Freckles in April: What I've Been Reading

Friday, April 25, 2014

What I've Been Reading

One of my sort of unofficial goals for this year was to read more. I used to be a huge bookworm but the past couple years have only seen me reading a book or two a month (if that). Moving in March slowed me down a lot but so far this year I've polished off over 40 books, which feels dang good.

Here are some of my favorites so far:


FDR by Jean Edward Smith

I did this one on audio (it's 27 hours long...not for the faint of heart) but I loved every second. Books about historical events and figures can be a little dry sometimes and this one is no exception, but it also made me cry on more than one occasion. FDR's presidency is made up of so many amazing moments in history. I vaguely remembered that he was a key figure in shaping the US as we know it today but I had forgotten many of the details. He saved the country from collapse during the Great Depression and was BFFs with Winston Churchill. He was the first president to ever fly in an airplane. He rose above a serious physical handicap to lead and inspire a nation. I'm not remotely joking when I tell you that FDR is totally my hero after reading this book. He wasn't perfect but he was sure amazing.

Also recommend: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm sure 90% of you have read it but it is seriously mind-blowing (and also gave me shark nightmares).


Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

This is a YA book, which I know some people tend to turn up their nose at, but hear me out: this is YA done well. Over the course of 3 books Elisa, the heroine, goes from a soft, naive princess to a queenly, confident leader of her country. And she does it by saving herself and others time and again, not by relying on the arm of a flawless brawny love interest to save her. There ARE love interests, of course (3 of them!) but they are imperfect, human and more of a side note to Elisa's story rather than the focus of it. I realized halfway through that I didn't particularly care who she does or doesn't end up with. I'm just on Team Elisa (and so is she). This book has depth, plot, and is just generally awesome. It works as a stand alone if you don't want to get caught up in a trilogy.

Also recommend: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. A thinking book wrapped in the guise of a wonderfully different sort of love story.

Not for everyone, but I loved:

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After my Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood by Leah Vincent

This isn't necessarily a book I'd recommend to just anyone. She goes through some very dark times and there's some sexual content that might make some people uncomfortable. But I found Leah Vincent's memoir deeply touching and strangely relateable. She was kicked out of her strict religious group because she wrote letters to a boy asking questions about their faith that made others uncomfortable. This hit close to home for me. There are groups right now asking deep and hard questions about the Mormon Church. The saddest part is that most of these people are really trying to be faithful. But when they ask questions or raise concerns an incredibly common response from the community is, "Why don't you just leave the church?" Why are orthodox religions so quick to shove the struggling ones from the nest? What is it about doubt that scares us so much that we're willing to kick a soul out completely rather than try and help them through it and find their place? Vincent's book gave me a lot to chew on.

Also recommend: A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. Strikes a fine balance between reverence for the Bible and all that it represents for millions of people while also poking fun at some of it's outdated culturally based proclamations. Deeply entertaining.

What have you read lately and loved? I've given up on a couple books this month and need some new recommendations!


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  1. Ooooh, that FDR books looks amazing! I really love stuff like that!

    And thank you for your thoughts on the Leah Vincent book, not sure if I'll read it, but I certainly appreciate the honesty.


  2. The Rae Carson book sounds good! I love a fiction novel with a strong female character. This is also probably why I loved Rachel Held Evans book. I also loved her first book, a memoir, recently released under a new title. She discusses a lot of those questions you seem to have referred to, although not in an Orthodox faith. Thanks for the suggestions!


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