Summer Book Review
Written by: Bradley Jean
Who’s up for a good Summer read? Even if you’re not a reader year round, I feel like Summer is the season to jump on the book train.
The first choice has been a #1 New York Times bestseller for weeks and it is amazing!! I would love to meet this beautiful author, pretty sure I’m adding her to my personal bucket list.
If you have never read To Kill a Mockingbird, or maybe it’s been a long time, I highly encourage you to pick it up this Summer. The most beautiful writing of southern culture and history. The ideas of this past are still present today.
Lastly, the Enneagram. This has been on trend for a few years and is growing wildly. I return to this book weekly. It’s a true discovery of self and even more valuable, it leads to compassion for everyone around you.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I am completely mesmerized by the beauty and talent in this perfectly Southern novel. I have honestly never read a book this captivating. This is the book you will start on a Monday morning and finish on Wednesday night at 11:30 pm because you cannot put it down.
Author Delia Owens tells the story of a child, Kya, abandoned by her mother in 1952. Her brother, and soon father, leave her too. Kya is left to be raised by the marsh of the North Carolina sea. Kya cooks what little she can, the way Ma’ taught her. She gathers mussels from the shore and boats them to Jumper’s, a local gas shack on the sea, to make enough change to buy grits. She visits the local school just one day, with bare feet and wearing the only thin dress she has. The children insult her and hurt her feelings. Kya leaves and never returns. She trusts only herself and the marsh around her.
Until one day, 10-year-old Kya meets Tate Walker. With tan, salty skin and blond curls sticking from under his cap, Tate acknowledges Kya and smiles. One fateful time, Kya has lost her way by boat in the sea. Tate, fishing near by, knows the way back to her lonely shack. He escorts her home, her heart pounding. Could this be someone that could become her friend? And how did he know where she lived?
As Kya grows, another wealthy young man in town has always been curious of ‘swamp girl’. She brushed shoulders with him as a child, but now at 18, while hiding in the brush, their eyes meet on the North Carolina shore.
The story continues with mystery, sadness, love, heart ache, passion and adventure. A sudden murder in the tiny, cape town takes the folks by surprise. Was it actually a murder, or an accident waiting to happen? And who are the towns people pointing fingers at?
My favorite pieces of this book are the literature and details around the beautiful marsh lands where Kya lives. Delia Owens paints the lovliest descriptions of birds, grasslands, seas and shore in her debut Novel. It brought me back to a beautiful place in my childhood, on a lake in Florida covered in moss trees, lily pads and blue herons.
The descriptions of nature, mixed in with excellent literature and story lines, make this novel a new classic for any reader. Where the Crawdads Sing will fill your soul with mystery and wonder from the very first page, to the last.
To Kill a Mockinbird, by Harper Lee
I read this for the first time as an adult just this spring, and it was better than I ever imagined. A wanted to learn all I could from Atticus Finch, and Jem and Scout would have made the perfect playmates for my own children. First published in 1960, the teachings and stories of Harper Lee are just as important today as they were almost 60 years ago.
I chose to read this book aloud with my 12-year-old son Braxton. This is something we have enjoyed for years and I figured we could both learn a great deal from Harper Lee together. We certainly did.
From the beginning, we both loved Jem and Scout. We wanted to read stories of their antics and adventures for days. Their Southern talk and ability to imagine and live wildly reminded me so much of our family. Scout, with her honesty and girlie-grit and Jem, growing into a young man and learning the ways of the world. Let’s not forget their Summer playmate, Dill. He is the funniest kid and adds so much character into their story.
I knew from the begging, To Kill a Mockingbird would open conversations about racism and prejudice. I embraced this opportunity and was allowed beautiful time to teach my son about its reality and existence. Atticus Finch said it best with his own words, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it…”
The trial of Tom Robinson was intense and painful. We hung on every word and stayed up late together reading, just to get to the verdict, “guilty.” I was shocked and I cried. I actually had to put the book down and pick it up and read it again. Braxton was surprised as well. “How could that happen?” he asked. Thus, continued precious words between me and my son. A time together I will never forget.
We Southerners are known well for storytelling, and I’m personally thanking Harper Lee for her gift to us all. Her whit and simple joy in the children mixed with a wise and honorable father make us all want to jump in the pages and experience life with them. And let’s not forget Boo Radley, the strange neighbor. Is he seeking a friend in Jem and Scout? Has he possibly always been there, looking after them?
Since reading this book, I have been surprised at the numbers of people who have yet to read this award-winning classic. You hear of its greatness, but one can never truly understand it until you pick it up and begin.
Take the time this Summer to read it for the first time or read it aloud with your older children. You will be taken back to a sweet, Southern time, filled with laughter, hardship and best of all family.
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery
by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
I first began my Enneagram journey over a year ago. Prompted by friends, I was hesitant to begin, but afterwards, wished I had picked it up a long time ago. The Enneagram is a mystery but one of the most life changing books you’ll ever read.
So, what is the Enneagram? Author Ian Cron says, “The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system. It helps people understand who they are and what makes them tick.”
In my words, it’s a tool to find the deepest parts of ourselves. Who were we born as? What in our childhood shaped us into adults? It reveals our trueness and helps us to find the trueness in others. The Enneagram is a spiritual roadmap back to ourselves, for when we know who we are, God can be more clearly revealed through us.
There are nine types of people in the Enneagram. When I first discovered my ‘type’ I literally felt my stomach turn. I thought to myself, “How did this book know so much about me?” It stated things very clearly I had always known of myself, but had never talked about or mentioned to a soul. It was bizarre and awakening. I thought, “This is me!” It shared every positive feature of myself as well as any and all difficulties and tragedies. The wording is very simple and positive, stating either we are ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, never referring to a trait as being ‘bad’. We are absolutely all “wonderfully made’, and the Enneagram clearly helps us to see that.
Here are the 9 Enneagram Types:
This book is a quick and fun read and will awaken you to how marvelous God created you. We are all wired differently, and so we all work, behave and move about our life differently. The Enneagram is a reminder that difference is necessary. We all bring something beautiful and marvelous to the table, but it’s not all the same. Our strengths evoke life and joy with in us and our weaknesses can separate us from the good we have to offer. The Enneagram defines them all, so that we can see ourselves more clearly.
After spending months learning about myself, I began using the Enneagram to better relate to my husband. I have always wondered how 2 people so very different can fall into place and appear so united. It’s kind of like I’m an American hanging out every day with a man from Ireland. He has his wild Irish ways and I’m in left field, totally confused.
The Enneagram had my answer. Isaac is intense, loud and bold, to say the least. I am more calm, rational and meek. When he and I join all our positive forces, we are unstoppable. We are focused and all the goodness we have inside is seen for miles. However, when we stumble, the Enneagram shows us how to return to our greatness. The Enneagram trains our hearts and minds to see others through new goggles. Goggles that reveal the best in all of us.
I encourage you to take your own Enneagram journey. A journey of You! A journey of self and all the amazing things God equipped you for in this life. He made us each unique for a reason, now grab this Enneagram book and find it!
Also recommended reading: The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz
Book Review also Published in East Alabama Living Magazine