Saturday, January 31, 2009

January reading

I made a New Years resolution of sorts to read more this year. I was thinking my reading had really dropped off in the past couple of years, and while browsing over my books lists it didn't seem too shabby of a count, it did lack heart. Meaning there were too many books on that list that I hadn't really enjoyed. So, I wanted to recapture the constant delight of reading and anticpating reading because I was having a very good time with it- some would rightly conclude I was looking for a place to escape to on a regular basis. I don't think this is a bad thing. I read for a variety of reasons- to learn, to grow, to understand, to experience things I never will any other way and to escape. It's affordable and doesn't cause my family too much neglect.

My reading for January has been enjoyable. Here it is with the briefest of comments because I have a very busy weekend at hand. No, not the Super Bowl, homeschool reports and planning for the next quarter etc.

Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg. This was for our book club and I liked the book quite a bit and was surprised because I thought maybe all the political and current events would be confusing and depressing. Not so, it was pretty easy to read and informative.

A Walk With Jane Austen by Lori Smith. I came across this book one day while browsing in B&N determined not to buy anything. Leafing through the book I found it compelling. So, I came home, looked it up at the library and was astonished that I could get it through there! I'm glad I did, because though I did enjoy the book, after a bit, I don't feel the need to own it. My favorite quote from the book is actually- not a surprise -a quote from Jane Austen in Persuasion:

"Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."

I am in much sympathy with Anne.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrows.
This was book I took notice of on the library web page and requested it. It was fun, light, post WWII Britain. Reminiscent of 84 Charing Cross Road, but while 84 is memoir, Guernsey is fiction. With the typical fiction pitfalls- predictable romance. It was a fun read, howeve, and got me thinking about 84, so I borrowed the movie of that from the library(yes, they made a movie of a book of letters) and requested other Helene Hanff books, as you will see.

Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. This book was recommended by Dallas Willard and again I found it available through the library! Love that library! It is written to be a comforting story, told as a dream, about the marvels that await us in Heaven. It was an ok book, and I know it was reflective of the author's painful losses, but it didn't hold me- because in trying to paint a picture of Heaven it fell kind of flat, as you would expect it to...too lofty for words.

Between Heaven & Hell by Peter Kreeft. As the tiltle suggests this dialogue takes place between Heaven & Hell. The date is November 22, 1963 and within a few hours of each other three men pass into eternity: President John Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. Kreeft imagines a dialogue they might share with each other about eternal life, the divinty of Christ, and more. Kennedy takes the role of humanist, Huxley pantheist, with Lewis representing Christianity. Entertaining and informative. Before I began the book I was looking for information on a new book by Peter Kreeft and was reminded of his admiration of C.S.Lewis, and I remember musing to myself whether Lewis' Christianity would be closer to Kreeft's than to mine. Peter Kreeft is Catholic and I am Protestant. Well, early in this book Lewis answers that question rather directly- well, actually Peter Kreeft answers what he thinks/hopes Lewis might say. I was amused to see my question addressed. Lewis and Kennedy are talking about authority and Lewis says:

"...My business was to defend "mere Christianty," not any one particular church. Second, because we two are not representative samples: I'm more Catholic than most Protestants, especially concerning church, tradition and authority; and you're more Protestant than most Catholics, de-emphasizing just those things- if I'm not mistaken."

Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff. More memoir, more about her correspondance with Frank Doel at Marks & Co Booksellers and more about the subsequent fame that came to her through the book 84 Charing Cross Road, and the movies and plays etc. that spun off from that. But basically this is a book giving credit to a man she calls "Q"- Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. A man she credits with teaching her about writing through a book of lectures and also exposing her to so much great literature, his influence starts her on her life long quest to read and acquire great books. Her book can ignite the same hunger in readers....going to the library web page and look for books by "Q"

The Giver by Lois Lowry. This is our next book club book. I have read it several times over the years with my kids and somehow have come NOT to own a single copy! So, to the library again. But this time I listened to it on audio book. Read by Ron Rifkin. Enjoyable. This book, I'll finish tonight while making supper.


Janet said...

This is a lot of reading! I read a book every week or week and a half at most.

Somewhere, I have that Peter Kreeft book. It was one someone gave me, and I've spot-read, but not read the whole thing. Now I want to find it and read it more carefully!

Your blog is beautiful, and I love the header photo.

Polly said...

Most of these books are not all that lengthy.

I bought the Peter Kreeft book years ago for my then high school boys to read, I realized I had never read it entirely myself. I remember really liking *Making Choices* and the newest one I might read soon is *Before I Go*

The photo is a sunrise picture taken from Chincoteague Island, VA. A favorite vacation spot!