Friday, June 12, 2009

Adventurous Summer Reading

A couple of online friends asked me about my reading of The Shack which I had listed in my sidebar for the last few weeks. I hadn't heard of it until this past spring when Father Acker asked me and his wife about leading a discussion group on the book. So after receiving his e-mail, I put myself on the library waiting list for the book ... several months ago. And in the perfectly horrid timing common to this year, The Shack arrived at the library precisely the same time as my MLA essays did ... which meant that I graded rather than read. And when I gathered my library books and videos to go back on Tuesday, I mistakenly included the long-awaited copy of The Shack that I had planned to read over the weekend, a mistake I did not realize until I returned home after the library closed. Great. So, no, I have not read The Shack yet but hope to when my name pops back up on the library list or when I can borrow a copy from someone. I've heard widely varying opinions on the book and hope to add my own sometime this summer.

So instead, I checked out a book rather far outside my comfort zone: The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight saga which has become as much an obsession with me as it is for my daughter. Sci fi is so not my genre, but I'm willing to try something new from an author I like. I may put it down in a day or two and return to my British mysteries, but it's worth an attempt. We'll see how it goes....

One of my former students has recommended Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, so I need to add this one to my list. And while the boys romped on the playground at the Wild Animal Park today, we talked books, and Tom recommended some books by Bill Bryson, especially his memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I'm going to check out his books as they look really intriguing and fun to boot.

And I definitely want to track down Stephen King's On Writing. I wouldn't really think about taking writing advice from a horror novelist, but one of the few books of his I read long ago was a collection of short stories called Skeleton Key, and I was quite impressed with the quality of his prose. I've read about this book on several writers' blogs, and several writing friends of mine have also highly, highly recommended it. I'm not one who enjoys reading writing "how to" books because I would much rather read excellent writing and learn from the Masters, but I am willing to take my chances on Stephen King.

I have a bunch of really wonderful Christian writings I have been waiting all year to dive into, and although they certainly do not qualify as "light summer reading," I am looking forward to reading them. Most are listed in the sidebar, but Kathleen Norris' Acedia and Me, Brian McLaren's Finding Our Way Again, Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ, Prayer by Richard Foster, The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, The Showings of Julian of Norwich, a rereading of Thomas Howard's Evangelical Is Not Enough, and Introduction to the Devout Life By Saint Francis de Sales are high on the list. And, by golly, I am going to finish the two books that I've been picking at in rare free moments, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and The Family Cloister by David Robinson, my dear friend Kitty's cousin. I hope I can get through a few of them this summer, writing in the morning and reading in the afternoons.

And generally catching up on the sleep of which I have been deprived since, um, around mid-August when we started this school year that finished today, Day #180.

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