Friday, October 28, 2016

What's Making Me Happy This Week - 10/28/16

Got this notification from Audible last week - Yep. Sold. Cannot wait.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The State of the Stack - 10/17/16

City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin -

I'm SOOOOO close to finishing the series, and I'm doing that thing I always do with a series I love, which is dragging it out so that I don't have to be done. I WANT to know how it ends, but I don't want it to be over. Weirdo.

(I'm listening to this on audio, and the narrator is fantastic!)

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs -

See above. I just don't want it to be over! I will so miss these characters. I can tell this will be a series I revisit many times in the years to come, because for me this series has been magical.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren -

Reading this aloud with the kiddos, in preparation for a fun surprise this weekend - we're going to see the play! It will be their first time to see live theater, and I can't wait to see how excited they will be.

What's on YOUR nightstand??

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What's Making Me Happy - 10/12/16

You knew this one was coming, right??

My husband and I watched the first episode of Westworld together this past week, and I think it's going to be our new show. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was pretty immediately fascinating. It has the quality that most of my favorite shows (Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Carnivale) have - the sense that what's on the surface is really just for show, and it's the deeper level that is ultimately important. Here's to hoping this one lives up to it's promise!

What's making YOU happy this week?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Thoughts - Adnan's Story by Rabia Chaudry

Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice after Serial by Rabia Chaudry
published 2016
410 pages

Synopsis -

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig's investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story.

My thoughts -

Before I was obsessed with Hamilton, I was obsessed with the podcast trifecta that was Serial, Undisclosed, and Truth and Justice. I listened to all the episodes of each in the span of about 3 months, and feel like I got a cursory legal education in the process. I came away believing in Adnan's innocence, and cheering loudly when he got his new trial early this summer.

I wasn't sure how much new information this book would contain - and if you, like me, listened to all three podcasts, the answer is not much from a case standpoint. The new information in this book comes in the form of Adnan's own words, mixed into each chapter, recalling the events from his perspective, and shedding light on his thought process through this whole journey. 

I don't read enough true crime to know, really, how this stacks up to other books in the genre. I just know that, despite feeling like I already know everything there could possibly be to know about this case, I found the book fascinating. Rabia is a wonderful narrator, and the glimpses she gives her reader about growing up Muslim in America, and her own personal journey, added even more depth to this already enthralling story.

If legal thrillers or true crime are your thing, definitely give this one a shot. A truly insightful and disturbing look into the criminal justice system in our country.

Finished - 9/28/16
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - PG-13 for some graphic depictions of crime scenes
My rating - 4/5

Friday, October 7, 2016

The State of the Stack - 10/7/16

It's the time of year where I start looking for books that are a little darker, a little moodier, a little spookier...

Here are a few I have on my stack - which one would you start with? What else can you recommend??

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What's Making Me Happy This Week - 10/5/16

It's pretty hard for a scripted show to make it into my weekly viewing lineup while it's currently airing - I just in general prefer to wait until the season is over and watch all at once. But this show - honestly, I didn't expect to like it, but I watched the first episode and I was hooked. I'll be watching weekly, and discussing with my friends, and eagerly anticipating each new episode all season long.

This. So wrong, And yet I can't stop smiling.

These two crazies are SIX!!!!

What's making YOU happy this week??

Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Thoughts - Made Well by Jenny Simmons

Made Well: Finding Wholeness in the Everyday Sacred Moments by Jenny Simmons
publishes 10-4-16
208 pages

Synopsis -

From the woman fighting cancer to the man who has lost his child to the girl sinking into depression, so many of us are engaged in daily battles as we long for healing. When he walked the earth, Jesus said to an unwell man, "Do you want to be made well?" His invitation stretched beyond physical healing--he sought to restore the soul. The same invitation stands for us today.

For anyone struggling on the journey toward wholeness, singer/songwriter Jenny Simmons offers a resting place and a friend along the way. With personal insight into emotional pain, she invites readers to encounter a God who is working out their restoration--often in surprising "half-baked" ways. Her humorous and inspirational prose lights a path toward wholeness. Anyone trying to find their way to spiritual, mental, and emotional healing will benefit from Jenny's vulnerable and compassionate stories of being made well in the midst of a messy life.

My thoughts -

"In the beginning, you were made well. Designed with divine imagination, shaped by sacred hands, and crafted by the Curator of creation. You and I were called good. We were already enough."

With this beautiful affirmation, Jenny Simmons invites readers into her theology of being made well. This is a theology of a journey, where health and healing are not synonymous; a theology not of depraved sinners but of beloved children; of a partnership that is equal parts divine grace and human willingness. This is a theology of choice - our choice, every day, to look for the small moments of our lives where we are being made well.

I discovered Jenny Simmons the author last year, when I read her first book, The Road to Becoming, because a friend asked me to. She was my favorite author discovery of the year. When I was given the chance to be on the launch team for this, her second book, I couldn't get in line fast enough. 

Simmons is a beautiful writer - her words have a way of weaving themselves into my heart, tugging out emotions I didn't expect in places I wouldn't have predicted. She is honest and raw, and doesn't hesitate to share the broken places in her own life, which allows her reader to feel the truth of her words. She is tender with pain - she doesn't discount it, but she doesn't wallow either. She holds pain in sacred hands, allowing her reader to experience it, while inviting them to move forward into the healing that awaits. 

"Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone in pain is to sit on the other side of the door and slide our fingers under the threshold so they know they aren't alone."

This book was beautiful and powerful. Once again, Jenny Simmons has written potentially my favorite nonfiction book of the year. Highest of recommendations - don't miss this one!

Finished 9/4/16
Source - ARC from publisher - thank you!
MPAA rating - PG for frank talk about suffering
My rating - 5/5