Goodreads | I Am Malala

I am Malala_Goodreads_0001 I've been doing a lot of reading since the beginning of the year, and am currently on books #7 and 8 of my 25 in 12 challenge! Speaking of reading two books at once … it's not something I normally do but I find that when I'm reading a business book, I want to curl up with something a little lighter before bed. How about you guys? Do you read multiple books at a time? I'm learning to set aside my Type A ways and be open to change. ;)

Here's my take on the books I've read since the beginning of the year:

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott I can't believe this was my first Anne Lamott book, with how much my family and friends rave about her work. Lamott is just as witty, yet thought-provoking, as everyone says she is. She's a smart writer, and this is a good intro book into her faith and how prayer plays a part in our everyday lives. (****)

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai I loved this book in a painful kind of way. Having not read much about Pakistan, and especially not by a Pakistani, Malala opened my eyes to another side of the conflict in that part of the Middle East. The short of it: At 15 years old and on her way home from school, Malala is shot in the head by a Taliban member. She survives (!) and dedicates her life to fighting for women's right to education. (*****)

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe A touching memoir about a son's (Schwalbe) relationship with his dying mother. Schwalbe's mother was so inspiring and made me want to get out there and do something amazing with my life. (****)

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche I listend to this on my way to Chicago to meet three of my best friends from college. It really hit home at the perfect time as I was greeting and then saying goodbye to three dear friends who live across the country. Having moved multiple times in the last 10 or so years, I really identified with Bertsche, who found herself living in Chicago with no girlfriends and no prospect to meet any new ones. I loooove my friends and having close girlfriends is really important to me, so this book was fascinating and really made me think about friend-making post-college. (****)

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafek OK. I liked this book until the ending. I won't tell you what happens, but for me it was just way too unrealistic and, quite frankly, really annoying. Besides the ending, I enjoyed the story that switched between an unhappy housewife in present-day America and various narrators in 13th-century Turkey, including the poet Rumi and his companion, Shams. This book is all about love (and spirituality) and what people go through to find it. (***)

And just to keep me accountable, here's my progress on my 25 in 12. If you have any recommendations, send 'em my way! :)

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott
  3. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  4. Film is Not Dead by Jonathan Canlas (in progress)
  5. Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen (in progress)
  6. Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
  7. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
  8. Emma by Jane Austen
  9. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  10. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
  11. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  12. Boundaries by Henry Cloud
  13. The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
  14. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
  15. Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
  16. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
  17. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  18. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  19. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  20. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  21. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

101 in 1001: #57 Go on a Girls Trip.

This past weekend my college BFFs and I traveled to Chicago to have a girls weekend in honor of our dear Susan who is getting married in one month! :D Four out of the five of us were there (Lindsey's in Scotland with a new baby girl!), and it was SO good to see them and chat about everything and nothing all weekend. Chicago Girls Weekend

Two of the most important things we realized over the course of the weekend were a) we look a lot older now than we did in college (what's up with that?!) and b) we did some pretty weird things in college. I think we've always known the latter (I won't even begin to get into our inside jokes), but every time we're together we laugh so hard we cry over the random memories: the videos we made, the experiences we had that no one else would find funny and the things we did while cramming five of us into a 3-ish bedroom apartment.

Chicago Girls Weekend

Because we missed Lindsey and we can't ever leave anyone out, we obviously made a paper-plate-on-a-stick version of her to tote around the city. I really wish I was kidding. Actually, no, I don't. Because this is just another normal day for us and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Chicago Girls Weekend

Leah, the resident Chicagoan, lined up some pretty awesome stuff for us to do: a delicious brunch, manicures, aromatherapy making (see below) and more.

Chicago Girls Weekend

On the way home to CLE, I listened to an audiobook I've been wanting to read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend. It was the perfect read (or listen!) after a weekend with my own best friends. I realized, while listening to Bertsche talk about the different stages of friendship, that I am extraordinarily lucky to have many lifelong friends that know me inside and out. And these four girls, who I met freshman year of college in good old Morris Hall, will always be lifers.