Less Slogs, More Delight

What are we reading in 2023? It’s tempting to me to consider a self-growth book for review and recommendation on the cusp of a new year for the stalwart resolution holders out there. It’s me! Hi! I’m one of them. I relish the wide-open opportunistic feeling of a new year, but if I’m being transparent...it took me exactly 12 months to slog through Think Again by Adam Grant. It felt like many of the books I chose in 2022 (weird to write past tense) were a slog. Good enough to finish, but difficult to remember. We’ve talked about this. I flushed my system with memoirs and hoped for the best. That flush ushered in a slew of books that entertained and stuck around long after THE END.

Let’s ring in the new year with an agreeable choice for all. I found In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner to be a true delight. In the Wild Light is about a young man from Sawyer, Tennessee, in his teens grappling to keep all the plates spinning as a good student, loyal friend, and grateful grandson. Meanwhile, his closest confidant and best friend have been offered a full scholarship and life-changing opportunity to further her education in a prestigious boarding school. The caveat is that her best friend is afforded the opportunity, as well. The decision weighs heavily on Cash as his grandfather, who is his stability and biggest supporter, is nearing the end of his life with emphysema. It’s a chance to get away from the drug addiction that took his mother’s life and hangs over the town like a dark rain cloud ready to wash them all away. The decision does not come lightly, as it’s fraught with threads of insecurity and certain final goodbyes.

The author’s way with words is simply magic...

“It's one of those tranquil days when the river reflects the brisk blue of the December sky and the pale winter sun, and the wind ripples the face of the water like brushstrokes on a painting. You look at it all, and you hope maybe there'll come a day when no trouble seems very important anymore, and this is all you see when your mind goes still.”― Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light

He draws you in with deep emotion...

“You’ll never regret a decision more than the one you make out of fear. Fear tells you to make your life small. Fear tells you to think small. Fear tells you to be small-hearted. Fear seeks to preserve itself, and the bigger you let your life and perspective and heart get, the less air you give fear to survive.”― Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light

“You are not a creature of grief. You are not a congregation of wounds. You are not the sum of your losses. Your skin is not your scars. Your life is yours, and it can be new and wondrous. Remember that.”― Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light

“This is what you remember of the people you love when they're gone—the ways they knew you that no one else did—even you. In that way, their passing is a death of a piece of yourself.”― Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light

There is always beauty lurking...

“I lower the visor against the sinking sun. A ray catches a crack in the windshield and illuminates it, a tiny comet. I've always loved when the light finds the broken spots in the world and makes them beautiful.”― Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light

This book is a gentle and easy start to a new year. My hope is that it will set the pace for reading in 2023. Less slogs, more delight.


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