Isn’t It Romantic?

This month Spotlight on the Stacks will showcase a romantic book & movie pairing each week. We are starting the month strong with Diana Gabaldon’s swashbuckling, time-traveling, genre-bending novel Outlander. After you finish the first book in this beloved series, be sure to check out the hit television show and its beautiful stars. đŸ˜‰

outlander

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

furiouslyhappy

Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. According to Jenny: “Most of my favorite people are dangerously f*cked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”

I loved this book. Just look at the cover. That’s a taxidermied racoon that the author places around her home in funny predicaments and then photographs. And, yes, there are pictures of him in the book. Seriously though, mental illness is so often spoken about in whispered voices that it is refreshing to see an author being so upfront and honest about it. A great read.

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

bravingthewilderness

Social scientist BrenĂ© Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives — experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. Now Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.*

*Description provided by the publisher. I couldn’t phrase it any more thoroughly or succinctly with my own prose. đŸ˜‰

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

forthelove

Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She reveals with humor and style how grace is the key to dealing with life’s biggest challenge: people. The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, go to church with, don’t like, don’t understand, fear, compare ourselves to, and judge. In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

New Year/New You: Inspirational Titles for 2018

textbook

Amy Krouse Rosenthal has cultivated a distinct blend of nonlinear memoir, observational humor, wistful reflections, and interactive connections with readers. A timeless collection of insights, memories, and moments that are at once intimate and universal. Why the title Textbook? Because each piece of prose is organized into classic subjects such as Social Studies, Music, and Language Arts. Because textbook would accurately describe a book with a first-of-its-kind interactive text messaging component. Because textbook is an expression meaning “quintessential”- Oh, that wordplay and unconventional format is so typical of her, so textbook AKR.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Tufts University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked in advertising for several years. She wrote both children’s and adult books. She died of ovarian cancer on March 13, 2017 at the age of 51.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle

New Year/New You: Inspirational Titles for 2018

lovewarrior

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

Glennon Doyle is the founder of Momastery.com and the author of Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.

Seasonal Fare–The Winter Quartet by Elin Hilderbrand

This poignant series follows the Quinn family, owners of the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket. I have looked forward to each new installment of this series for the past four years. Hilderbrand’s books have wonderful descriptions and characters that make you feel as if you are celebrating the holidays on Winter Street in the company of this flawed and loving family. Enjoy!

Seasonal Fare–The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

christmastrain

A short and sweet holiday tale from acclaimed suspense novelist David Baldacci.

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

Seasonal Fare–Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

skippingchristmas

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

Seasonal Fare–The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

gift

This month’s theme is “seasonal fare.” Fun, sweet fiction that centers around the holidays. My first pick is The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. In this modern-day fable, workaholic executive Lou Steffen shows an uncharacteristic burst of generosity towards Gabe, a homeless man who always seems to be in two places at once. With Lou’s personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can Gabe help Lou fix what’s broken before it’s too late?