Holiday Reads for the Rest of Us

To get into the holiday spirit this year I’ve been cranking up the Christmas tunes, decorating the Christmas tree, and drinking hot cocoa while watching Home Alone, but when it comes to books I need something a little less sparkly and bright. I like to read realistic fiction – nothing against a good cozy mystery or a holiday themed romance, but I enjoy the struggle of real life in my reading. It helps me recognize what I’m thankful for and helps me feel less alone if I’m having a hard time. Here are some fiction reads, for however you spend the season, to bring some empathy, understanding, and maybe a little chaos.

Disgruntled: A Novel by Asali Solomon: “Kenya is teased mercilessly by her Philadelphia grade-school classmates for her Kwanzaa-celebrating family’s odd ways—and they don’t know the half of it.  Her father preaches “black anarchy” as the volatile leader of the Seven Days, a group he and Kenya’s mother, Sheila, who grew up in the projects and who supports her family as a librarian, has pulled together. Preternaturally observant and mordantly funny, Kenya is a hypnotic narrator coping valiantly with an increasingly bewildering life.” (Booklist) Continue reading “Holiday Reads for the Rest of Us”

Bus Reads for November

Commuting to Seattle by bus five days a week gives me a lot of reading time. Here’s what I read on the bus in November:

There Therebook cover image of There There by Tommy Orange. It was one of those books I loved, but wanted more. I want more book, I want a sequel, I want more of the story, more, more, more, but it was beautiful and tragic and a needed voice. This story centers around the Oakland powwow that takes place at the end of the novel, those who are a part of it, those who want to be a part of it, and those that bring in harm. You have multiple character perspectives and as you read you start to see the connections being made. This book had brilliance and poetry in its commentary on the lives of urban Indians. The author also brings in history and stereotype and blows everything wide open. Continue reading “Bus Reads for November”

Practice Gratitude

We live in a pretty fast paced world, one that can cloud our gratefulness for what we have, what we’ve been given, and those we share our lives with. I challenge you to take the time (and not just in November) to practice gratitude.

Focus on areas of your life you can be more grateful for like your home, your partner, or just time to be with yourself and disconnect:

Learn to engage in positive self-talk. Too often we beat ourselves down when we should be lifting ourselves up:

Continue reading “Practice Gratitude”

Bus Reads for October

Commuting to Seattle by bus five days a week gives me a lot of reading time. Here’s what I read on the bus in October:

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper. A small fishing island in Newfoundland is home to few. As the fish began to vanish, so too did the island’s inhabitants, leaving one by one to seek a life elsewhere. This is the story of two generations of Connors and those that refuse to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Aiden and Martha take turns working on the main land to support their children Cora and Finn. Finn has a plan to bring the fish back and Cora, after decorating every abandoned home to look like far away lands, makes a plan herself. Aiden and Martha’s stories are also told in flashback chapters connecting it all. A beautiful novel of family and hope. Continue reading “Bus Reads for October”