• MWF Seeking BFF

    MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche

    It seems appropriate that after my last post this book review and my next post about learning would be on this book. To be honest, I started this book in May of last year. Shameful. It took me so long to get through for 3 reasons.

    1. In reading the book it felt most of the time, like she was writing a high school research paper but didn't know how to smoothly actually incorporate her research. If she said "as research shows" one more time I might have tracked her down so I could bite off her main typing finger. But this was more of a minor annoyance.

    2. I started reading the book before I had left my dear friends in Atlanta. I felt like a traitor reading the book while I was still with friends who are very dear to me. I didn't WANT new friends, I just wanted all the cities where my dear friends live to not be so far away from Maple Grove, MN. BUT I also knew my tendency to take too long to make friends and was trying to head it off before it happened.

    3. I was in the process of dating, getting engaged, planning a wedding, and then moving across the country, so it didn't leave a ton of time to finish a book I was only sort of excited about.

    All this to say, I set out this year to be open to learning things from unlikely sources and this is a prime example.

    As I was reading the book I found myself hungry to know some sure fire ways to build relationships, but also hesitant to approach the task so scientifically. I did learn a couple important things from Rachel Bertsche's journey to friendship. Don't be timid. Rachel unashamedly and openly asked gals to hang out with her all. the. time. She wouldn't be shy about making friends and she found that generally, people are open to advances of kindness. They are flattered by them. People want friends.

    I also learned that there's a cap to how many friends one can have. Rachel cited Robin Dunbar who believes the number is around 150 people. This includes long distance friends, family members, and any relationships that are dependent on an actual extensive understanding of each other. Which explains a lot. Have you ever felt like you're trying to enter a new group of people and there's just not room for you? Well, it might be because people have met their 150 cap and literally don't have space for new friends unless some of the old get shoved out. It's not a pretty reality, but good for me to consider as I work my way into an already very established community here in Maple Grove. The same tensions were overcome in time in Atlanta.

    I've been very thankful for our neighbors who have been so welcoming, friendly and intentional about reaching out to us and being our friends, for a couple of gals who have been important friends to me in Omaha and Atlanta and also happen to live in Minneapolis, and for a friend blind date I was set up on who led us to the church we now attend. Friends are important. And without reading a book about it, I think we could all agree on that fact. We need each other, and even though the friend-making process may not always be an easy one, it's worth the outcome.

    So back to the book review, if you're looking for a light-hearted book about moving halfway across the country and building new relationships, you might have fun with this book. If you're looking for your next favorite book, I would recommend something else.

  • C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy

    I'm covering 3-in-1 in this one. 

    C.S. Lewis' space trilogy consists of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength

    These 3 took me some time to get through. Well, the first 2 did. I sailed more easily through That Hideous Strength. For some reason, they had a hard time holding my attention. BUT finishing That Hideous Strength made the whole series worth it. [That, and the scene in Perelandra where they laugh and laugh and laugh for no apparent reason.]

    When Lewis writes fiction, it’s more about the point he’s trying to prove than it is about the story line. Some others write fiction in this way, and it usually makes for fiction that takes a little more time to get through. This isn’t really page-turner fiction. I don’t mind this, it just makes for a little bit of a challenge in picking up the book, and sticking with it. I didn't love the series, and it pains me to say it out loud. I really WANTED to love them.

    Something about That Hideous Strength had the feel of The Last Battle to it, it had a little more suspense to it, and after the first 2, knowing it was the last, you knew there was going to be redemption and restoration waiting at the end of it. I couldn’t wait to get there. 

    That Hideous Strength can be read all on it’s own and make perfect sense. If you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to all three but want to get a feel for Lewis’ writing style via science fiction, I recommend reading the 3rd all on it’s own. You might struggle like I did through the first 50 or so pages, but it picks up. Stick with it, and you’ll enjoy where he takes you.

    All this to say, if you’re going to spend time on a science fiction trilogy, you might join the rest of the world in reading Lord of the Rings instead. But if you’re willing to commit a little time to something different and that you might not as easily turn the pages, Lewis’ trilogy is still definitely worth the attention.

    I'm aware that I'm not selling it well. Here are a couple quotes so Lewis can convince you instead of me. 

    "Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse."

    "The shuffling off of miserable hopes was almost exhilerating..."

    "Equality guards life; it doesn't make it."