…