The Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
I enjoy Katherine Reay’s clean, not-quite-fluffy writing. This was not a book that challenged my perceptions about the world or caused me to think deeply, but it was engaging and fun and romantic with a tiny bit of suspense. It was the perfect thing for me to read while I was incredibly busy last week (I had my first booth at an art/craft fair, and stepping outside my comfort zone like that was overwhelming and a little terrifying). I needed an easy book to escape into and this one fit the bill. Plus it’s about art, so that seemed to be a good fit, too!
Slow moving, gentle look at the lives of slaves. And not just any slaves, but the slaves belonging to Thomas Jefferson. The book addresses really tough questions: freedom and slavery, love and responsibility, race, and the conflicts of human nature. It’s going on the must read list for all of my kids, for sure.
I have owned this book for years, but just read it this month. It’s an uplifting and inspiring read. I love Emily’s idea that we’re all artists and can serve God in everything we do, whether that’s creating a painting that millions of people love, or working as a cashier at the grocery store, or raising little people. Her book has caused me to slow down and think about my actions, whether the work I am doing in all aspects of my life is allowing God’s love to shine through me.
I haven’t re-read the later books int he Harry Potter series since I first devoured them when they first came out, many years ago. I listened to Jim Dale read the audiobook of Order of the Phoenix. He does such a masterful reading of this modern day classic. I loved going back into the wizarding world and hearing about all those delightful characters (and even the less delightful ones, I’m looking at you, Umbridge). Such a great book!
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
An inspiring read for those who are trying to find their life’s work and then actually follow through and accomplish it. This is a short but powerful book. Full of insights for battling Resistance, which Pressfield defines as procrastination, addiction, drama, laziness, anything that stands in the way of us accomplishing the work we feel called to do. (Note: there is some strong language)
You are a Bad*@@. by Jen Sincero
I have heard great things about this book from many people and have wanted to read it for a while. But I was hesitant because of the title. I didn’t want my little people seeing me read a book with that word blasting from the cover. However after my sister recommended it, I decided to listen to the audiobook and then my kids were never the wiser. I mostly enjoyed the book. I felt like it was full of practical tips that leaned quite heavily to the woo-woo side. I don’t agree with many of the principles and anecdotes Sincero relates. (For example: deciding to buy a ridiculously expensive car and then “manifest” the money afterwards. I understand the point she was trying to make, but the act itself was way too superficial, way too risky and unnecessary for me to appreciate it. But I am SUPER opposed to debt of any kind….that’s a topic for another day) Overall, this book was a good kick in the pants for those wanting to level up their lives. (Also, as you might have surmised from the title, it’s rife with 4 letter words).
I started this book on our trip to New York several weeks ago. I downloaded it on the Libby app on my phone (by the way, if you don’t know about Libby, it’s very important for me to tell you about it. It’s a newer, easier to use, version of the Overdrive app. You can use your library card to download books and audiobooks FREE from you library). While I was really into the book on the trip, once we got home I set it aside and didn’t continue. This is mostly because I do not like reading on my phone. I will in extreme circumstances (trying to pack as lightly as possible for a trip, for example) but once we get home and I have a plethora of other options at my fingertips I will always choose a physical book over digital.
I finally got the physical book from the library and picked up where I left off. And I loved it. Jodi Picoult has a way of taking really hard situations, problems the world is currently facing, and weaving powerful and poignant stories. She distills the issues we’re discussing in theory and makes them more real because she centers them around people. Small Great Things is about love and hate, race and judgement, family, friendships and forgiveness. I highly recommend it.