5M4B disclosure

the invention of wingsI have enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd’s books, so I’m not sure why I didn’t jump at the opportunity to review her book when it came out a year ago. I think I was probably overwhelmed and possibly not interested in the story set on a plantation in the south during slavery, but each time I heard mention of it, I was sorry I hadn’t read it yet.

The Invention of Wings is based on the Grimke family. The novel’s chapters alternate between Sarah Grimke and Hetty “Handful” Grimke. Sarah is given Handful as her own slave when she turns 13. She’s dismayed and tries to refuse, then tries to free her, but neither works. Instead, she tries to do what she can to make her life better. She is kind to her, and they even become friends. Sarah teaches her to read, but when she’s found out, they both get into trouble.

Inevitably they fall away from one another, but the injustice of slavery stays on Sarah’s mind. She ends up leaving Charleston to go up North to help her father heal and doesn’t return to Charleston for many years. She becomes involved in the anti-slavery Quaker church and falls in love before she ends up returning home for a time.

This novel follows many years and is a compelling mix of historical fiction, questions of the morality of slavery, a coming of age story, women’s rights, and more. Kidd got me thinking about the issues without making me feel that I was being manipulated or converted.

Sadly, though the book takes place well over 100 years ago, I realize that we still have far to go to achieve equality between the races and the sexes.

This book lagged and rambled in places, especially towards the end, but it was a great read overall. I’ve passed it on to my teen daughter, and I hope she’ll read it as well.

Thanks to the opportunity of a second chance at reviewing this, it’s one of the 4 Bestsellers I Finally Read in 2014. Check out the 3 others over at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer

Jennifer lives in Houston with her family. In addition to reading, she enjoys travel, Bible study, food, and fun. She blogs about some of these things -- when her nose isn't in a book -- at Snapshot.

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After The Funeral by Agatha Christie

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I even signed up for the book club where I was sent one black hardcover book with gold lettering each month until I owned her entire collection – and I still have them. I read and reread all of them, but it’s been decades since I’d read any Agatha Christie mysteries. When After the Funeral was recently rereleased, of course I jumped on the chance to pick it up and delve into the miraculous workings of Hercule Poiroit’s brain once again. Though After the Funeral is set in the early 20th century, it doesn’t feel so long ago. Because Agatha Christie does such a marvelous job of creating characters who are real and flawed and developing such
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Another Collection of Oxford Children’s Classics

As I type this, it’s late in the evening of December 14th, and my husband and I just said to each other, “We really should start Christmas shopping.” This is par for the course for us. What about you? Do you comfortably do some shopping in the week before Christmas, or do you start in July and finish by November? Regardless of when you begin shopping, books are always great gifts for the people in your life. I personally think all families should have their own copies of the classics, and most do, but often they are old tattered copies from the parents’ childhoods (true confession: our family tends to be like this). Oxford is continuing to republish children’s classics in fun, bright new editions,
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There are a few international women’s fiction writers who have exploded as of late here in the U.S. JoJo Moyes is the prime example, Lisa Jewell is a new favorite of mine and is successfully gaining traction, and now there’s no doubt that Australian Liane Moriarty is in that club as well, perhaps the queen with all the attention this book has gotten this year. Earlier this year, I listened to the newly-published-on-audio Three Wishes. I liked it, and could see that she had that ability to balance plot, told with humor and suspense, with that “something more” bit of social commentary designed to make you think about the issues of our day while also grappling with the idea of right and wrong. Big Little
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The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless

I remember reading the original story about Chris McCandless in the 90s and being haunted by it, by this young man who had gone into the wild and never returned. I knew young men like that, who loved spending time in the wilderness of Alaska and the Pacific NW, intense people who rejected materialism and stayed up late to discuss ideas and literature and how following your dreams was the only way to be true to yourself. Later I read Into the Wild and even watched the movie. Naturally, I was fascinated when Chris’ younger sister, Carine, published a memoir. I wasn’t the only one fascinated by Chris’ story. It got a lot of publicity, and many weighed in with their own opinions. While some
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All the Bright Places

I didn’t really want to read this book, but I was curious. Two teens meet on the ledge of a bell tower and change each other’s lives. It’s being compared to The Fault in Our Stars (as is any emotionally resonant new YA fiction these days), which has been criticized for romanticizing cancer. I don’t agree with that assessment of that title, but I did worry that this novel would somehow romanticize suicidal feelings. But I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did. If I didn’t want to read All the Bright Places, I definitely didn’t want to be enchanted by the sad story, but I was. Violet is a girl dealing with the tragedy of losing her sister in a
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Men, Women & Children {Books on Screen}

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Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly

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David Baldacci on his switch from adult legal thrillers to fantasy for kids #ReadBaldacci

I’d be willing to wager that most of you are familiar with David Baldacci’s work as a best-selling fiction author. Even if you haven’t read one of his legal thrillers, it’s likely that someone in your family has, or you’ve at least seen his books featured in airport bookstores, grocery stores or on the bestseller list. I was thrilled to be able to participate in a group conference call interview with him last week. This year he published two books The Finisher for older middle grade readers and young adults, and The Escape, a John Puller novel. I was curious about the switch, not only in genre but in the target age group. Baldacci spoke passionately about this new direction: I’ve always felt that a
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For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health

You know that image of the blundering, uncomfortable parent trying to have “the talk” with his or her teenager? There are countless reinforcements of that stereotype in our society, especially in pop culture, but I’ve always believed it didn’t have to be that way. From a young age, I opted to use correct terminology when talking with my kids about their body parts. I would joke that we don’t tell our babies that they smell with their “sniffers,” but instead call it a nose, so why would I feel the need to come up with a cutesy name for my son’s penis or my daughter’s vulva? I’ve tried to retain that openness and candor with my kids as they’ve grown, and with my oldest now
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Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller

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Encouraging Reading with Magazine Baskets {On Reading}

My oldest child has been a book lover from early on. As an infant, he would look up as I showed him board book after board book held above us as we lay on the living room floor. Even with his active nature, as a preschooler, he would sit on my lap for picture book read alouds. Now that he’s a teen, he’s still a big reader, but if left to his own devices, I’m fairly certain that he’d read nothing but Marvel comics. If I pick up novels from the teen section at the library, he’ll read them. If I stack newly released YA books on his desk, he’ll grab them eventually. But what I’ve come to really appreciate is the power of a
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