Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publication Date: 2/28/17
Pages: 444
Genre: Young Adult / Fiction
How I Found It: It's been all over since publication.
Date Completed: 5/11/18

Summary: Starr Carter lives in an urban neighborhood but commutes out to a wealthy suburb for school. When she witnesses the murder of a childhood friend, the careful walls she's built between her two lives begin to crumble. 

What I Thought: This book is intensely powerful. The debate over officer-involved shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement is so intense in our country. Yet, we often forget the very real lives that are affected with each tragic shooting. Thomas places us directly in the epicenter of one of these moments. She does not shy away from the diversity of emotions or political responses. 

This book is exactly why I am trying to read books with a more diverse authorship. There was so much in here that, as a white woman, I will just never understand. Some of it was hard to digest, forcing me to confront my own biases (we all have them). Some of it was just heartbreaking; we are so unaware of our own privileges. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

American War - Omar El Akkad

American War
Title: American War
Author: Omar El Akkad
Publication Date: 4/4/17
Pages: 352
Genre: Dystopian / Fiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 5/8/18

Summary: The United States has ceased to be united. Facing increasing environmental disaster, disputes over consequential policy decisions led the South to secede once again, launching a new Civil War. The novel follows the story of how one girl's live intertwines with the events of that conflict.

What I Thought: I really wanted to like this book. The premise is fascinating to me. As we currently stand at such a fraught point in our history, the idea of another civil war doesn't always seem so crazy. Particularly since El Akkad wisely had the country split over environmental concerns and scaling back the use of fossil fuels. If and when America does ever get to that point, the fight will likely be enormous. 

The book is set up as a decades-long story following the path of one southern girl in particular. Sarat Chestnut and her family end up at a camp for refugees after the war breaks out in 2074. It is there that her fighting instinct is ignited and nurtured. She goes on to be a key player in the war itself. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Of Mess and Moxie - Jen Hatmaker

Of Mess and Moxie
Title: Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life
Author: Jen Hatmaker
Publication Date: 8/8/17
Pages: 224
Genre: Faith / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I'm a Jen Hatmaker fan.
Date Completed: 4/28/18

Summary: Hatmaker broaches motherhood, faith, and the messiness of life in her new memoir. As always, she does it with grace and heart. 

What I Thought: Hatmaker delivered exactly what I expected her to here. She's funny and witty and so real. She's not afraid to engage with hard issues and lay her vulnerabilities out on the table. 

She does it in a way, however, that still protects others in her life. I love that she's clearly only sharing stories that she's received permission to share or aspects of vulnerability that are hers alone to reveal. It has to be such a hard balance and she walks it well. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was Hatmaker's real talk about motherhood. Now, I'm not a parent, but I love reading about the Hatmaker family. I regularly read her Facebook posts about her kids to Kevin and we laugh and laugh. The book is no different. It just adds in a layer of depth that is not always present in the sound bites on social media. She talks about what it's like being a working mom and how she doesn't let her kids - or anyone - make her feel guilty about that. Loved that section! See the second quote below for a perfect example of Hatmaker blending humor with real talk. It was a encouragement to me, someone who has no intention of giving up work if and when I ever have kids. Mostly because I would lose my mind. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

April News 

I feel like I've been longing for spring on here every month. I've talked incessantly about the weather like I'm at a cocktail party and don't know anyone. I can't help it, though. It was such a long winter and this spring has felt like a very, very long time coming. It is finally here and it is glorious. Leaves on the trees, color everywhere. North Carolina offers the most beautiful spring colors. My lilac bush is right on the verge of blooming. I'll be smelling that sweet scent every time I open the front door within days. So, forgive my months-long diatribe on the weather.

It was, once again, such a busy month. We can't catch a break this spring. I feel this way every year, but I always forget just how intense things are. Kevin is not in grad school this year, which is wonderful, but he still worked almost every weekend of the last two months. He's finally done with his crazy season; I have two weeks left until I'm finished with the semester. He's thrown himself into outdoor projects full force, mostly because we're hosting a party for some of his student workers today and he wants our yard to be nice for that. This will be our third summer in this house and we are slowly but surely making our deck area a wonderful summer oasis in which we love spending time. I can't wait for long, lazy evenings out there with cool beverages and good friends.

Part of what has made April particularly busy is all of the extra stuff I've been doing on top of my regular job. I started leading the choir I'm in that goes to sing at nursing homes. I'm still serving on the board of our local housing authority; this month, that involved a conference in Myrtle Beach and several extra meetings because we're making some major transitions. A commitment that is usually 3 hours a month became 3+ hours a week in April. Sigh. I'm also the new Production Assistant for Pantsuit Politics! I've actually been doing this since the start of March, but we've got our rhythm down and I'm doing as much as I can to help the amazing Sarah and Beth. If you aren't already listening to this podcast, you really need to! Today's episode is an interview with Jen Hatmaker and it exemplifies everything I love about the show and why I wanted to work with them. On top of all of that, I've been very actively searching for a full-time job. I'm hoping to have some news on that front next month...

Somehow, I always seem to read more when I am crazy busy. I ended my reading slump and, though my numbers aren't super impressive, every single book I read was gold. Seriously. Not a bad one in the bunch this month. I can almost never say that. I would easily recommend any of the books I read this month, and have already! If you haven't read my reviews this month, I definitely encourage you to go back and take a look. I am confident you'll find something to enjoy!