Sun, and music, and books!

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!



Filed under Books, Musings

13 responses to “Sun, and music, and books!

  1. My Name is Asher Lev is one of my all time favorites…and Annie Dillard.

    Also, I see you have G. K. Chesterton’s photo on your sidebar. You may like to drop by my post and wish him a Happy 134th Birthday.

    “My summer excursion in thought”… have a happy journey!

  2. Jennifer

    I have been loving your return to writing and this post sent me smiling wide! I so totally understand you! I love my stacks and baskets of books(learned from your dear parents)! One thing I also love to do is put new acquisitions on a special shelf all together before letting them be absorbed into the “library”. Then I just look at them and smile.
    My current stack includes:
    My Bible (just finishing up Leviticus)
    Stories from a Families Heart and From a Woman’s Heart, both by Gray
    The Return of the Indian (2nd in the Cupboard series, hey I think read alouds count towards me too!)
    Abba Child, B Manning
    The Cross Centered Life, CJ Mahaney (actually just finished)
    Humility, CJ Mahaney
    How Great Thou Art ( A great little devotional)
    Heart of Wisdom, Robin Sampson
    Prince Caspian, CS Lewis
    The Lighthouse Stevensens
    The Power of a Praying Parent, Stormie O.
    Teaching the Trivium, Bluedorn (skimming to review)
    Books That Build Character
    The Mission of Motherhood & The Ministry of Motherhood, your sweet mom (both because I can’t make up my mind)
    Well that’s it for now but the annual homeschool conference is coming up in a couple weeks so I know it will grow again soon!
    God Bless and thanks again for your beautiful words
    In Him, Jennifer

  3. Your joy and love of reading is inspiring. I haven’t read any real books, independent of school, for such a long time, and I think this summer will be a great time to catch up! Believe it or not, I’ve only heard of one book on your list…and that would be Beowulf, which I read in school in 9th grade. I found that I did enjoy it very much. (I was one of only a handful of my classmates who could understand it at that point. xD) We also read The Chosen in 8th grade, so I have heard of Chaim Potok.

    As for summer books…I really have no idea! I’d like to re-read my cozy favorites (ahem…all 7 Chronicles of Narnia ^_^), but other than that, I’ll have to see what comes my way. ❤

  4. Yes, it is good to see you posting again Sarah. Though you were much in my prayers (and no doubt many others prayers who frequent this blog).

    I am so glad you asked the question as to what we have been reading, because based on previous posts of yours I ordered the George MacDonald Treasury and it arrived on Saturday. From what I can see it has about 5-6 of the books of read you mention before. I was very pleased to see on the back cover that it read “if you are fan of Tolkien you love this treasury”, and so far I do. I now have a really good excuse to buy more books 🙂 it is you Sarah! I am trying to read Sense and Sensiblity but finding it a struggle (I found pride and prejudice very good). I finished The Hobbit (again!) just a few days ago. (looking forward to the film!)

    By the way I really enjoyed your post a week or two ago about you finding, or should I say re-find God. I would really like you to write more about that. I have been a Christian since I was about 16 (I am now 32) and it seems such a journey that I feel that I can never really say “and now I have made it”. Please write more about this topic (as you have time of course…I’m sure you have many other things to do than sit and type blogs!!!!).

    Sue (Have loved the pics you have posted recently post more!!)

  5. oops I meant to say the Treasury has 5 or 6 novels in it, with a few of the books you have mentioned.

    Apologies for errors in my reply, my mind is thinking quicker than my fingers!


  6. I’m very familiar with the book stack thing. My current bedside stack has Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Kurt Vonnegut), Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (Stephen Hawking), and The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)…all of which I am reading now.

    It’s nice to have you writing here again.

  7. Jo

    Yes indeed I’m there too! Clusters of books both antique and new are scattered all round the place, and I’m in a constant debate as to which one I’ll read at what time etc. I just love reading your thoughts, Sarah. Your gypsy spirit is contagious, and your writing is the epitome of Beauty.
    Wishing you many springtime joys and long reads,

  8. Sarah

    Hello everyone! You all are so much fun – I love your comments.

    Arti- Thanks for saying hello! I’ll definitely come by to with G.K.C. a happy birthday. 🙂

    Jennifer- Now that is a great list. I need to read Abbas Child, I enjoyed another Manning book I read, and I have never delved into the Indian in the Cupboard series, though I should, since I’m supposedly writing a complete guide to kid’s lit.

    Kala- hello! Definitely read the Chronicles again… I was thinking about rereading a few myself just to get the feeling of Narnia again. We’ll have to discuss them if you do, with tea of course, in honor of C.S. Lewis.

    Susan- You are always so encouraging- your current reading is right after my own heart. I hope you enjoy G. MacDonald! Good luck on the Austen – I feel terrible admitting that I have never read the Austen books because I was so familiar with the movies (this is in direct opposition with every ideal I hold!). So, I’ll be interested in seeing how I find them.

    Steve- Great to hear from you! That’s a fascinating list, you’ve got some serious thinking going on. One of my friends considers Atlas Shrugged his favorite book… I’ve never read it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a curious choice. Thanks for stopping by.

    Jo- I know the debate! The downside of the stacks is that its hard to stick to one. Thanks for your always delightful comments! Your words bring so much beauty.

  9. The Shack by William P Young – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book

    That I May Know Him by Kay Arthur

    John Adams by David McCullough

    Seeing what is Sacred by Ken Gire

  10. Oh I forgot to say thanks for sharing what you are reading and can I just say again I LOVE your blog? Sunshine

  11. Rachel

    Hi Sarah, I’m one of the many moms you met at the Dallas conference in February! I just had to comment on one title. I read “I Dared to Call Him Father” in 8th grade and have kept it in my library ever since (and that was back in 1991!). It is a fantastic story, and I hope it blesses your heart as it has mine through the years. Also, I’m not sure if you have read any Ravi Zacharias books, but I just finished “The Grand Weaver” and felt compelled to recommend it to you. I hope you can get your hands on it and savor his wisdom!

  12. forcompany

    Sarah! You should add “The Heaven Tree Trilogy” and “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” to your list if you haven’t read them. My reading list includes “Absalom, Absalom” (Faulkner) and “Planet Narnia” (a book of C.S. Lewis research, on the Chronicles of Narnia). Um … what else are you up to this summer?

  13. You won’t regret Annie! Annie Dillard is one of my all-time favorites. My husband grew up on Tinker Creek; we live just a few minutes from there. I went to Hollins U for my creative writing MA degree. Her former husband was my advisor.

    i. love. annie.

    And Barbara Kingsolver!! I am reading that book, w/ my best friend, by the seasons. delicious.

    Will have to add your other books to my reading list. Right now I’m working on, inter alia, your Mom’s fantastic Mission of Motherhood. I love it to pieces!

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