I didn't finish All Things Cease to Appear as planned because two books I couldn't wait to read came up on my holds list at once. Then I grabbed a third. Here are the end of the month books for April. For the books I read the first half of April, click here.
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad: Told as a 13 story narrative following the life of protagonist, Elizabeth, Awad explores what happens when we let one part of who we are define us. Uncomfortable and honest, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl shows that what we believe will make us happy can leave us in chains. Awad uses 13 glimpses into Elizabeth's life to help the readers see a life lived in a web of insecurities. This book and Dietland read well together. They left me with so much to think about that I found myself sitting in the recliner staring at a wall at midnight, unable to shut down everything these books opened in my mind.
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey: It's hard to know where to begin. Bessey explores faith and the journey our spiritual lives take so well that I recommend her first book, Jesus Feminist, to everyone I meet. I will recommend Out of Sorts now, as well. Bessey gives you permission to question everything you thought you knew about who God is in order to truly know Him. She never sets her journey up as a how-to map, instead encouraging others to go through the questions and possible wilderness in their own lives the way that works for them. I am still holding onto this book from the library because I thought I would go back and take notes in my journal. After rethinking it, I'm just going to give it to myself for Mother's Day and highlight it to death.
The Wander Society by Keri Smith: Smith writes about the strange messages she started seeing in New England about a mysterious wander society. One rule of the wander society seems to be don't approach anybody in the wander society (an introvert's dream!), so not much was officially known about the group. Smith set out to find out what she could and write a guide, so to speak, for wandering.
This book discusses many great wanderers, mainly Walt Whitman, and encourages the reader to be intentional with their time and actually experience what is around them. Physical, as well as mental, wandering are prescribed as a way to push back against society's idea of success. Basically, put down your phone, open your ears, and take time each day to explore.
I'm not a live-on-my-phone person. However, this advice still helped me. I've never seen our neighborhood as a place worth exploring since we are smack dab in the middle of suburbia. We've taken walks a million times, but we generally go the same route and come back home. But Monday while D was at work, the five of us set out and wandered for over an hour looking for squirrels, Sammy's current obsession. I've lived here for eight years and never truly appreciated the layout of the streets, all of the small animals, our neighbors. It was a slow, fairly aimless walk, but the kids described it as the best day ever. I felt the same way. I came back relaxed and not at all looking forward to diving into emails and dealing with the to-do list. Wandering was enough.
I'm also venturing back into the short story market, and wandering helps me think through stories, develop ideas, and observe human behavior. The time was right for me to find this book. It's a good read for any audience.
This month I am attempting to tackle Version Control, Dark Money, The Lady with the Borzoi, Get in Trouble, and The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. I'll report back soon.