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January 2020 Book Reviews!

Miniature book reviews! This month I have not spent much time on social media because I’m trying to get into the habit of using my free time to the best and most productive/educational use. I’m behind on my sewing and painting, but I have tried to spend more time reading as well. I’ve wanted to get more into reading on a regular basis because I’ve really struggled with my word recall since I was sick in 2012, and I had read somewhere that reading books is good for your brain if you have that issue, and social media can be not-so-good for your brain health and memory if you spend a lot of time on it per day. All this to say, this month of January, I have read three books: ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ by Annie Dillard, ‘The Wright Brothers’ by David McCullough (and it all read aloud to me by Matt as I sewed and painted), and ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ by Sue Monk Kidd. So here are my miniature reviews of them!

-Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: This is probably the most unusual book I have ever read, and yet I felt at home with it for the most part. Annie Dillard writes about time spent observing nature and wildlife at the creek near her home in Virginia, and observances she makes in nature that sometimes resonate with the spiritual life. In some chapters she will be talking about something she is observing in nature that may be commonplace to the naked eye, and then at the end of the chapter, she’ll turn it into one of the most profound things you never saw coming. She writes in a reflective way but so honestly that there isn’t any trace of sentimentality, which is unusual for a book about nature and the outdoors from a physical and spiritual perspective. It is a meditative book, and reading it can take some brain power but once you’re in it, it feels that you’re there observing these things firsthand. I never thought I’d form such a strong opinion about how insects perceive life, so there’s that.

-The Wright Brothers: The sheer brilliance of these two brothers and the family that they were a part of was a beautiful thing to witness throughout the book. And on top of it all, they accomplished feats unheard of right under everyone’s nose. I love how David McCullough writes history books— so interesting and honest that the voice of the author disappears, and you just get caught up in the story and stay there the entire time. I’m also convinced that Wilbur Wright and my husband have the same personality.

-The Secret Life of Bees: Up until almost the end, I didn’t really think I was reading a story about forgiveness and healing, but I was taken by surprise. I love how this book so effortlessly confronts lots of things in one: racism, growing up, personality differences, wisdom in the midst of abuse, religion, healing, and forgiveness. You don’t know you just got taught about all of these things until you finish reading it, and you realize that you just grew a lot more in your soul just by taking part of this story. Thanks to Naomi West, who unknowingly recommended it to me.

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