Oh my, there is sun out! Beautiful thought. A t-shirt is definitely (finally) in order. Good summer morning my friends! I have petite yellow roses preening in a tall glass on my window sill, classical violins streaming exultation through the radio and pearl colored air breathing energy in through the window. It is an altogether ideal set of an early summer morning from which to greet you and wish you a bit of the same brightness.
I’m feeling home of late, a strangely wondrous feeling. It’s so lovely to settle in, to look out the window and know, as Bebo Norman so achingly sings, that I’m back in the place where “the trees stand still”. In honor of that, I find myself embracing the small things that are a silent welcome back to the blessed confines of home. I love the little rituals that take me by my gypsy hand and tell me I have come to stay.
One of these I simply have to share with you. It is what I must call with due solemnity, “the re-stacking of the books”. I always have tottering stacks of books by my chair, bed, and in any available corner. They are an ever-changing mismash; classics I ought to read, novels I will read, poetry I want to remember, tomes on art, a few volumes of current interest or theology, and of course, my necessary novel and devotional. Oddly enough, one of the things that most keenly makes me feel fresh in thought and life is to start those stacks over. Yes, I know, strange pleasures. I get a fresh bunch of books that mesh with my current interests, expand my thought horizons, pique my imagination. I order in bunches of books from the library and then traipse down there as if I were on my way to a grand vacation and come home and stack them up in fresh, glowing towers. And then I feel radiantly happy.
I think it’s just this feeling of endlessly expanded horizons of imagination at my fingertips, and a celebration of my ability to finally delve into it all. I feel so free and sane. So, I just had to share my most recent finds – my summer excursions in thought. I’m going to be reading these throughout the summer, so you can definitely expect some reviews…good ones I hope!
1. Gilead by Marilyn Robinson (I’ve meant to read this for several years, all my creative writer friends love it.)
2. Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill (Halfway through and it might just change the way I think about spiritual life.)
3. Annie Dillard Reader and A Writer’s Life by Annie Dillard (My dad got me a whole collection of Annie Dillard books and I’m thrilled to finally delve into her classic works.)
4. The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis (I have always been a little fascinated by medieval literature and thought and this is Lewis’ classic series of lectures in book form on the subject.)
5. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (Another of my artistic friends favorites – I have needed to read this for awhile. I loved The Chosen.)
6. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (I’m really interested in understanding more about the subjects she deals with – local eating, organic farming, etc.)
7. Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (One of those classics I really need to read, and actually am looking forward to.)
8. Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community by Wendell Berry (I read the first one – I LOVE the way he thinks! He’s going to make a revolutionary of me.)
9. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (My friend’s favorite Berry novel.)
10. I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquah Sheikh (Found this at a bookfair- the story of a Muslim woman who had dreams of a God who told her He was her father. Just reading the back gave me a shiver of joy.)
I want to add a few more good summer novels as well (I know, as if that wasn’t enough already), so if you have any recommendations, let me know. And while you’re at it, what’s glowing in your own stack of summer books? I want to know!