Books of December

Seven again this month, rounding off the year strong with 57 total, beating my goal of 50.

The first two are easily in my top recommendations from 2015.

  • “When The Moon is Low” – Nadia Hashimi: READ THIS Book. Particularly if you are at all interested in the realities of the route refugees are currently and have been taking across Europe for years. The book follows an Afghan family as they work to make their way from Kabul to family in England to escape the Taliban. It realistically captures both the best and worst of humanity along the way and paints an incredible picture of what so many Afghan, Syrian, Eritrean and other refugees are facing right now. We did this one as an audio book over our Christmas driving. The female narrator in particular is fantastic.
  • “Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church” – Rachel Held Evans: This is easily Rachel’s best work. She is kinder and more compassionate to all church traditions and offers immense insight and challenge throughout. I do nearly all my reading courtesy of our little town’s library, most often purchasing after completing something I know I will want to come back to and share. This was such a book.
  • “A Spool of Blue Thread” – Anne Tyler: This was ok. It was a decent story and I finished it without trouble, but it only garnered 2 stars from me on Goodreads. Not a waste of time, but not overwhelming.
  • “Girl At War” – Sara Nović: This was a brilliant first book and I’m excited to see what Sara does next. Her protagonist is a a young girl at the outbreak of the Croatian war in the early 90s. The book follows her story throughout the war and to the US. It’s heartbreaking and reads like a memoir instead of historical fiction.
  • “Winter Garden” – Kristen Hannah: This was an enjoyable novel. The end is a bit contrived and I really think Hannah could have done much better with it. It felt contrived after how thoughtful the rest of the book was.
  • “Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go” – Laura Rose Wagner: A friend of mine from my graduate school cohort works in Haiti and both gave this book to all her committee members and insist I read it immediately. It was a fast read — took me a couple days at most. Because it’s fiction she can weave into the story immense amounts of history and information about Haiti that give the reader a good glimpse of Haiti and it’s struggles both before and after the 2010 earthquake.
  • “Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy” – Donald Miller: This is not Miller’s best work and it took me a long time to make it through this — I started initially this summer. He’s a fantastic writer with an incredible way with words. Like his others, this contained sentences and paragraphs that left me marveling and their perfection. I found some chapters challenging and some difficult to wade through.

 

Starting

The beginning of writing always seems the hardest part. At some point one  has to dive in and just… start. And so, rather then continuing to internal debate of what should qualify as the first, the beginning, the start, I’m going to start somewhere — here.