Tuesday, May 24, 2011

books and other good things {blessings abound}

tonight I am . . .

laughing again at Jamie the Very Worst Missionary . . . love her.

happy after a nice evening walk with the family and a good (but interrupted every four seconds) conversation with my husband.

thankful, after reading this post on Simple Kids, for the awesome friends I have who are all of these things.  What would I do without them?

excited about possibilities for the future . . . one that could mean a plane, different time zones, no children and two best friends, another that could mean something like house arrest for the next 20 years but for some reason I really want to do it anyway.  This is why.

looking forward to Sam's first horse riding lesson tomorrow.  I found a great groupon deal and she is beyond excited.

wondering what book to read next.

I don't have a lot of time today (time seems to be nearly extinct lately) but I wanted to pop in here while I can to review what I've been reading. . . .  Really, I need some book suggestions.  Since reading Berry I can't seem to get into anything else; it has been a lonely week with nothing to read.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

I finally read the last book of the Steig Larsson trilogy.  It was rather . . . jarring . . . after the quiet world of Port William.  I'm not sure if I was more critical of the book because of how shockingly it contrasted Wendell Berry, or if this just wasn't his best book of the three- either way, I didn't enjoy this book as much and by the third book the story line was pretty predictable.

Hannah Coulter

Once again, another gift from Berry.  The story is told by Hannah Coulter, twice widowed, of her life in the beloved Port William community.  I am always impressed when an author tells a story from the voice of the opposite sex, but Berry does an impressive job describing longings and joy of life from a woman's perspective, however, the voice didn't feel to me as aching or transparent as Jayber Crow.  Plenty to love about this book- one that I want to own and read again.

One of the endearing- and puzzling- qualities of Berry's stories about Port William- especially this book- is his almost naive optimism of the town, and the seeming impossible warmth and selflessness of his characters.  He writes with great affection for the Port William "membership," with no bitterness or condescension- I greatly respect him for this, but it seems impossible, too.  Coming from a small town, I wish I had his faith in community.  I did not experience the king of loyal and affectionate community in the small town where I grew up that he describes- although I have in other places I have lived.  There are times, reading Berry, when I have this urge to return to my small town to experience the magical sense of place that he writes of, and yet I'm not sure that I would find it- (here I have written of my own small town experience) I aspire to his hope and belief in the goodness of people.


A gorgeous book of poetry by Berry, another one to own and love.

Imagination in Place

I am nearly finished with this.  It is definitely more . .. cerebral . . . than his fiction, and requires more mental energy.  The theme of these essays is the connection between a literary work and the place it is conceived, a concept that I had never thought about before but will no doubt now ever influence my thinking about art and creation.

Oh, and one of my posts was recently featured on storybleed!  Thank-you Heather!


Janet said...

You're drinking deep from Wendell Berry these days! Hope you find another book to get lost in soon.

House arrest. Very good metaphor (some days at least!). I clicked over to that post and it looks wonderful; I'll go back and read the rest. Thank you for sharing the link.

My 10-year-old had her last horse lesson of the season yesterday. She learned to canter. It makes me choke up, seeing her do that with confidence. Good luck to Sam.

I don't often comment, but I always feel nourished by your posts. Keep them coming.

Shannon said...

I have Ann's post bookmarked! We need to meet halfway for a night.. can we look at some fall dates (before your house arrest gets underway :)? ) I'm putting G in preschool but we'll HS kindergarten. I look at sites and my head starts spinning and so I bookmark it and leave it. I have about 50 to look at. AAAUUGH!

Love you friend.

Maggie May said...

I recommend The Year Of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks...I just finished and loved. Or my favorite John Irving, The World According to Garp
Or! The Chronology of Water, brutal, jarring, beautifully writ in places like poetry...

Jenny Kast said...

Not fiction but I recommend Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberg! I've read it twice in the last 4 months and am considering starting it again. =)