Well it’s January 4th and I’ve already finished reading my first book of 2016. I made a pledge on Good Reads to read 52 books this year (yikes…what was I thinking?!). You can follow my progress and reading list here!
Back in December, I took part in the 12 days of Love Letter Writing Campaign with a wonderful organization, The World Needs More Love Letters (MLL). If you ever need to know that there are good humans in the world, check out their website and the social media hashtag #moreloveletters. It’s inspiring and will make you realize that the world isn’t such a bad place. Good exists.
I’m a member of MLL’s love letter alert and have participated in quite a few campaigns and letter requests over the last few years. It’s an organization where I find a lot of meaning and purpose. Plus I’m a sucker for good stationary and helping others find encouragement even in the smallest of ways.
In January of 2012, I was introduced to Hannah Brencher by wonderful people whom I consider my second family, the Shatsoffs. Hannah and I had a common friend in Nate.
Circumstances beyond anyone’s control lead us to meet at a Relentless Against Cancer bowling event in North Haven, CT shortly after Nate’s passing. It seemed pretty serendipitous to me, since Hannah and I are both writers – I was in the process of self-publishing my first novel and Hannah was creating The World Needs More Love Letters. Although we didn’t stay in close contact after the event, we maintained an acquaintance. I followed her blog and her MLL mission and was ecstatic for her when her first novel, If You Find This Letter, was published last year.
I felt strongly that this needed to be my first read of 2016 and I’m so glad it was. However, it’s a little weird reading a book by someone you’ve met, before she was famous, about her life that includes people you know. It’s a weird feeling, but it’s so cool!
As a self-appointed book sommelier, I can pair a wine with any book. However, reading Hannah’s memoir felt more like sitting down with an old friend to drink a big cup of coffee. So in the 15 hours or so that it took me to read it (since I was drawn in pretty quickly), I drank coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer. It was quite the perfect pairing.
If You Find This Letter has a unique rhythm. There is a steady beat as you read. It’s almost like you can feel the city breathing underneath the story. It’s honest, truthful, and completely raw. I admire writers who can literally hold their guts in their hands for you to read. It’s brave. Hannah is not afraid to show readers her soul.
Her journey of faith and love is one that anyone can relate to. While reading, I felt like I was exposing my own truths and learning to have faith in myself as a person and as a writer. When I finished reading, I silently closed the book and took my large cup of coffee in both hands and breathed. I wanted to soak up every piece of the story and let it settle. I sat in quiet for about an hour, just being. I love when books affect me like that. That’s why I am so in love with reading. Stories – fiction or nonfiction – pull you into a world where you are capable of learning amazing things about yourself, if you only let the words affect you.
Bigger than this, is the only way to describe this book.