Reading

The Thing About Jellyfish

I read a fair number of books last month, but like the month before, I read this book early in the month and I was already sure that it was going to be the featured book. I wasn’t wrong.

The Thing About Jellyfish is one of those books that sounds REALLY weird if you were to tell the plot to someone. In fact I did, I told my husband basically the entire story. It sounded absolutely bonkers. Yet, it all seemed to fit together, even if I couldn’t state it that well. He ended up reading it as well.

This book is written for children, or at least middle schoolers, but I really enjoyed it. I’m going to be honest with you, a read a lot of fiction in this area. I read them partially because they have so much substance and so much honesty, but mostly I read them because I know that there won’t be much (if any) swearing, and there won’t be any sex or violence, and if there is anything like that, it will be written in such a way that doesn’t kill me. I’m pretty sensitive to language and such, I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve started, only to stop them because they dropped the F-bomb more than once.

This book is everything that a book should be. It tells a great story. It deals with real issues (How do we deal with death and grief? Is there a right way to move past it? A wrong way to move past it? How do we gain closure in a situation where we cannot speak to the person we need closure with?). It made me want to learn more about the author.

The premise of the book is that Suzy (The main character) has decided to stop speaking after her best friend dies. She decides the reason that her best friend died must have been a Jellyfish that killed her. She then sets out to prove her theory.

I would definitely recommend this book. Whether old or young, I think we can call relate to that awkward middle school time, even if was a long time ago.

Below you’ll find a link if you’d like to check it out!

Note: This is an affiliate link, which means that I receive part of the profits if you decide to buy the book. This doesn’t change the price for you! Thank you for supporting my book addiction 😉

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What is your favorite book that you read in the last month?

Her Ink · Paper and Ink · Reading

Paper Heart Poet

Today is Poem in your Pocket day! I’ve been planning this post for quite awhile, but then kind of forgot about it (I’m definitely human), so this will probably be short and sweet!

I’ve always loved poetry. I’ve never felt like I am very good at writing it, but I’ve always felt compelled to write it. Especially around times of turmoil (so basically my whole life). I’ve always loved that feeling of converting my emotions into words and ink, setting down in words just what my heart is feeling.

I’ve always loved knowing that even if no one else understood, that page understood what I meant. It became a confidant when I couldn’t, or didn’t want, to explain what I was feeling to someone else.

I’ve also always loved finding little things in books. Post its or papers or notes from whoever read it last that they forgot to retrieve. Even though I knew that I would never know who they were, it made me feel kind of connected to someone else who had read and loved the same words that I had.

So, the paper heart poet was born. The idea is to write a poem and leave it in a book for someone else to find. That way, you’re putting more art, more beauty in the world, and maybe connecting to someone else. I also liked that you don’t necessarily have to remain anonymous. You can put your social media handle or the name of your blog or whatever and connect with someone new.

You can really do it however you like, but if you wanted an easy way to do it, here is a printable.  Just print it out, cut out a heart and write your poem on the back and slip it into a book! It could be any book, but I recommend one that you read and loved 🙂

If you don’t feel like the best poet, you can always put a poem (with credit) that you love that someone else wrote on the back!

I hope you have a poem filled day!

Paper Heart Poet Template 1

 

Are you carrying a poem in your pocket today? What book would YOU leave a poem in?

Reading

Book Spotlight | A Ring of Endless Light

To say that this book has been influential for me would be a vast understatement. Last week I posted about the Author, but this book is one of the main reasons that I decided to become a writer. Partially because I related to Vicky and partially because I love how L’Engle wrote the book.

If you don’t know anything about the book, it’s about a fifteen year old named Vicky Austin. She and her family have gone to an island for the summer while they deal with the dying of her grandfather. She goes through the summer writing and meeting wild dolphins and trying to come to grips with the fact that her grandfather isn’t going to be around anymore.

The book is part of a series based around the Austin family. I found this book not knowing that it was part of a series. (Happens to me all the time…) But, I think it works pretty well as a stand alone book.

The title comes from this poem that she quotes in the book.

