- Avery Garn
Fell off the wagon with the monthly recaps. I suppose that’s what often happens with hobby-ist blogging. (Plus, I’ve been working at a “real job” for a year now!) But here are a few favorite five-star reads recently, and I like to think myself relatively selective in five-star reviews. I also wish I had a cool photo of a stack of all of these books, but they are all library books, so alas, they were returned. Though many of them I will be investing in. Can I also use this moment as my passive-aggressive reminder to GET A LIBRARY CARD! It will change your life.
Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman ★★★★★
Um, wow. If I was still an English teacher and could force people to read books (or at least Sparknotes them), it would be this one. It has many themes of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, but not faith-based. Burkeman addresses the many pitfalls to our distracted world, and how to pursue purpose and meaning despite our divided attention. (Hint: you can’t do it all, but there is JOY to be found in missing out.) Spoiler: The reality is that we probably aren't going to leave a “lasting impact” on the world with our lives--we are most likely not the next Einstein or Michelangelo. Which means we are free to make the most of our brief lives by simply being present.
The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt ★★★★★
If you think the future of America is bleak, this evidence-based review of our 21st century culture offers perspective and hope. It felt especially pertinent to read during the end of my pregnancy--a reminder that children are not fragile and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
The End of Absence by Michael Harris ★★★★★
Such a relevant read! And a lot of support for my personal campaign to #bringbackboredom. A reflection on our entertainment culture, and thoughts to consider for those of us who will be the last to remember life before the internet. It’s an invitation and reminder that it is okay to just be.
Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl ★★★★
This one didn’t get five-stars from me, however it’s the story of a young woman with facial paralysis. So #relevant. It was both hopeful and frustrating to read her story in search of healing.
“There is so much that a mirror, or a camera, cannot see. Cameras fix a moment in time. I think my friends and my husband can see in my face the memory of my old face, and they give me the benefit of the doubt, filling in some measure of intention, some of the old symmetry. They give it to me for free, because of love.”
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano ★★★★★
The sweetest story of a boy who is the lone survivor of a plane crash. I loved this book. Not sure when I last cried real tears while reading a novel, but this was one of them
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason ★★★★★
Clint feels like he also read this book since I read half of it aloud to him because it is SO FUNNY. My favorite fiction book of 2022. Definitely dark humor, but that’s my favorite.
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel ★★★★★
Apparently corporate scandal is a favorite genre of mine. An Erin Brockovich-esque story about three sisters who take on the injustices done to their town. Inspiring and hilarious.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr ★★★★★
The author of All the Light We Cannot See. Not a page-turner, yet so so beautiful. A novel about the magic and endurance of story. Please read it so I can talk about it with someone.