What I Read in April
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. // "And every night as they lay in their beds wondering what joy tomorrow might bring, yet knowing how precarious life can be, they repeated the words: 'Your fate is not yet sealed. Even in the darkest night, a star will shine, a bell will chime, a path will be revealed.'"
Since my mom works with the library, she often gets advance copies of not yet released books like this one. I absolutely loved the cover (and then completely randomly opened Instagram and saw one of my friends had liked a photo by the artist who did the cover work -- followed her instantly! Her work is incredible) and decided to give it a read. It's geared toward young adults (the author wrote Esperanza Rising which I loved when I was younger), but I found it to be a beautifully written book. It starts with what reads like a fairy tale, and then follows with three different narratives of children around the world, weaving them together and wrapping the whole story up at the end in a really poignant and enchanting way. I read this book in one evening-- it was full of rich imagination and stories I easily fell into-- and I would highly recommend it for a fun spring or summer read.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. // "It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you've been taught to feel sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate."
After binge watching all of Parks and Recreation on Netflix over the last few months, I knew I wanted to read Amy Poehler's book. I was not disappointed! I found it to be hilarious at points, surprisingly poignant at others, and refreshingly transparent and real throughout. I loved the insights into her life and career and loved her even more than I already did as a result.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. // "If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it's about time you gave it a shot, honor that calling in some small way-- today. If you feel a knot in your stomach because you can see the enormous distance between your dreams and your daily reality, do one thing to tighten your grip on what you want-- today. If you've been peering down the road to must but can't quite make the choice, dig a little deeper and find out what's stopping you--today. Because there is a recurring choice in life, and it occurs at an intersection of two roads. We arrive at this place again and again."
A while ago, I stumbled upon a post on Medium called "The Crossroads of Should and Must" and instantly fell in love with the words and the writer. It was brilliantly, creatively presented through heartfelt narratives and adorable doodles. When I learned the post went viral, I wasn't surprised, and when I learned she would be turning it into a book, I was excited. It was such a fun read that reminded me of the power in choosing must and following our creative passions. If you're a creative of any kind, or if you've ever had a passion or an inkling or an idea, read this beautiful book. (Also-- if you're following my #100daysofRADpages on Instagram, Elle Luna is the mastermind behind #The100DayProject!)
Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. // "We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain and joy and heartache of being in relationship with other human beings. In the end, it's the only way to really live, even if it means staying invested, even if it means taking a risk and losing it all."
This was the first book I've read from Evans, and I've heard mixed reviews about her as a writer from close friends of mine. This book found me one day in the Christian section of Barnes & Noble, feeling like every book was a cliche or a puff piece. It seemed like an honest breath of fresh air, and I'm glad I read it. I don't think Evans and I would be great friends in real life-- she's more of a doubter, a questioner, a wanderer, and I'm more direct, trusting, confident. I appreciated her perspective even though I disagreed with her often and felt differently about church and faith most of the time. This book is broken up into chapters based on the sacraments of faith, which was an interesting structure. There were several chunks I absolutely loved, but most that just didn't really resonate much with me at all.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. // "...Also, I think, because any father, particularly any old father, must finally give up his child to the wilderness and trust to the providence of God."
I've heard wonderful things about both this book and Robinson time and time again, so I was really looking forward to finally getting my hands on it to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I wasn't blown away. It took me more than a month to get through this book-- not because it wasn't well-written (it is) or interesting (it is) but it just seemed so slow to me. I think the lack of chapter breaks or real structure was hard to get into, even though it very much fit what this book is (the journal of an aging, dying father to his much-younger son). I still think I'll read more from Robinson, but this one definitely didn't blow me away.
Anything you've read and would recommend? Share it in the comments! I'm always looking for new books to read! Also, you can check out all past posts on what I've read here.