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
And all her train were hurl’d.
-Henry Vaughan
I love how the book weaves together poetry and prose. It does so in a realistic way. Her grandfather loves books and shares poems to help her figure out her place in the world, then she as a poet writes poems to help her work through the emotions that she’s facing. The prose itself is pretty poetic.
I even love the way that the book doesn’t quite resolve. There’s a dissonance that seems genuine. In real life, even when we get our happy ending, things don’t get all tied neatly together. No matter how much we want them to.
I found the book when I was 14, but it’s still a book that I come back to at least once a year. I checked it out from the library more times than I’ve checked out any other book. I kept hoping that if I checked it out enough times then they would just give me the book (why don’t libraries work like that?). Then I would check their used books to see if they would retire it so I could buy it. I didn’t own my own copy until a few years ago when my little sister bought it for me for my birthday. (Best Present EVER). I don’t know why I didn’t just buy it…
I recommend you just buy it if you like it.
 A Ring of Endless Light: The Austin Family Chronicles, Book 4  (This is an affiliate link. Which means that if you buy the book through this link, I will receive compensation. This doesn’t change the price for you!)
It’s worth it, rather than just checking out over and over again. But, if you prefer to check it out, and you live in Salt Lake Area, I’ve linked it here.
What’s your favorite book? How did you find it? I’d love to hear about it!
Her Ink · Reading

Madeleine L’Engle’s Secret to Success

Author Spotlight Madeleine L'Engle
I first read something by Madeleine when I was 14. It was an interesting time in my life, my parents had just let me know that they were getting a divorce. I feel like the books you read when you’re going through a hard time stick with you more than the books you read at other times in your life. Which is maybe why books you read as a child and especially in middle school stick with you forever (Because, let’s be real, those are TOUGH times).
The first book that I read by her was A Ring of Endless Light. I loved this book because it dealt with grief and first loves and dolphins and poetry. It was everything that I needed at the time. It’s still a book that I turn to every year or so. It reminds me of who I am and who I want to be. It combined my love of writing and science.
I loved this book so much that I read everything by her that I could get my hands on. I read all of the Austin Family Chronicles and all of the Wrinkle in Time series.
I looked her up on Goodreads and found out that she actually wrote a ton of books that I haven’t read yet (my to-read list just got longer…). If you want to see the full list, click here.
Reading an interview with her is one of the reasons that I decided to try writing by hand. In the interview she said that she wrote her books by hand and typed them up on a typewriter later. It also made me want to buy a typewriter. Probably I would never use it. Probably it would be a fun paperweight, but I admire her so much that it made it feel like that’s the best way to write a good book.
There’s simply something different about the books that are written by hand. There seems to be a thoughtfulness that often falls to the way side when they’re written on a computer. I wasn’t all that surprised when I found another author whose work I loved also wrote her books by hand.
Her writing is beautiful and deep. It makes me want to be a better writer. When I feel like I’m in a writing lull where I don’t really feel like writing, reading her writing makes me want to write. Especially poetry. Its the kind of work that makes me want to follow my dreams.  She’s the first writer that really made me feel like I could be a writer if I wanted to, though she certainly wasn’t the last.
Who’s your favorite author? How did you discover them?
Also, if you want to read more about the benefits of writing by hand, here are some resources:
Faith · Reading

