Four Books

January has never been my favorite month of the year but reading these four books have made the month not only bearable but contemplative and thoughtful.

A Circle of Quiet: The Crosswicks Journals – Book 1. Madeleine L’Engle. Lovely, meandering thoughts on faith and life, feels fresh although published in 1972. Quote: “Love is not an emotion. It is a policy.”

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table. Shauna Niequist. Thank you Sherry for recommendation. Personal essays with corresponding recipes. Quote: “What happens around the table doesn’t matter to a lot of people. But it matters more and more to me. Life at the table is life at its best to me, and the spiritual significance of what and how we eat, and with whom and where, is new and profound to me every day. I believe God is here among us, present and working. I believe all of life is shot throgh with God’s presence, and that part of the gift of walking with him is seeing his fingerprints in all sorts of unexpected ways.”

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life. Dani Shapiro. I find that these writing advice books are really the best life advice books. I am always so grateful for the author’s vulnerability. Thoughtful and inspiring. Quote: “We are revealed to ourselves—just as our characters are revealed to us—through our daily actions. When making my son’s breakfast, I try to focus simply on cracking the eggs, melting the butter, toasting the bread. It doesn’t get more ele­mental than that. As I drive down country roads taking Jacob to school, I remind myself to focus on the way the sunlight plays on the surface of a pond, the silhouettes of cows in a field. I’ve learned that it isn’t so easy to witness what is actually happening. The eggs, the cows. But my days are made up of these moments. If I dismiss the ordinary—waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen—I may just miss my life.”

The Signature of All Things. Elizabeth Gilbert. Who knew a 19th century botany novel could be this much fun? Loved the sentences, the big, comforting length, and the warmth the author has for her characters.

Also, Telfer sent me this David Brooks column today and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s about a family who goes through one daughter’s death at 27 and another daughter’s debilitating bicycle accident a few years later. Suffering led them to share “about how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone.” A “ministry of presence.” What a beautiful phrase. Please read.

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5 thoughts on “Four Books

  1. Jennifer S

    Wonderful article. My favorite line: “Theology is a grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.” Perfect.

  2. Telfer

    I loved part of the quote from Still Writing: “I’ve learned that is isn’t so easy to witness what is actually happening.”

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