August 2018 Monthly Wrap-Up and Bookish Conversations

Did you notice my new blog header?

This summer brought a lot of changes. Gabrielle is no longer blogging with me, but I wish her all the best with her own projects, and I really enjoyed having her as a part of The Story Sanctuary. Also, you may have noticed the new header and web icon images on the site. Yay for a fresh new look!

New tag line: Helping you find the right book for your reader.

Another big change is perhaps more subtle. Since I started writing reviews, the tag line of my blog was, “Young adult book reviews from a Christian world-view.” My goal has always been to write reviews of a broad range of books and include information that I, as a Christian parent, would want to know before passing the book on to young readers in my life.

I think, though, that the tag line leads people to assume that I’ll have certain views or only review certain books. It’s never been my desire to tell people what books they shouldn’t read. I’ve hoped to help inform readers about content and allow them to decide for themselves what’s appropriate or interesting.

Still a Believer

My faith is very much an important part of my life, and it will remain so. But I think I’ve been alienating readers who are looking for a more overtly Christian review as well as readers who have negative associations with the term “Christian world-view” and assume it means discrimination and judgement.

So, with all that in mind, I made a really difficult decision to change the tag line. I will still continue reviewing with the same focus: helping you find the right book for you or your reader.

What’s staying the same

My reviews will still include a content breakdown and cultural information about characters in the story. Specifically, the cultural breakdown is NOT meant to steer readers away from books because certain types of characters are represented. Rather, it’s meant to help readers from underrepresented groups find books whose characters represent them and to help readers looking for diverse literature to find it.

Diversity is super important to me. I believe literature helps us cultivate empathy for others by allowing us to imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, looking out through their eyes, experiencing their emotions. It’s certainly not a perfect education, but I do believe it helps. I know in my own life, reading diverse books has helped expose prejudices I’ve had often without ever thinking about them. It forces us to examine what we think in a way that our real day to day lives may insulate us from.

I’ll still continue to review Christian books as I always have, and I imagine my faith will come up here and there, because it’s part of me. I’m not looking to bury who I am. Rather, I’m hoping to be more transparent and less confusing.

At any rate, I’m hoping that going forward, The Story Sanctuary remains a welcoming space where we can share thoughts about books. I hope this blog helps you find books you had never heard of, and authors you come to love. That’s the greatest gift a book review blogger can get: knowing someone discovered a favorite book through your review of it.

August 2018 Monthly Wrap-Up

I’m going to do the wrap-up a little differently this time, too. Normally here’s where I’d list the reviews I’ve posted this month, but you can scroll through those on the home page, so rather than repeat them here, I’m going to do something different.

Bookish Conversations I Wish I Was Having: August 2018

Book I read in August 2018 that I’m most likely to reread: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. If you asked me before I read this book whether an author could make me love a swamp monster, I would have seriously doubted it. Kelly Barnhill proved me wrong.

Plus, I absolutely loved the theme about foster mothering. I straight-out bawled when Luna says about her relationship with her mothers that her love is not divided, it is multiplied. I really need somebody in my life to read this book so I can talk about it more!

Behind These Hands by Linda Vigen PhillipsBook I read in August 2018 that surprised me the most: Behind These Hands by Linda Vigen Phillips. I feel like reading a book from a publisher I’ve never worked with before and am not familiar with is often a gamble. I had no idea what to expect from this humbly packaged novel-in-verse. And wow.

The story and the power of the lines pretty much blew me away. You’ll probably keep hearing me talk about this one, because I just don’t think it’s getting the praise it deserves.

What book did you read this month that surprised you most?

Leave a comment and tell me about a book you read lately that surprised you.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to August 2018 Monthly Wrap-Up and Bookish Conversations

  1. Mary Beth says:

    Thank you for your reviews! I appreciate your heart, honesty, and diversity. And the site looks great! Keep it up!