Thinking of Paris

I never really know how to address world events on this blog – a place where I regularly fangirl about boy bands and YA novels.  I do occasionally take a more serious tone, but rarely do I comment on current tragedies.  This is only exacerbated by the fact that I’ve never been to Paris, I don’t know anyone in Paris, and I have no direct connection to what they’re going through.

But then I think: that’s exactly what makes my participation so meaningful.  When people who have no emotional connection to tragedy decide to empathize anyway – that’s beautiful.

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I love living in a global community, where the pain of one country is felt by all.  I hope that, in the midst of their heartache, Parisians will know that the rest of the world is hurting with them, and that maybe that will give them a taste of hope.

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I am so impressed by the courage of Parisians who will continue to live their lives, going to work and playing with their children and walking the streets.  “Not Afraid.”  That’s a bold declaration that terror will not win.  Life goes on, and we demand that it will go on.

Maybe I do have a personal stake here.  Because I’ve already read a post on Facebook saying that terror attacks will only continue in Europe because of ISIS members sneaking in amongst refugees.  And sure, maybe that’s true.  But I like to think the answer to that can also be, “Not afraid.”  We will not let terror win.  We will not let the fear of violence stop us from helping those in need.

Terror attacks are designed to make us huddle into ourselves, to strengthen us vs. them lines, and to close off compassion.  Perhaps instead, we can bravely choose to do the opposite, to widen our arms’ embrace and reach out.  We are not afraid…to live, or to love.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

1 John 4:18

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

By the time books arrive at my library after months of sitting in my request queue, I usually forget how I heard of it in the first place.  Such was the case with Unbecoming, and the cover didn’t grab my attention.  I very nearly decided to return it unread, but I decided to give the first page a cursory look.  The very first sentence grabbed my attention, and by the end of the first chapter, I knew I was going to read the whole thing.

The first lie Grace had told Hanna was her name.

Unbecoming is an excellent example of one of my favorite tropes:  the unreliable narrator.  Grace shares what she wants to share, and as the reader, I had no idea how much of the information presented was truth, fibs, omissions, or outright lies.  I loved it!  The suspense was heightened even more by alternating sections that described her present life in Paris or her past in Tennessee.  Halfway through the book, I was dying to know what had happened in the past as well as what would happen to her in the future.  The double mystery made the book twice as interesting.

I don’t want to say too much, because I want people to experience the book as I did:  totally unprepared.  The characters are rich, the themes fascinating, and the plot fantastic.  What more do you need?  Read it now!  (Or click through to read the book jacket, which does do a great job of setting up the story.) Continue reading