Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 things I've read...

I love to read. I am anti-Kindle. I think I am going to start the "resisting the kindle" fan group on facebook. I love books. With pages.

I first was going to post on my 5 favorite books of ALL TIME, but that was impossible. There are too many. I would never write again, because I would be lost in piles of books, comparing, flipping pages, stacking and sorting and never coming down to just 5. So, I decided to go with 5 books that have been meaningful to me over the past year.

Here they are

The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
The Better Part By Fr. John Bartunek, LC
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
A lovely, rambling glimpse into the heart and mind of this amazing woman, Caryll Houselander, who should be up for beatification if she isn't already. The book is about Mary, but unlike any Marian book you've read before.
"Because He is in the little house of our being, we will learn to control our minds, to gather our thoughts to silence, and to crown them with peace, just as we learn to control our voices and to move softly when a child is asleep in the house of bricks and mortar."

''When I was a small child, someone for whom I had a great respect told me never to do anything that Our Lady would not do; for, she said, if I did, the angels in heaven would blush. For a short time this advice 'took' in me like an inoculation causing a positive paralysis of piety. It was clear to me that all those things which spelt joy to me were from henceforward taboo ­ blacking my face with burnt cork, turning somersaults between props against the garden wall, putting two bull's-eyes into my mouth at the same time-all that was over! But even if I faced a blank future shackled with respectability, it was still impossible to imagine Our lady doing anything that I would do, for the very simple reason that I simply could not imagine her doing anything at all."
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
This book represents all the Steinbeck books. It really is my favorite of his, maybe. This fall, Curt and I had the opportunity to go to the Steinbeck Museum in Monterrey, CA. They had to drag me out! Sweet Thursday is the sequel to Cannery Row, which I love almost as much... I guess I enjoy the "end of the story" in Sweet Thursday.
"Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass."
"Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there’s time, the Bastard Time."

The Better Part by Fr. John Bartunek, LC
This is my daily companion (on good days!:) The Better Part contains reflections on the entire 4 gospels as well as discussion questions and catechism references. It is a very special book!

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Picking up this book reminded me of those days back in middle school, when I used to go to the "classics" section of the bookstore, look for the thickest, most obscure book I could find and then see if I could read it. I'd get a stack o' books and sit right in the aisle, flipping through pages, reading prefaces, deciding which book to challenge myself with. (can't do THAT with a kindle!) I'm sure people thought I was weird. I think Tolstoy intimidated me even then... if I had even heard of him!  And this book could change your life. I guess you can probably figure out what it's about.
"It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false."
 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
It's just such a good book. I will love it forever. Now that my children are getting older, they love it, too. 
Why everybody liked him was what puzzled Jo, at first. He 
was neither rich nor great, young nor handsome; in no respect 
what is called fascinating, imposing, or brilliant; and yet he was 
as attractive as a genial fire, and people seemed to gather about 
him as naturally as about a warm hearth. He was poor, yet 
always appeared to be giving something away; a stranger, yet 
everyone was his friend ; no longer young; but as happy-hearted 
as a boy 5 plain and odd; yet his face looked beautiful to many, 
and his oddities were freely forgiven for his sake. Jo often 
watched him, trying to discover the charm, and, at last, decided 
that it was benevolence which worked the miracle. If he had any 
sorrow "it sat with its head under its wing", and he turned only 
his sunny side to the world.

I'd love to hear about your favorite book - leave your thoughts in "comments".


Karen said...

Love, love, love Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. :)

SimmonsFamily said...

Hmmm... my favorites? That's a tough one. I will have to check out the Steinbeck books. I've only read The Grapes of Wrath. I will have to think about a top 5 list and get back with you. Think classics, not self-help. Hehe... you know I love my self-help books.