Books I Read in May 2019

I was talking with a friend recently about a book I was reading, it seems I’m always talking about the books I’m reading or podcast I’m listening to cause my friend stopped me and said, “you always have a new book, you must be constantly reading!” I have never thought of myself as an avid reader. It seems I have always been surrounded by lots of people who either read way more than I do, or that never read at all. I read anywhere from 3-10 books a month probably. Because it seems like I am always talking with the books I’m reading to my friends and because I often listen to books while I’m painting they have a profound impact on my life and work.

I’m planning on starting a new little series, it might not be every month but I want to start sharing the books I’m reading the hopes of fostering a little more community, you’re welcome to read along with me, or provide suggestions for my next reads. I love talking about books, as I think it opens the door for getting to know each other, we can learn other opinions, share in ideas, or just in general grow a closer community simply by talking about the real things we have read.

In my opinion, books, more so than tv shows or movies, have such a power to connect and provide ground for discussion due to their rich content and higher word count.

So without further ado these are the books I read this month in no particular order and a short snippet of what I liked or disliked about them.

  1. The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
    Genre: Fiction
    This book was interesting. It shared perspectives of minorities immigrants dealing with America’s justice system. I thought it was a tasteful look at white American privilege from the justice system perspective. It was a good read, it did feel almost too perfect the way it all wrapped up in the end, and I doubt all immigrants have the same kind of sweet closure in real like, but nonetheless and great read shedding light and perspective on the feelings of the “other” immigrants, illegal aliens, and white America, all very rich and timely content.
  2. In Pieces by Sally Field
    Genre: Biography
    I love biographies because I think it gives us more grace for people in the spotlight. We have ideas about famous people and until you hear their stories it’s hard to imagine them as human. I love sally field ever since I saw her in Places in the Heart as a child. She’s such a rich and diverse actor and a woman who seems “approachable” if you will. Reading her biography was wonderful. This well written story shares a large story arch where she addresses everything from her various sexual assaults, her relationship with her mother, money (and the lack thereof) and more. It was so interesting to hear about the life of a woman who seems so real.
  3. The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr
    Genre: Christian
    This was a book was one I couldn’t put down. By the end of the book I was filled with so much delight and peace my husband even remarked that I could not stop smiling and he asked me why, “I just really enjoyed this book.” I think this book could easily be misconstrued or misunderstood if you don’t understand the basic tenants of the Christian faith and if you do not know scripture. As someone who was raised and attended church and memorized verses my whole life, I feel I understand at least the mere basics of the faith. This book paints with broad strokes ideas about Christianity and our created world order. He put into works many of the thoughts I believe, try to live by and think about daily about what it means to be human, live in this world, and be a “Christian.” For me this book was pure delight and a refreshing reminder of the way in which I’m seeking to live. What he calls the “universal Christ” is what I call the beauty and majesty of all that is around us, within us, and within all created things, and it is beautiful.
  4. The Accident by Natalie Barelli
    Genre: Fiction –thriller
    This book was a physiological thriller about an unhealthy “friendship” between a con-artist and a woman who “had it all.” I enjoyed it in the sense that it was purely entertaining, but isn’t that sort of the point of fiction anyway….?
  5. The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna Lebaron
    Genre: Memoir
    Did you read Educated? (one of my favorite books I read in 2018) This book feels like that in many ways, only not quite as amazing. Nonetheless, it was one book I couldn’t put down. Even as an adult I am endlessly fascinated with seeing or reading about the way other people grew up. There is no such thing as a “normal” childhood. This book, written by Anna Lebaron outlines specifically her horrific and confusing childhood as she grew up in one of the most violet cult’s in America. Truly unbelievable true events.
  6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    Genre: Fiction
    This book was fine, it was super short and easy to read, it seemed like it was working hard to be interesting though. It almost felt like it was trying to impress you with its exoticism. I didn’t hate it; it just was a little bit boring to me. I know I know it’s a hugely famous and wonderful book beloved by millions, it just seemed like it was working too hard to be philosophical, and ultimately fell flat to me…. but that is probably just me.
  7. The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger
    Genre: family relationships
    Kluger explores what he deems what could be the, “most important relationships of our lives” the relationships with our siblings. How our siblings change us and how we change them. I enjoyed seeing some of the science behind many of the long held “feelings” I’ve had about my relationship with my brother. It was an easy read, but nor super compelling, it felt like it confirmed all things that I either already knew or already felt.
  8. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
    Genre: Fiction
    This was an entertaining read, as fiction should be. All about an upper-class mommies group in NYC when suddenly one of their babies goes missing. Scandal.  I did feel like there should have been a few more threads woven into this tapestry of a story, but that just something you’ll have to see for yourself.

Here’s a sneak preview of what I’m hoping to read next month (we will see if I get to them all ;). On the list for next month so far are:

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King
The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

And that’s it friends! What do you think about the books I read this past month? Have you read any of them? If so what did you think? Pass along your recommendations for this next month’s reads!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like this blog post about music I like to listen to while I paint.

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