The Most Influential Book

 The Most Influential Book-2
There are a lot of books that I would count as influential in my life. These books are the ones that I have read over and over again and think about all the time. Books that have changed my life and the way that I live it, but this book, is by far the most influential book that I have ever read.
Yes, in my religion, this book is important, but that’s not why I read it. I read it because it makes me a better person. I know that it helps me to grow closer not just to my God, or my family, but the kind of person that I have always wanted to be.
I’m flawed, but this book helps me change that.
I read this book for the first time when I was 15. The Prophet of our church issued a challenge for each of us to read the whole Book of Mormon by the end of the year in August 2005.
My First Book of Mormon
I had never read it all the way through before, at least not on my own. I read the book because I was competitive. I wanted to be the first one to finish it out of the  youth in my ward (local group, like a Parish), and I did. It started me on a path to reading this book over and over again. I honestly can’t say how many times I’ve read it now, or the number of copies that I own, but I can tell you that I read it all the way through at least once a year.
I don’t always love reading it. There are days where it’s a struggle for me to sit down and take the time to really study it, but even with all of that, I still find new things. I still learn more each time I read. It’s like no other book that I have read.
This book was published for the first time on March 26, 1830. Since then it has travelled all around the world in the hands of immigrants and missionaries. It’s validity has been questioned more times than anyone could count. I have had to fight for my own faith in it when my family was divided.
It would be a mistake to try and edit this part of my life out, or to try and argue that other books are better or more important to me. What I have learned in this book has shaped my whole life and the way that I see the world. It influences everything from what I say, to what I read, to what I write. I would be a different person without this book. It has taught me that love and family are more important than anything else in this world. It has taught me that choosing love is the basic fabric of the gospel and it should be the basic fabric of my life.
It helps me to be a better wife, a better daughter, a better human being. I’m so grateful for this book and for the life it has helped me to create. It gives me hope when things seem to be falling apart in my personal life, as well as the world at large. It helps me not to feel alone, which is something I think we all struggle with.
Of all the hundreds of books I’ve read in my life, and all the friends I have found in their pages, this book has been my best friend, and I intend to continue reading it until the day I die.
What book has most influenced your life?
Reading

Book of the Month | Daring Greatly

book-of-the-month-daring-greatly

As this is the first post in this series, I thought I should explain a bit. Each month I’ll feature my favorite book that I read from the month before. More than a review, I want to show how these books affected me and my life.

I read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown last month. Originally I put this book on hold on a whim. I needed something new to read and the cover caught my eye. Since then I feel like I’ve heard her name everywhere. It made me even more excited to read the book (which I waited more than a month for).

I am normally an entertainment/escapist reader. I have a hard time convincing myself to read things solely because “they’re good for me”. Reading books like that is like motivating myself to exercise when there is no game involved (shout out for ZUMBA), or eating “healthy food”. I tend to start the “vegetable” books, but ultimately let them rot in favor of the “ice cream” books.

That was not the case with this book.

To be fair, I may never have read this book at all if I hadn’t heard twenty minutes of The Gifts of Imperfection (also by Brené Brown) over Christmas Break while we were driving back from New Orleans with my husband’s parents. So much of what I heard resonated with me…minus the cursing (I have a deep and abiding hate of swear words).

When the hold finally came through I was so excited and started reading it… then let it sit for a few days. When I picked it up again, I had run out of Ice Cream books.

When I finally gave it a chance, it pulled me and held tight.

She talks about how we learn to armor ourselves against vulnerability from a young age, and how ultimately that armor hides who we really are from everyone, including ourselves.

I especially connected with what she said about perfectionism.

‘Most perfectionists grew up praised for achievement and performance [*raises hand*]. Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.” [*raises both hands*].’

Being married has forced me to face all of my masks and all of my walls and commit to taking a hammer to them. It has forced me to remember.

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence.”

When I was first married I focused on making myself smaller, into what I believed the perfect wife should be: Beautiful, kind, always does the laundry, has a hot and delicious meal ready for my husband when he gets home…

After being married for a few months and having a few fights, I made a mental list designed to get myself to shut up. To keep myself from being vulnerable and getting hurt.

  1. Shut up.
  2. You are probably wrong anyways.
  3. Nobody wants to hear it.

Let me be clear, I made this list. Not my husband or what he said. Me.

I remember Brian telling me once that I always chased him to the edge of the bed in my sleep. A flaw in my mind. So every night I would fall asleep mentally telling myself over and over to stay on my side of the bed.

I felt like I could never tell anyone if I was having a hard time being married. I’d transferred my perfectionism to our marriage. People would think we weren’t happy, and we were. People would think our marriage wasn’t amazing and loving if they knew that I struggled.

But this book helped me to embrace the imperfections. To lean into the discomfort of vulnerability.

I am not perfect.

No matter how much I wish it. I am an imperfect human being.

I still chase Brian to the edge of the bed. I definitely don’t have dinner on the table even half of the weeknights.

However, I can still strive for excellence.

So can you.

What are you reading? How has it changed you? If you’ve read this book, how has it affected your life?

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