In the last month, I’ve read or listened to the following:

Big Magic: This Elizabeth Gilbert memoir on creativity was very entertaining. I listened to this while sewing Christmas presents and can’t tell you how many times I had to stop to find a piece of paper to jot down something she’d just said. I am a big Gilbert fan, so it isn’t surprising I found this charming. Perhaps the most important notion I took away from this is never ask your art to take care of you. As a creative person, you are given a gift by being handed the desire to make. If it happens to come about that your work can eventually take care of you financially, lucky you. But your job is to nurture the process and result and treat it like a dear lover.

I really dig this. Four out of five bananas, absoloodle.

The Thornbirds: I read this epic because my best friend Meghann was named after one of the characters. I’d had this giant dusty book on my shelf for years. It was a delight to read it. I got sucked into the family drama nearly immediately and spent most of my Christmas break with my nose in this one. It is a good story and was satisfying like a piece of warm cheese pizza. Not fancy, but just what you may be craving. 2.5 bananas.

Wool: Okay, this book shook me up. I received Wool as a Christmas gift with a note from a girlfriend who is a bookworm. It was her favorite read of 2015. That got my attention because Rachele reads a ton. So, I dug in, not knowing what to expect. I was taken to a post-apocalyptic America, where a community of people are living in a silo. I’m not a big science fiction reader, but this story is excellent and grabbed me from the beginning. Come to find out, Hugh Howley the author started this as a blog-based story. He’d publish and take votes and suggestions from readers. He then self-published and eventually it got picked up by a big publisher. It is now the first book of a trilogy! I am going to get to the other two this year.

Loved this story and have already sent it twice to others as gifts. 4.5 bananas.

A Good Year: Quick, romantic read about a man who inherits a vineyard in France. It is fluff reading, but what I needed. I enjoyed this.

2.5 bananas.

The Sound of Gravel is a memoir of a woman who escaped a fundamentalist polygamist community in northern Mexico. She was one of a handful of children; her father had something like 39 kids. It is an alarming story considering these communities continue to thrive in Arizona and elsewhere. Ruth’s powerful story of survival and courage is one that will stick with you.

4 bananas.

Not a Fan: I read this book as part of a study at my church. The author, Kyle Idleman, came to speak last Sunday after we’d spent four weeks studying his work. He is an excellent speaker and the book did make me question how I am living my life, and how I can be closer to God.

3.5 bananas.

I’m currently listening to The Goldfinch.