From My Bookshelf
My guilty pleasure, I confess, is reading. The time was when I would finish a book every two or three days. My to-be-read pile could easily occupy a single shelf in those days. Being an author has not changed my insatiable appetite for fabulous books, but it has caused a dilemma – now I have to carefully choose which books with which to spend those few coveted hours.
At the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend in January (which I wrote about here), I was privileged to meet a lot of authors – I’m working my way through their books. Today I want to share three of them with you. Three very different books, but some striking similarities as well. I was intrigued, entertained, and transported with each of them.
This is the book I wish I could have written. From the first line, I was mesmerized with Julie’s storytelling and the life of poverty and abuse of young Millie whose greatest desire was to escape into the free. When the gypsies arrived in Millie’s Mississippi town on their annual pilgrimage, Millie is drawn to them, their songs, the sense of unity they have. But what they bring is not escape for Millie, but something more – the key to understanding her past and relying on faith to set her free. Beautiful, emotional roller coaster of a ride by an amazing author.
Good news for Julie’s fans: The sequel to Millie’s story is coming in September. You can see the cover to When Mountains Move here.
I met Missy Buchanan a few years ago and have been following the story behind this book for a while. The memoir of Lucimarian Roberts is a short book with heart-warming chapters on faith, community, family, overcoming difficult circumstances, and believing that all things are possible. Lucimarian’s daughter is Robin Roberts of Good Morning America who offers reflections at the end of each chapter about things she loves about her mother or things her mother taught her. It’s a delightful book, and as you might imagine from the title, music was central to Lucimarian’s life . Stanzas and choruses of her favorite hymns are sprinkled in the pages. I found myself singing along quite often as they’re the songs of my spiritual journey too.
Missy was an absolutely perfect choice to write this lovely memoir.
Michel is a new friend and author to me. One of the first things I learned about her was that she had an iPhone case with the cover of her book on the back. Isn’t that the coolest? This gifted author has penned an intriguing story. Michel brings to life the unsavory, inescapable poverty of Mexico and the grisly journey of a young husband who employs a coyote to take him to America so he can make a better life for his beloved wife and daughter. While immigration (and undocumented workers) in America is a political hotbed, Michel doesn’t venture there, but tells simply the story of a devoted, but desperate family. It will challenge you to think in new ways and to be grateful for the privilege of being an American.
Great, great books! As I said, these three are at extremes in their differences, but as I thought about what I wanted to share with you, I knew there were two distinct themes that also unite this trio of books.
In all of them, poverty and circumstances beyond their control shape the lives of these characters, making them stronger as they become more resourceful and learn who they can trust and depend on. Strength of character is built through adversity and the mistakes we as humans make every day. None of us is immune to difficulties in our life. In these books, you know you’re not alone.
The other unifying thread in the books is hope – hope for escape, for a better life, for grace to make it through a single day, and hope for eternity. Pick up any one of them and that’s what you’ll find: Hope, glorious hope, without which we would all be doomed.
Thank goodness we have authors who can show us the way.
Out of curiosity – what is YOUR guilty pleasure?