Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Reading Update

We are loving this season of the year, this season of life. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the beautiful mundane.

Here is a little of what is happening in our neck of the woods . ..

Long puzzles.

Slow foods.

Snowy days.

Good books. 

Eventide Kent Haruf
I love a book which leaves me both more a believer in the courage and kindness of people, and more aware of hurt and injustice, humanity's propensity for evil and cowardice. Haruf tells the story of both. The simplest person- a lonely aging farmer, a widowed social worker, a silent and ignored eleven year-old boy-- I find myself rooting for, believing in. And grieving, at the same time, for the terrible ways people ache and are mistreated or alone. I don't know how Haruf's sparse prose and simple characters can be so heart-wrenching and captivating. I love his simple style and the ordinary human events he chooses to describe. This book makes me want to be a better person.

The Writing Life Annie Dillard
A re-read. Poetic, metaphoric, humorous, eccentric, exhausting- an autobiography of the Writer's life. Full of brilliant advice and warning; "This is why many experienced writers urge young men and women to learn a useful trade."

Bread & Wine Shauna Neiquist 
Part memoir part food writing, all of my favorite subjects: food, friendship, community, faith, and the way these heal and carry us through life. My first introduction to Shauna Neiquiest, I found her writing relatable, candid, funny and poignant. 

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Neiquiest 
This collection of stories was her first book, once again relatable, honest, funny. She writes like a blogger, in brief, energetic chapters about everyday life. I appreciate her self-deprecating and honesty about her imperfections.

Honestly, sometimes her writing left me a little bit empty. She seems to be the type of person who attracts a crowd; can orchestrate, administrate, multi-task, get what she needs . . . she writes books, speaks, travels everywhere, has friends friends friends, hosts a multitude of dinner parties, along with being a mother of young children. Maybe it is because I am not at all like this, and only now slowly learning how to set boundaries and ask for what I need . . . I think I was jealous. Which is not an attractive quality and is much more a sign of something needing changed in myself.

Another re-read. One of my favorite parenting books.

. . . there is more to blog, but another day . . . now the kids are playing playing playing, and another book sits waiting for me, and I am overcome with a need for hot chocolate. 

"He is a sane man who can have tragedy in his heart 
and comedy in his head."

Be brave, friends. Cheerful and brave.


Ruth said...

Hey, Jess, Shauna's been blogging a lot lately about her need to slow down and say "No" more. I think she'd say you are doing just fine.

Jessica Stock said...

Thanks Ruth :-)

Amanda Steele said...

I really want to read Bread and Wine, just listened to the Art of Simple podcast with Niequist and Tsh Oxenreider. good stuff.
i love seeing the girls in snowpants. makes me want to have my own pair, they look so warm! Lunch here has been cut short to make way for two little frogs hiding under the table. i think the key to surviving winter is finding the beauty in these moments.
i don't make it over to your blog much, but everytime i do, i think of mom, and how much she enjoyed your blog. much love to you.

Jessica Stock said...

Amanda, I think of her so often- and you. Love and hugs to you friend.