I don’t know about you, but this time in our world has affected me mentally, more than physically. I’m a very content introvert, so being at home is not an issue. I love having time for all the things I love doing. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I love to read, write, and ponder. What more perfect time for these pursuits? However, it’s been difficult to focus. I normally read six-eight books per month, but during the month of March when I’ve had more time, four books was the best I could do. This frustrates me to no end.
I believe this too shall pass and decided it was time for a book recommendation post. I keep a book journal and enjoy reading over titles that were especially good. Here are a few of my favorite books from the last year:
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, was one of the best books of the year. This is a story of a girl who lost her entire family, one at a time, and lived alone on the coast of North Carolina. She was tough as nails, and smart enough to feed herself from the river she grew up around. Nicknamed the “Marsh Girl,” she proved how resilient she was from the tragedies she suffered
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah, is a great book if you’re interested in social justice. This is a memoir written by a South African man whose mother was black, and his father white. Interracial relationships were illegal at that time in South Africa. Mr. Noah relates his story with humor and heartbreaking details of life as a young boy who was rejected by the black community, as well as the white community. If you prefer audio books, Mr. Noah is the narrator for his book. As a disclaimer, this book is laced with profanities, which I normally shy away from.
A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis, is a short book written by the prolific author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mr. Lewis married later in life, and lost his wife to cancer after only a few short years of marriage. As many writers do, he grieved through writing words of consolation to himself. I’d highly recommend this book if you’ve lost a loved one, especially a spouse.
We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter, is based on the true story of a family who survived the Holocaust. Their gripping story is one I could not stop reading. It helped to know from the beginning that they survived, but the details of their place in history kept me thinking about them long after I finished the book. Ms. Hunter is the granddaughter of one of the main characters. She was able to interview some of the original family members, but had to create dialogue and some of the scenarios. For this reason, this book is listed as Historical Fiction. Anne Bogell, interviewed Georgia Hunter on her podcast What Should I Read Next, Episode 157, dated October 30, 2018. Their story of family love and survival is truly inspiring.
I saved the best for last. My favorite book of the year is One Good Mama Bone, by Bren McClain, an Anderson, South Carolina native. Bren weaves the story of a woman raising the illegitimate child of her dead husband and her best friend, with the wisdom of Mama Red, a cow with a nursing calf. This story is heartfelt, and teaches the reader the meaning of perseverance, honesty, and faithfulness. Life lessons are here for the taking, and the local references make it especially genuine. 28-year-old Mama Red lives on a farm in the New Prospect Community of Anderson County.
Here are a few books that also made the list:
Educated by Tara Westover
Inspector Gamache Series (14 books) by Louise Penny
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
White Heather by Eunice Sullivan Pracht (poetry-local author)
Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer
For All Who Wander by Robin Dance