I enjoy thinking back on some of the things our daughter said when she was first learning our language. She enunciated well, but the words weren’t always quite right. Even still, she uses the word “literate” incorrectly. She will come home stating dramatically, “It was literately so hot today, I needed to take a swim.”
We’ve corrected her, but it’s become a habit at the moment. We hear “literate” around our house a lot. So, I’ve decided to name my book review posts “Literate Getaways” in honor of our daughter. A book has always offered me a getaway of sorts. So, it’s pretty much true anyway. Literally.
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art (Madeleine L’Engle)
This was my first encounter with the author, although I know she’s inspired thousands. Since reading this book, I found my daughter a copy of a graphic illustrated version of Wrinkle in Time. She devoured it! I wore a highlighter out on this book. If you are pursuing a creative outlet, such as writing, with any degree of passion, this book makes an excellent guide.
Ultimately, when you are writing, you stop thinking and write what you hear.
Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World (Shelly Miller)
Some books seem to launch into the world with the best timing. That’s how I feel about this one. Our lifestyles are crazy busy and our current events have us unsettled. Through great story-telling (she shares from her personal experience and also from those who participate in her online group, Sabbath Society) and a reminder of what Scripture teaches us about Sabbath, Shelly encourages us to rediscover Sabbath, not in 24-hour segments but in the rhythm of a life at rest. This book gets very practical with ways to create Sabbath in our own lives. It was excellent.
We embrace intentions for work, academics, relationships, finances, recreation, and faith, but what about intentions for rest?
Very Married: Field Notes on Love & Fidelity (Katherine Willis Hershey)
I heard this author speak on a panel at the Festival of Faith & Writing. She mentioned her forthcoming book on marriage and right then, I made a note to pre-order a copy. It did not disappoint. Katherine is a minister, married for several years and has two children. Doesn’t that sound like a picture-perfect life? Cue in the white picket fence please. However, her marriage, like mine and yours, isn’t perfect. She tells her readers all about it. I appreciated her vulnerability, even talking about taboo topics. Without apology, she advocates for the institution of marriage.
PS I tweeted a few quotes from her book as I was reading it. She shared the quotes and said she didn’t consider herself very quotable. I disagree. Here are a few more I appreciated:
I keep waiting for writers and directors to decide that infidelity as a plot thickener is hopelessly cliche.
Yet we’ve learned that we can reconcile, we can forgive, we can change. But only as long as neither one of us gives up.
It’s that I made my choice. It was the same choice I made all those years ago, the same choice I made last week, and this morning, and expect to make for all the days of my life: I choose fidelity.
Jesus: First Century Rabbi (David Zaslow)
This one is a bit more scholarly, but I’m fascinated with the fact that Jesus was Jewish. As mad at they made him at the Temple or the local synagogue, he never abandoned his faith. This book is written by an extremely learned Jewish Rabbi, who makes the argument that we all have a great deal to learn from Jesus. He wants to show readers Jesus in his historical context; including changes that were taking place in the Jewish ways of worship at that time. He also quotes a number of Jewish teachers who were teaching similar things as Jesus in his day. Much food for thought and I appreciated the author’s open-minded approach.
The transition from the Temple system into what would later be called Rabbinic Judaism was nothing less than extraordinary-and Jesus was at the center of that transformation.
Remember the Ladies (Gina L. Mulligan)
This story is about Amelia, an orphan who is forced to make her own way in the world, starting the day she turns 18. After meeting the sophisticated Mr. Ward on a train ride, she determined to not only make something of herself, but to convince him to help her do it. Mr. Ward, as it turns out, was a lobbyist in Washington DC in the early 1900’s. Amelia would enter the political stage only a few years before the woman’s suffrage movement would go into full swing. It’s an action-packed novel and Amelia’s personality is very likeable. The twist at the end of the book does not disappoint either. A fun one!
You asked me to be honest about my goals, so here I am. I don’t want to be a man, but I want a place in this world like one. I want others to listen to me, and I want to do as I please. I want to prove women are capable of handling complex jobs, of throwing a stupid ball and learning science. And I admit that I also want a fine lifestyle and having a roomful of people pay attention to me and my opinions.
Upstream: Selected Essays (Mary Oliver)
This book was my introduction to the poet, Mary Oliver. I’ve been on a poetry kick lately. These pieces use fewer words but take longer to read and comprehend. Fascinating. Further, I enjoy reading the same poems on repeat. I hoped this book, although written in essay form, would help me explore this new-to-me genre. This book slowed me down. Often, the pieces were written about what the author saw as she walked in the woods or along the ocean’s shoreline. She explores writers who have influenced her. She examines literature’s place in our everyday lives. I am confident I’ll be reading this book more than once.
I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.
The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written.
I received a copy of Very Married: Field Notes On Love & Fidelity, Jesus: First Century Rabbi, Remember The Ladies and Upstream from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of Rhythms of Rest:Finding The Spirit Of Sabbath In A Busy World in exchange for helping to promote this book through a launch team. I received a copy of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art from Blogging for Books for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes are from the books. The opinions expressed here are my own.