Happy February and Happy Super Bowl Sunday! My husband has invited some of his guy friends over for the game tonight and to show off his recently completed home theater – part one of the man-cave project he started last year – so I’ve got spicy chicken cooking in the crock pot that will be made into nachos and I just baked fudge brownies for brownie sundaes – YUM! The house smells divine, and already my tummy is ready for the feast to come!
In the meantime, I am curling up next to the fire while the snow falls and soaking in some good books. Over the past month, I’ve read four books that I recommend as good reads:
Still LoLo: This is the story of Lauren (“LoLo”) Scruggs (23-year-old fashion journalist) who was hit by a still-moving propeller blade upon exiting a small plane that she had been in to look at Christmas lights in December 2011, resulting in the loss of her left hand and left eye. The book is written by Lauren, as well as her parents and twin sister, and discusses the tragic incident itself, her recovery, as well as their family life and faith in God through it all. I always enjoy reading true stories, especially inspirational accounts of those who have endured and persevered through the most difficult of circumstances. I appreciate the honesty of the writers, and felt a sense a hope after reading this – that no matter what happens, we can be healed by God and find the strength to keep moving forward, as well as stay true to ourselves in the process.
The Language of Flowers: This novel is about a young woman (Victoria) whose childhood has been spent in the foster-care system, which results in her inability to get close to or trust anybody. Her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings, a talent developed while in the only loving home she ever lived in. Once emancipated from the system and on her own, she realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. This leads to her encountering a stranger and making a decision of whether or not to confront a secret from her past that could mean true happiness or further isolation and disappointment. I’m a sucker for books about redemption and transformation. Although sad at times and difficult to relate to personally, I was drawn to the main character and found myself continuing to root for her even as she made tough choices and suffered the consequences of those. Being a social worker, I was also drawn to the social justice piece of this regarding the foster-care system and how a lack of love and nurturing can severely impact a child well into the future. It also takes place in San Francisco and I loved revisiting places I had seen while out there this past summer.
Wonderstruck: Margaret Feinberg is one of my favorite authors. Her newest book is a real treat as it invites us to live a more full life by experiencing God’s extraordinary presence in the midst of the ordinary, and enjoy His peace as we find awe in the wonders He is doing in and around us. At the end of the book is an opportunity to engage in “30 Days of Wonder” and I plan to do this over the Lent season. This book also reminded me of “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp as it reiterated that idea of being in expectation of God’s goodness in the big and small moments of each and every day.
The Snow Child: This novel takes place in 1920’s Alaska where we meet an older couple who are drifting apart under the weight of the brutal weather, their difficult-to-maintain homestead, and inability to have children. In a moment of childlike happiness during the first snowfall of the season, they build a child out of snow. The next morning they awake to find the snow child gone, but glimpse a little girl running through the forest. From there the book captivates you as it discusses this couple striving to make sense of this child, build a family, and remain resilient in their challenging circumstances. I found this book hard to put down. I really appreciate the author’s ability to build such a mesmerizing story with so few characters and I liked the descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness; it gave me even more interest in wanting to travel there sometime in the near future.
So if you’re looking for some good books to delve into, I recommend these. They are pretty easy to get through and will be sure to tug at your heart-strings.