Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Reading

"What we're reading, or listening to, or rather, what we're getting into lately is in some sense the most profound question we can ask each other. It's all seamlessly related to the question of how we're doing, and what it is that has hold of us, and how our passions might be channeled in a redemptive direction (and be good for something) rather than being tossed to and fro by the powers of passionate distraction."
-David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything

I'm borrowing this idea from my friend Katie's blog. And it seemed to fit nicely with the above quote I grabbed from my brother David's book.

So here they are, the books I'm spending some time with these days:

1. Coming to You from the Blue Room by Loranne Marsh Temple- this is the thin one on the top. And sadly, it's the only fiction in my bunch. I always wish I was more drawn to fiction. This one was written by my neighbor who lives three doors down. We're getting to know each other.

2. Standing By Words by Wendell Berry- we just bought this one on our trip to Michigan. I haven't opened it yet except to look at the contents, but I try to always have some Berry flowing into my brain.

3.The Sacredness of Questioning Everything by David Dark- my brother's latest. Possibly my favorite of his thus far. It's completely engaging, but I'm taking my time--sort of my way of making it last as long as possible.

4. Spinning Straw Into Gold by Joan Gould- I finished this one a few years ago. It explores how women's connections with certain fairy tales can point to particular transformations in their own lives. I'm addressing a few of her observations in some of my own writing, so currently this book has a constant presence on my desk.

5. Through the Children's Gate by Adam Gopnik- I'm a fan of Gopnik's. One of the essays in here, Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli, played a large part in helping me think through my current, and thus far most consistent, writing project.

6. Even In Quiet Places by William Stafford- My most recent attempt to prime the poetry pump. I actually bought this to give to some friends but thought I'd read through it first. My favorite Stafford poem thus far, A Ritual To Read To Each Other, is not in this collection but would be worth a "look up" in your spare time.

7. Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn- Another purchase from our recent trip to Michigan. I actually wanted to purchase a different book of hers, Talking the Walk: Letting the Christian Language Live Again, but it wasn't on sale. So I grabbed this one. I really like Marva Dawn. Her book, Is It A Lost Cause: Having the Heart of God for the Church's Children, had a tremendous impact on me a number of years back.

8. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard- my daily devotional for writing. Chicken soup for the writing soul. It will always have a place in my reading cycle of books by writers about writing.

So? What have you been reading lately?


katy said...

Thanks for asking ;)

I was previously just able to keep up with book club picks; the last was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I thought was a great summer read. But a couple weeks ago, I revisited War & Peace, which I started briefly about a year ago. This time it's taken, and I'm not only enraptured, but also dreaming of Napoleon, bayonettes, and early 19th-c. war strategies.

Rebecca said...

You've given me some reading ideas - thank you! And I like your brother's statement about what you're reading/listening to/into being so related to how we're doing - discussed that this morning with a friend.

Right now, I'm reading Russell's Children of God. Did you read that after The Sparrow? Sparrow was so harrowing and disturbing, but CoG is (at least in the first quarter) offering a bit more redemption and hope, and I find I'm enjoying it much more than the first.

Just finished People of the Book - enjoyable and good in the histories, but not quite what I expected. Also, slowly progressing through Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . . . since we're just down the road from Tinker Mountain.

Elizabeth, I owe you an email! You sent me a message back in winter or spring about writing (mine and yours), and I've been wanting to give a good, substantial reply. And we all know what comes of that intention. I'll respond soon, hopefully.

Katy, War and Peace? Really? I may need to investigate.

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

You know, it must be said (sitcom reference here), Tolstoy's original title for that book was "War, What is it Good For?"

becky said...

It's funny bc when I first saw the picture I was immediately drawn to "spinning straw into gold," (spinning straw into Gould: wordplay!) and then especially when you summarized it I knew- this is the next book for me.

Love them fairy tales!

aAnd when you next consider nonfiction, think about "briefing for a descent into hell." I can't remember the author. This book blew my mind. It talks about the disconnect everyone feels with living on earth- I realize that's not terribly descriptive, but once you read it you'll understand.

I miss book club!

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

Rebecca, Children of God has been on my list for awhile now. I really liked the Sparrow, need to revisit all the why's, but one I remember in particular was it's challenge to the flippancy of a comment like, "God has a wonderful plan for your life" which can so easily dismiss the experiences of so many people of faith who have had to come to terms with God's presence amidst terrible circumstances. The location being on another planet was just icing on the cake for me. It could just as well have been some unknown tribe in the Amazon, but I think the other-worldliness added a lot. Her writing style? Eh. But her ideas? yes.
So glad to hear the sequel is doing something good too. I look forward to finding out how some of those characters are doing.
I read Brooks' Year of Wonders long ago for a book club at Anne Henderson's house. Loved it until the ending. People of the Book will probably be the next of hers that I pick up.
Got your e-mail, looking forward to crafting a response. Yes, if only we lived closer.....

Becky, thanks for the suggestion! The author is Doris Lessing- I've not read it, but I'm really fascinated with her. She actually plays a fairly significant role in one my current writing projects. Her book, The Golden Notebook, took a big chunk out of my reading time while I was on the Vineyard. She's written a lot, so I'm always glad to note when one of her books has risen to the top for one of my friends.

katie said...

i was looking forward to this post! #4 sounds REALLY cool... i'll have to check into that. not to mention that your brother wrote a book! that's so cool... i guess it runs in the blood.