It happened again! That thing where random things connect perfectly:) On Saturday I was thinking I needed to find a new book to read. On Sunday my faithful reader-grandma-theologian friend, Alecia recommended Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod. Since February is the month of all things love and Valentines, what better time to read a real love story? (In stalking the author’s blog for a few minutes, it appears this is a story of how she met her man).
The book comes out tomorrow. Coincidence?? No, it’s actually just the careful planning of her publisher. If you’re in, finish up by February 28th. I have a feeling this will be a quick read and the perfect way to enjoy the month:)
Yikes…is this long overdue? Yes. The answer is yes. It helps me feel less guilty to tell you that this past month was crazy… in good ways:) Found out my brother and his wife are having a baby girl!! I already love her. I can hardly wait to meet her and begin passing on the playbook for getting on her dad’s nerves.
Started a new job that I love, book stuff, moved (went a lot better than last time),
Everything came at once. Needless to say, reading had to go on the back-burner a little. Whenever I did get the chance, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? was a welcomed distraction!
Before we get into it, and so I don’t lose anyone who didn’t read, our next fiction book will be my bff Heather’s favorite- House of Spirits by Isabele Allende. A warning, apparently it’s a little graphic and violent. It follows a family during the 1970’s Chilean Revolution.
Overall, I LOVED it. I realize I’m going to have to hate a book sooner or later or you all won’t trust me. I can’t lie, and this one I did enjoy. For anyone interested in mental health, Seattle, Antarctica, Microsoft, or architecture, this book is for you! I found the hilariously honest windows into these worlds fascinating!
Did you hate her or love her? I’ve heard both responses. I’m on her team. She was one of the most interesting and hysterical characters I’ve read in a very long time. Though sad, I appreciated the authentic look into a family with eccentric tendencies and how they are passed on. Bee, for example, was brilliant and noticed everything….except for where her mom was concerned. She had a loving blind spot for Bernadette that led her to be crazy at times. Best part? Am I wrong or did the author get you to identify and want to identify with Bernadette? She made crazy look good!
Overall, the book reminded me to simply be honest and have real conversations when they need to be had. SO much calamity and pain would’ve been avoided had mom, dad, neighbor, child, ANYONE been upfront with the people involved. I won’t give away the ending, but even in the wrap-up, there were permanent consequences for the family given they all decided to keep pride, hold back, and communicate behind each others backs. I’ve tried to get better at this and find it’s always scary to be vulnerable and honest. In the end, at least for me, whenever I push myself to do so, I feel braver and more at peace.
What about you? What did you think?! About the need to create, outside impression of Christian culture, etc.??
So… As a whole, what did you think? If you had to boil it down to one thing you took away, what would that be? For me, it was the reminder that Jesus loves us with a depth and intensity we can’t begin to wrap our minds around. …And sadly, I neglect this love all the time.
What’s one thing you came away with from chapter 1?
Here’s what stood out for me:
Whenever I pick up a book, particularly a Christian one, I open it up and my mind goes straight into learning mode. I make mental lists of what I need to change, do, add, take away, become etc. With the added need to blog about this book, my crazy and busy mind hurriedly turned to the first chapter and was smacked in the face with the opening words,
“Come to me…”
Instantly I felt my heart soften and I had to put the book down and reorient my thoughts in order to receive what Nouwen had to say.
I felt chapter 1 spoke of Jesus coming to serve. This idea still shocks me. Perhaps it’s because I just started a new job, but I kept thinking about the way we do things in our world. There’s a structure in place for how we help each other. In a company for example, the people on the bottom work for the person at the top. The CEO is ideally busy doing the most important things and everyone else is working on lesser tasks to help the boss reach his or her goals.
I got this image of a lesser employee, a temp maybe, stressed out, busy, and burdened by their job tasks. Things are tense at home, bills are adding up, and the temp is behind at work. Suddenly, the CEO walks in during the week of a huge business deal. Everyone is working like crazy to make sure things run smoothly. As the CEO heads for his corner office, he pauses at the desk of the temp and says, “Hey, how can I help you? Is there anything I can do for you today? Any way I can lighten your load?”
It’s crazy, right? But that’s the image I get in Ch. 1. I feel like Easter is a big day for Jesus and He has the whole world in His hands. He has big important things to do. I opened the book, pen and paper ready to jot down the areas God wanted me to work on, but was instead met with an invitation to hand over my agenda and simply spend time with Him.
“Come to me…and I will give you rest”
What? With everything you have going on, you, Jesus, want to help me? That’s embarrassing. You’re God.
What came out for you? Lots of excellent thoughts on Jesus’ perfect love as the only satisfaction for our longings, hurts etc. I’d love to hear your take away.
Book club due date- March 15. Today’s date- March 26. I’m late. I’m sorry.
Let’s get going. I’m going to do 3 separate posts for the 3 books so people can comment and get a discussion going on the books individually. Please, please reach out and talk to each other! It’s the only way this will work.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, even though it was sad. Anderson sure has a knack for showing the slow build of a relationship; it’s delicate nature, and painful demise. I thought Tink’s ability to read minds may have been a cheater way to do things, but satisfying b/c it meant we could see what Peter was thinking. What girl hasn’t tried to overanalyze the head of her crush, boyfriend, husband etc? This was the window in we all wish we had!
