Recently Read: Book Reviews

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” This book kept me up at night. Like the content seared inside of me and got me thinking and wanting to know: WHAT DO I DO. How do I help? Help isn’t even an adequate word. How do we END racism?! Rewind: the cover might look like chick lit, but there’s nothing light about the content. Ruth is a black labor and delivery nurse with an excellent track record who is charged in the case of a baby’s death. The baby’s parents are white supremacists, and throughout the book you hear detailed accounts from both sides … holy smokes. Highly recommend!


Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Light, easy read that tells the amazing details behind how Chip and Joanna worked to where they are today. The many ways that God opened doors and honored their obedience and willingness to take risks in business and in life are so encouraging. Her attitude reminded me of how sweet it is to trust God and what a payoff that yields. This is one of those books you already knew whether you were going to read or not as soon as you heard about it though, right? I love this family and their business.


This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Tears. If you decide to read this one, just dive in without reading the book flap or Googling the plot. I don’t want to give anything away soo all I’ll say is: really beautiful writing. The author is GREAT at describing real life parenting. I decided to read it after I saw one of my fave writers, Shauna Niequist, post about how much she loved it. If you read it: tell me all your thoughts! I was not crazy about the ending, but again, don’t wanna spoil anything.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This came highly recommended to me, and thankfully I was warned to press through the slow beginning to get to the good stuff. It’s set on the Guernsey Islands after World War II, and a group of characters tell their stories of the war through a series of letters. The language is so beautiful. My own vocabulary feels so dull and redundant lately, and I wish I spoke and wrote as eloquently as these characters (or authors). Even when I think of my Grandma Shank, who only finished eighth grade, I think of how much I LOVED her vocabulary.  Anyway, this is a good book but didn’t quite meet the hype for me.


My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

I didn’t know what this was about before I started reading it – just that I loved Olive Kitteridge, the only other book I’ve read by Elizabeth Strout. Her writing is so different. It leaves a lot to the imagination, which can be a bit frustrating but is mostly wonderful. I finished this one in two days, which is unheard of for me these days (working full-time while parenting a toddler – so much free time and energy! Ha. Ha. Ha.) but should say a lot about how good of a read it was. Lucy is in the hospital for a routine procedure that somehow turns into a hospital stay that lasts several months. Her mother, who she has not seen in years, comes to visit her, and their conversations unravel Lucy’s background. Painfully sad. Elizabeth Strout can say more in one paragraph than some writers ever could – so, so, talented.


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