As determined as I feel to read 50 new books this year, I keep thinking about the books I listened to and loved last year. I'd like to revisit them, this time as hard copies with a pencil in hand to underline all of my favorite sentences.
"Beautiful Country" is one; "Olga Dies Dreaming" and "Ghosts" are two others.
I started "Beautiful Country," read by the author, just before my trip to Thailand last April and I took it with me. I listened to the final chapter on our road trip to the island of Koh Chang and got teary while identifying with the emotion of Qian reaching out to her younger self. Many of us still walk with our littler selves within hoping to be acknowledged and freed.
As waves of peace washed over me on Koh Chang, I could feel I was at a turning point. That everything would soon change. I felt confident I'd leave my job within the year but I didn't yet know how. I only knew what awaited me would allow my current self to unfurl and help younger me—bright, joyful, fearless—rise above the heavier parts I carry. More on that some other time, but for now, I am so thankful to Qian and the permission slip her words formed.