Takeaways and Questions for you:
(Respond and comment on any you want and throw out some of your own!)
1. Did you identify with Tiger Lily? I sure did. It was hard to read at times. Were all readers meant to relate to her, or did some of you feel more like a Moon Eye or a Wendy? How so?
2. What did you think about the interactions between females in the story? I thought Anderson fleshed out the painful and subtle side of female competition well. Interesting how they were all wishing they were more like the other girls.
3. Ch. 1 explains faeries are mute and therefore great listeners. “You turn your attention, not to babbling about yourself, broadcasting each and every thought to everyone within earshot- as people often do- but to observing. That’s how faeries became so empathic. “ Pg. 3
4. In the story, people stopped aging, “When the most important thing that would ever happen to you triggered something inside that stopped you from moving forward.” Pg. 163.
Anderson goes on to bookend the concept during her description of Tiger Lily’s broken heart, “It is just that she was fifteen once for the first time, and Peter walked across her heart, and left his footprints there.” Pg. 290
Tink also believed Tiger Lily may have stopped aging the moment she was happy and at home on the mountain with Peter. I found the concept very relatable, did you? Do you find your life sort of stops in certain ways at crucial moments when big things happen, painful and joyful?
5. Pick a side. Are you team Peter or are you team Pine Sap, and why? Everyone should answer this one:) There is plenty to draw from to support your idea, particularly in the final chapter. …Heart wrenching.
6. Did you like Anderson’s overall take on love? I felt she made a case for romantic love, that it can stick with you for a lifetime, but it’s not necessarily the kind of love you will build your life on. This is neither good or bad, it just is.
“She (Tiger Lily) said she thought there were different ways of loving someone, and there were some she used to think were the most important and now she had changed her mind.” Pg. 287
Agree? Disagree? Relate to this?
7. What did you make of the juxtaposition between Tiger Lily, a girl who had trouble trusting b/c of tragedy in her past, and Wendy, a girl who lived a charmed life and could love easily?
What did you make of Peter Pan’s choice? Is this how it is in real life? Case by case?? Did it anger you as it did me?
Have at it!
BTW- our next fiction will be Where’d You Go, Bernadette My friend Brittany says it’s hilarious and I could use a laugh after this last one:) Let’s try and wrap it up by May 1. How cute is that cover?
Hello, friends. I’ve always wanted to be in a book club and never had the opportunity. Last month I accidentally started a track team (that is not a joke) and it got me thinking, why not start a book club? So I am, and I’m inviting you. This one will be online so no need to take off work, hire a sitter, or wake up early on a Saturday.
Here’s how it will work:
For this month, I’ve picked 3 books. Hopefully a few of you will send in suggestions for next month. You can read one or all of them between now and March 10, at which point I’ll host a conversation about each of them right here on the blog. Sounds easy, right?
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Before you skip out, please read the line I came across, “For the girls with messy hair and thirsty hearts.” How good is that dedication?! Immediately, I googled and found my way to this book, whose description reads, “Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…” I’ve always loved the story of Peter Pan and am excited to return to Neverland! Who is with me? #imadork
The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brene Brown. My friend Herci recommended this book to me last year and I started it and LOVED it. Work picked up, got busy, blah blah, somehow I didn’t finish it and now I’m excited to get it done.
Brown spent 10 years studying vulnerability and turned her extensive research into a fascinating book on our culture’s intolerance towards it. She submits our aversion to vulnerability leads us to struggle with perfection, extremism, and numbing.
As far as I know, Brown doesn’t profess to be religious, making her commentary on the importance of spirituality all the more interesting. At one point she says, “Spirituality without vulnerability is extremism.” Great insight!
Heart Speaks to Heart by Henri Nouwen. Aside from a profound appreciation for Nouwen, I thought this book would be the perfect way to prepare for Easter.
While living in a community of men with special needs, Nouwen met an elderly woman named Mammie, who ran the house. She encouraged him to write about the Sacred Heart (heart of Jesus) but Nouwen was uncomfortable and uninspired by the idea. Mammie continued to insist for years.
Eventually, Nouwen moved away to become a priest in Toronto, at which point he felt called to retreat to a monastery for Holy Week in order to connect with Jesus. Nouwen decided this would be the perfect time to try and write about the heart of Jesus. As the days approached, he realized he no longer wanted to write about the heart of Jesus, but rather, to the heart of Jesus. Instead of writing his thoughts on devotion to the heart of Christ, he asked Jesus to touch his heart and wrote about that experience.
“When Holy Thursday came, I began to write to Jesus- from heart to heart. I also wrote on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday. I did not look at any article or book. I simply prayed as I wrote and wrote as I prayed. It was easy; it came without effort. The words flowed out of me, and I realized that I was doing precisely what Mammie had hoped for from the very beginning. She wanted me to pray and to pray with my whole heart, and she knew that the heart of Jesus would open my heart for such prayer.”
Let me know if you’re “in” with a comment! See you March,10th;)