Serenity Recommends

Some things I love…

These things have moved me. Maybe they will move you, as well.

Elizabeth Gilbert TEDThis beautiful TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s all about finding your way home after great triumph or great failure. It’s a wonderful reminder to discover what home means for us and to always, always return to that state of being as fast as our soul can carry us.




This is my sister’s first studio project: Love More Perfect by Charity Long. We received our copy in the mail several days ago, and I have not stopped listening to it since. Only when I’m in the drive-thru ordering food – that’s the only time I turn it off. And then I’m kind of annoyed and can feel the happy being sucked from my vehicle because I’m trying to understand drive-thru talk instead of listening to this beautiful voice. The genre is worship. And it’s so well done. You can also find it on iTunes.



I find Elizabeth Gilbert one of the most beautiful writers of our time. In her travel memoir, EAT, PRAY, LOVE, I found that even when I did not agree with her conclusions, I found myself in the journey that got her there. I felt validated in my own conclusions as well. Elizabeth Gilbert gleans like nobody’s business, and she shares so brilliantly what she has gathered, so that we can be part of it too. She does this so well in COMMITTED: A LOVE STORY, that I recommend it to anyone who even thinks about marriage. It was, in fact, titled in the hardcover version: COMMITTED: A SKEPTIC MAKES PEACE WITH MARRIAGE. I write more about this book here.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows stayed with me for many reasons. It is epistolary, which I have come to love. Letters are such a delightful way to see a story revealed. This story is about lovely people in a horrendous time. Set on an English island during the German occupation of World War II, I remember saying of it when I finished, “I’ll take all my history this way, please.” In the book, the titular society begins to write letters about their experiences to an author looking for a story. They all discover each other, and the story tells itself through them.  It’s just a beautiful work of art, I think, and oh so readable.
book-thief-300-dpiThis is another book that beautifully weaves a small, intimate story into an epoch that shaped the world. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak is narrated by Death, its first bit of artistic brilliance that you can’t imagine working for a person like me and yet it so did. It is the story of a foster child, being housed in Nazi Germany. As the title suggests, she steals books. She also hides a Jew. There are hard things in this book and beautiful things and so much realism and just enough hope. It is shelved in the Young Adult genre. It is a rich, gripping tale, and it is so well told.


NightCircus(Added 5/25/13) I read this a while ago. It’s pure magic. I love this book both because it is loveable, and because the author’s mission statement, so to speak, makes me want to consume all her books with a spoon. “I write.” Erin Morgenstern says on her website. “Fantastical, fairy tale-esque things with magic and mystery and tea.” This book, THE NIGHT CIRCUS, is about a circus that only appears at night. It is also about magic and rivalry and love, and it has delicious, imaginative things and a delicious, imaginative plot. And it is officially on the list of books I highly recommend.


SARAH ADDISON ALLEN: This recommendation really comes from Tiffany, who mailed this book and The Peach Keeper to Tiffany’s sister, who passed them on to me. Opening a book someone has lovingly shared because they enjoyed it so much is pretty much the happiest mail in the world. And opening Sarah Addison Allen’s stories feels exactly like that.  There is an element of magic through the stories. They have southern charm and a variety of characters you will thoroughly love to meet. I’m so glad Tiffany found Allen’s stories. If I haven’t mentioned, I am chin-deep in a search for my own storytelling identity, and Allen’s books were a lovely nudge toward that resolution.


My recommend list on Goodreads…