• Books

    Thoughts to think.

    As you know, I share quotes and book stacks over on IG on a bi-weekly basis. These were the quotes and stacks for August. The quotes are done in situ the week that they are shared. I don’t plan ahead, and the quote is chosen by what I most need that week or what’s really hitting me hard and I want to remember. It’s always interesting to see how they resonate with others that week.

    This will surprise absolutely no one I know in real life, but recently, my bedside bookshelf literally collapsed under the weight of all the books stacked on it, two and three deep. Granted, it was almost twenty years old, but still. I may have a problem, and no, I don’t want to admit it, nor do I want to get help. Ha! The first stack of August of course was all of my homeschooling re-reads. Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie was missing out of the stack because I had loaned it out.

    The next book stack week was a particularly dark week in the world; a week that kind of makes you question who are, what you’re doing, what you stand for. I think as an artist and a writer it can really shake you to your bones, almost making you forget that the exact times when things get so dark is also the exact moment artists, writers, and poets need to get to work! So the book pull that week was dedicated to that thinking of, and approach to, craft.

    The last stack of books was all the poetry books I found tucked here and there in the bookshelf collapse. I didn’t realize how many I had actually collected over the years- this doesn’t even include the Norton Anthologies of American and British poets I saved from college stored elsewhere. I have distinct memories of reading through The Prayers of a Young Poet (Rilke) the year both of my children fell so sick and were hospitalized. It went with me through many doctors appointments and hospital stays- each page seared on my brain. It was a good companion.

  • Books

    Fiction reads…

    A fiction stack this week, with comfort reads thrown in for good measure…things have felt too heavy to really engage with non-fiction, so I gave myself permission to take a break.

    I *did not* like Arms of Deliverance (Tricia Goyer). I own some of her other books, so when I saw this in the used book bin for pennies I figured, ‘why not?’. I kept reading waiting for it to improve, but it never did. Poorly plotted, rushed, and disjointed, verging on devolving to stereotype. It felt like it could have really sung if the characters had had time to breathe.

    I had lent Fair is the Rose (Liz Curtis Higgs)- second in a series- to a friend a long time ago and it never came back home, so I was delighted to find it in a used bin. Which then led to reading the third in the series, Whence Came a Prince. I loved this series when it came out nearly two decades ago now and I still love it (and now own all of them again). Higgs takes the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel from Scripture and deftly weaves a Scottish tale echoing their story. If you like the Outlander series but get annoyed with all the constant spicy scenes, you’ll really enjoy these books. (And dare I say, better written than the Outlander series, which is starting to feel positively Dickensian in length and plot twists.)

    Picked up Whereabouts (Jhumpa Lahiri) and Our Woman in Moscow (Beatriz Williams) at the library yesterday. Whereabouts was first written in Italian and now translated. Her books always fascinate me, so I am excited to dive in. Our Woman in Moscow is more spy and intrigue. I haven’t read that in awhile (though I secretly savored Tom Clancy novels there for a space), but I started reading the first chapter standing in the stacks and was immediately hooked.

  • Books

    The current stack…

    My current stack of reads. I used to swallow books whole in one or two sittings (I still do that for fiction sometimes), but now I find myself reading much slower, savoring, thinking, scribbling things down. The running thread through these, I think, is the question of culture care- how do I care for my neighbors, here, across the street, around the world? How do I engage with the world now as a disabled person with a chronic illness?

    What have you been reading lately?

  • Books

    Restored hope…

    “…I hope that simple love and truth will be strong in the end. I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”

    -David Copperfield

    I have been reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens of late, as much as out of a desire to return to more meaty fare as to correct a defect of my education as an English major. I avoided him; I hated both A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist with almost equal measure. It really is a pity that those are put forth as his best, as the more I’ve read of him the more I feel that those two are actually his worst. I also read Little Dorrit earlier in the summer. I want to read Bleak House next, as my fellow friends have told me it is by far and away their favorite. David has been good for me though. His comments upon his life, his upbringing, his early adult years- they have all given me ‘thoughts to Think” as Pooh says. I find that David’s words (as performed by none other than the highly talented Richard Armitage on the audio book when I am in the car) have slowly given me back my humanity, which I’m afraid was becoming sorely out of shape and twisted lately. Restored my hope in people, I guess you could say, in spite of, or because of, their failings. Dickens is so gentle and yet truthful with characters of all stripes. He reminds me of Austen in that way.


  • Books

    Summer reads…


    If you can’t tell already, I have taken full advantage of the quiet summer months, reading like I was running out of air. I feel like my adult brain is finally firing back on all cylinders. Interestingly enough, I’ve been a serial, monogamous reader for as long as I can remember- one book at time. Start to finish. This summer though, I’ve been reading and thinking my way through all of these books in a very non-serial way. I’ve tended to pick up the one that most closely matches my mood and thought processes at the moment. I guess it helps that two of them are essay collections, so they lend themselves well to non-monogamous reading. I wonder if it’s a trend that’ll hold? That being said, I haven’t finished any of these in total, but what I’ve read of each has been just what I needed at the time. So, so good.

    1./ Art of the Commonplace
    2./ Food, Faith, and Fasting
    3./ Following A Sacred Path
    4./ Roots & Sky
    5./When I Was A Child I Read Books