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The Bookshelf, June 2019

The Parade, by Dave Eggers My list this month starts with a novel. This means I really enjoyed this book. Its a quick read, but dark and twisty. I like me some dark and twisty in novels. For anyone who has lived abroad, especially in slightly dangerous or off the beaten trail places, you’ll love this book. It captures several extremes in terms of how expats respond to the challenges of being foreign.

Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown. Of course this is a great read, its Brene Brown. I’d already read it but was looking for some ideas about community and relationships and she explores the deep need and longing we have for belonging. As a an expatriate, this resonates so much with me.

Running Home, by Katie Arnold. I loved parts of this book and honestly, skimmed a few parts. Katie’s relationship with her dad is complicated and she deftly captures the love/grief connection. Reading parts of this made me really, really want to destroy my journals. I only journal the bad stuff, so if one of my kids later tries to figure me out, and expose me by writing about me, after I die by reading my journals, they will totally miss my reality and only see my anger or sorrow. The parts I loved were when she talked about running, ultras and marathons and loved it.

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, by Karen Armstrong It is hard to read about religious violence over the course of history, but also important. This book puts things like the Crusades and jihad into perspective and context.

Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship, by Al Ghazali. Super interesting, to read about more contemplative ways of looking at spiritual practice within Islam.

If the Oceans Were Ink: an Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, by Carla Powers. An interesting take on moderate Islam through the exploration and friendship of a non-Muslim. I wanted to love this book but found myself liking it, parts felt a bit slow and limited in perspective but I also really appreciated Carla’s willingness to evaluate her own religious convictions and to question her friend, a sheikh, on hard topics.

 

What are you reading lately?

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The Bookshelf, May 2018

I had a minor crisis earlier this month. I read all the books on my Kindle.

I had no more new books to read.

It was terrible.

Thankfully after a few days, my library queue caught up with me and I now have way too many books to read again. Here’s a few.

What I’m Reading

Barking to the Choir, by Gregory Doyle. Do I laugh? Do I cry? I do both. A Jesuit priest working with gang members in LA. “We find ourselves on the lookout for moments of spaciousness and calm, when our hearts can be restored again to a place of beauty, innocence, and wholeness. Then we can hear what the Sufis call, “the voice of the Beloved.”

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins, about valuing our creative work as writers

Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic by Nora Gallagher

Riverine by Angela Palm

Home, James, by Emily Steele Jackson, a novel about a young Third Culture Kid

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers (mentions Djibouti!). I loved this book, a fun, informative read on coffee and a riveting ride through Yemen just as the war broke out.

No Man’s Land by Eula Biss (finally, this showed up in my library but I highlighted so much I should probably just buy it)

A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf. I get bored sometimes, reading other people’s diaries, but I really appreciate how honest she is about the issues of pride and of receiving criticism well, or not.

Voices in the Air, poems by Naomi Shihab Nye. “Reading and writing poetry gives us more yutori – a place to stand back and contemplate what we are living and experiencing. More spaciousness in being, more room in which to listen.” (Yutori is a Japanese word meaning essentially, life-space)

Original Blessing, by Danielle Shoyer. Another book in which I highlighted something on nearly every page. “Original blessing is the stubborn assertion not that we are perfect, but that we are loved. And this love has the power to transform even our shadows into light.”

 

What are you reading?