Sunday, October 11, 2009

books make me cry

[Spoiler alert: I give away some details of these books, but I'm just trying to entice you to try them! :)]

These are the two most recent novels I've read. Both made me cry. Both impressed me. One I bought from the Christian section of Barnes and Noble, one I bought from the fiction section of Recycled Books in Denton, which is seriously the coolest used books store ever - it's like a wonderful, dusty maze! (Garret was there with me that time, and he tried to play hide-and-go-seek with me, but I found him ridiculously quickly - our minds are starting to work really similarly, it's weird.)

House Lights by Leah Hager Cohen

When I first started this book, the prose was like WOAH. Like, stop you in your tracks, woah. Like, I haven't read a really quality novel just for fun in a stinkin' long time! The words were too much! They made me stop, read them over and over again, encircle them with pencil, and then ask myself WHY are they so affecting? And how can I learn to write like that one day!? In the first few chapters, I had to look up a few words in the dictionary, and that was so fun! (And yes, this made me realize that I should probably pick up more intellectual books more often. maybe. how 'bout once a year?)

The basic premise of the book is that 18-year-old Bea learns that she no longer want her psychiatrist parents' seemingly controlled, porcelain world - just as it simultaneously crumbles - and she instead ventures out into the world of her Grandmother, a renowned actress.

I really really enjoyed most of the book, but at certain points did not appreciate some of the choices the main character made. I know that doesn't make it bad, it just... yeah, just read it. And there are some mildly shady parts. Needless to say, I think it's bound to make you think.

I wanted to find an excerpt, but it's hard to find one that does it justice, without giving anything away... so here's two....

"My dream is to act, I had written, and I believed I meant acting as in theater. The words sound different to me now, as I look back at who I was then, fast approaching my twentieth birthday, still living at home, playing the same role I had performed all my life, and all the while so critically unable to act." (p. 78)
"The next morning my dismay grew. It was June 21st, my birthday, and although I had looked forward to this day, to all the promise contained in the notion of officially entering my twenties, becoming an adult, I awoke out of sorts, not for any reason I could put my finger on, but as if in premonition of a sinking heart. The air hung muggy and dirtyish, like rinse water for paintbrushes." (p.103)

The Moment Between
by Nicole Baart
Depth. This novel had depth - emotional depth, spiritual depth, literary depth.

One thing that really drew me in about it was that although it was a Christian novel, it was very very genuine - not that all Christian books are fake, but they do sometimes do edge on overly-processed corn. But here, Christian themes of grace and redemption were not forced, but naturally and powerfully built-up to.

For most of the book, in the back of my mind I was like "okay... when is the Jesus going to come in?" It was worth the wait: I read the last fourth of this novel in my pinkandgreen bed, in the earlyearly a.m., covered in tears, and not giving a lick that I had to go to work in hours.

(I had bought it in the first place for 3 reasons: the pretty cover design, and the recommendation of it by Francine Rivers on the cover, and the theme of sisters. So, I was thankful that, just as I'd hoped, the book had so much more to offer than just a persuasive cover!)

I don't know if I can give a plot summary for this one without giving it away. Maybe just read the back cover on Amazon. Yes, I'm lazy :)

To summarize, here are some more things I enjoyed about this book: showing the complexities and layers of relationships b/w sisters, the character Eli and his name (my affinity for that name also comes from here), the word pictures abounding in a vineyard, and the messy-ness of learning to hope and believe.

Okay... excerpt, excerpt, find an excerpt...

I loved this part a whole lot. Yes, it's where the Jesus part starts to come in. Eli is talking about taking communion outside of a church service:
"Whatever. I do this for those times in between, those long stretches of waiting when i start to forget about the miracle. The mystery. The power of God for those who believe." The corner of Eli's mouth was still upturned mischievously, but his voice was tinged with awe. "It's a mighty thing, girl." (p. 313)


"She didn't know if she deserved it, if she had the right to sit at this table to eat and drink, to partake of something that she felt she had no part in. But for this one moment in time, with the candle glowing and the bread and wine before her, inside of her, it didn't matter. She was drowning, but she didn't struggle for air; she opened her mouth and took it in. It washed over her, in her. She felt it fold against every hidden place, every secreted thought and hope. It felt absolute, unconditional.
It felt like home." (p. 320)

Okay, sorry this was a little lengthy. I have a passion for stories and books that are powerful and meaningful and purposeful. And... writing the teasers on the back of said books is definitely on my list of dream jobs...


  1. bonus points for a lengthy post!


  2. and... i've been to that bookstore in denton and it is really neat!

  3. i am from denton and i used to wander around that store a lot. it really is the best used bookstore ever!