When we moved to Illinois, I rediscovered the joy of the public library. I’ve devoured books ever since I got my new library card.
I set a goal to read 13 books this year, one more book than I got through last year. But thanks to the deadline-driven nature of a library book, I surpassed that goal. Now I’m just excited to see how many books I do read this year.
Here are my thoughts on three recent reads: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, Talking to Animals by Jon Katz, and Rising Strong by Brené Brown.
“Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck
This book had been on my to-read list for a few years thanks to Beth from 3Up Adventures. I checked it out from my local library to read over the course of a weekend camping trip, and the book was the perfect length for it.
Travels with Charley chronicles Steinbeck’s cross-country road trip with his dog, Charley, in 1960. Along the way, he discovers the places and the people who make our country what it is.
What struck me most was Steinbeck’s experience of the United States in the midst of Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights Movement. Reading the book now, in 2017, was quite poignant … enough said.
“Talking to Animals: How You Can Understand Animals and They Can Understand You” by Jon Katz
I made this another camping trip read. I had never read any of Jon Katz’s books, and the title of this one caught my eye. The title was deceiving.
I completely believe in the ability to communicate with animals and the power of that communication to transform our relationships with the animals in our lives. I enjoyed Katz’s stories about each animal and the impact they had on his life.
The book was redundant, though. Each chapter could have been shorter — each one repeated the same content to the point where I thought, “Ok, I got it the first two times you wrote this same sentence.”
And not that I thought it was a “how-to” manual, but I did think it would leave the reader with something tangible to bring to their own relationships with animals. It really didn’t.
“Rising Strong” by Brené Brown
To say that I read this book at the exact right time for me is an understatement. I picked up Rising Strong along with Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness. I read them both in rapid succession and they blew my mind.
We all fall down and we all make mistakes. But when we face the hurt and get honest about the stories we tell ourselves about our struggles, we can transform our lives. I feel like I need to read this book again … and again … to absorb the power in its message.