The Book Thief– As we finished brunch at Perennial Virant for Matt’s birthday, we couldn’t decide what to do that afternoon. It was snowing outside, little snowflakes, like someone was sprinkling glitter from the rooftops. We had been all over the city and it was too cloudy to go up the Sears Tower like we had originally planned so we found a theater showing The Book Thief and hailed a cab. I had finished the book the day before we left for Chicago, and ten pages in The Book Thief secured its spot as my favorite novel of 2013. The book is haunting and raw, and Markus Zusak’s personification left me spellbound. The movie is also great though, of course, there is some complexity, a few story lines, that didn’t make it in the movie. I am one of those book nerds who always thinks the book is better than the movie, and that remains true in this case. But the movie is excellent and the book is a must-read.
Catching Fire– We finally saw Catching Fire (and thanks to a Malco gift card and $5 Humdingers shrimp on Mondays we had a date night for $15)! I’m a huge Hunger Games fan. I read all three books basking in the sun on the deck of a cruise ship with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean in my periphery so my memories with The Hunger Games are a bit biased… and salty. It’s rare for a movie to capture the imagination of a book as creatively vivid as The Hunger Games, but they did a great job with it. And I always love it when the characters in the movie resemble the ones I’ve fashioned in my head while reading.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott- This one was a Christmas present from Matt that he let me open early. For anyone who loves to write, this book is a a not-so-gentle nudge to be an honest writer. I’m reading this one slowly, letting it pierce and prick me, disturb and disrupt me. It’s uncomfortable like sand in your swimsuit, but sand and swimsuits usually mean there’s a surf swelling close by.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott- Also a Christmas present from Matt, I actually waited for this one. Written in 1999, this book captures Lamott’s trademark gut-level honesty. Throughout the book, I found myself gritting my teeth and wondering, “Can she actually say that?” Which I sort of loved. I remember feeling the same way when I first read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. And it’s why I love Going Public stories at our church, souls bared, truth surfacing, honesty palpable. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing. (Heads up: there are some four-letter words in this one and a few other things that, like I said earlier, made me grit my teeth. But I love how God finds us in the messy. I feel that is Anne Lamott’s life story and mine too.)
All In by Mark Batterson- While the black-eyed peas were simmering, I read this one New Year’s Day. It’s a perfect book to start the new year. When I turned the last page I felt like I do when I take that first step outside to go running and it’s 17 degrees. That cold air greeting makes you feel alive, daring, courageous. This book does the same. (This one is $3.79 for the Kindle edition as I’m typing this.)
Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith- My mom got this book for Lydia for Christmas. It’s a sweet story with beautiful illustrations. It reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit, the book I always begged my Grammy to read to me during summers when I was little.
Also, I saw on Facebook where Beth Moore has a ton of books available in Kindle edition for FREE until January 10th! To find out more go to cotysloan.com. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for free and read it on your iPhone or iPad. Yay for free books!
I snapped this picture of the Library at the Public Chicago where Matt and I stayed for our trip. The cozy fire, the creamy Carrera marble, the original tin ceilings… we wanted to move in. On a slightly (very) unrelated note, when I go to hotels with fun toiletries I put them away in my bag each day so they will leave more the next morning. Then Matt and I start quoting the Friends episode where Ross and Chandler go to Vermont. Maple candy, anyone?
Good times, great reads, enjoy!