Monday, September 05, 2011

Recent reading

It has suddenly turned cool here.  I'm not complaining mind you, even if the 50s feels like the 30s after our recent heat wave.  Warm and even hot weather is to return but I'm enjoying this peek into autumn by cozying up to my pillow and snuggling under a quilt to read when the gotta do's of the day are done... delightful!

A couple books stand out in my recent reading as both are being read at the same time (with a novel slipped in once in awhile).  Pretty bookmarks hold the space where I last stopped reading in each book.  Last night one was beside me in bed as the other was being read like a mother wanting to give equal attention to two children.  :)

Madeleine L'Engle's Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith & Art has touched me as few books have ever managed to affect my thinking and feeling and pondering.  I adore this book, reading her "reflections" is much like sitting across from her at a coffee shop talking to a friend one has known for years and years. 

Madeleine talks about what it is to be a Christian and an artist (whether a writer, painter, musician, etc.) and the importance of all art to our everyday life.  Her writing helped me to realize why I write (albeit not books), why I am so often thinking of what I want to write, and how God's gifts show up in my life and those around me. 

I didn't read A Wrinkle in Time until I was in my 40s and then thinking it was brilliant.  I think it was a result of Madeleine writing and being interviewed in the original Victoria magazine that I decided to read that particular book and went on to read many others... including the lovely nonfiction book A Circle of Quiet.

I never understood how people could doubt her Christianity and was appalled at a bad Amazon review for this book saying Christians should not read her books because she wasn't their type of Christian.  If anything, this book shares a deepness of faith that is rare in today's world in which many see church as a religious country club. 

I have few things in life that irritate me as much as those who put down another Christian because they don't "do church" the way one thinks they should.  Once we get past the foundational doctrines of the faith, there is room for grace.  (I remember listening to a famous pastor on the radio one day saying all Charismatics fall under that part of the Bible where Jesus says "He never knew them".  As I attended a Charismatic church, I could not believe what I was hearing). 

If you love reading or writing or beautiful art or music or poetry or science or mathematics or God's creation... this book will make your heart sing... written by a true artist about the One True Artist.

I first read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World about four years ago (and even then I think I had perused it quickly before).  I remember at the time thinking it one of the deepest books for Christian women I had ever read.  Not deep as in boring or difficult to understand... deep in how it takes you into a longing for following Christ in all aspects of life.

Joanna Weaver writes much like Madeleine L'Engle in that both make you feel you personally know them and the reading of their books is much like chatting with an old friend.  The subtitle of this book is "Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life" and Joanna is referring to the story of Martha and Mary in the New Testament.

I think the book read like new to me because I used to be more of a Mary but find myself growing into a Martha as I grow older.  I am looking at it from a different perspective (which is why one can read a book over and over and over through the years and have it speak to our soul in new ways... we are ever changing).

Joanna also reminds me of Elizabeth George in that she shares her personal experiences along the path of life and what helped her to become more Christ like (both admitting it is a continuous process throughout our lifetime).  This is an excellent book for the person who desires a deeper walk with Christ and is unsure how to go about it.  Really, really good!

I read a few novels over the past month but the one I liked the most was the new book by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall called Thunder of Heaven (their second Joshua Jordon Novel).  It's a fast paced thriller taking place at the "End of the Age" just before we would see the rise of an Antichrist figure.  The book takes place in the United States and Israel.

Although it is the second book in the series, one could easily read it as a stand alone novel and not miss much.  The first book in the series, Edge of Apocalypse, was decent and does set the stage for the series but this book is far superior. 

Hubby and I both agreed it could well be the best in the entire genre that we've ever read (and I'm a HUGE fan of Joel Rosenberg so that is saying something).  It's a fun "end of the world as we know it" book... if you like that sort of thing.  ;)

Oh, I'll throw in a movie I recently saw on TV.  It was called Amish Grace and it is based on the book about the schoolhouse shooting in which Amish girls were killed.  What a truly wonderful movie about forgiveness and mercy.  Highly recommended.

I'll be back to discuss more favorite reading at another time.  I had to set aside the Recommendations List as my world has been upside down but I do hope to get back to it soon.

Picture: Book Shop;


Terra said...

I admire Madeleine L'Engle too and even have two letters she wrote to me, which was so kind of her. I like the 4 books in her Crosswicks Journals set; you mention one of them, Circle of Quiet.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I first learned of Madeleine L'Engle from Victoria Magazine. I then read A Wrinkle In Time. I thought it was good.

I am not doing as much reading right now, as I usually do, with getting back to school with the kids. I spend my 'free time' online. I think I need to balance this. I need to read.

I missed the Amish Grace movie, but will check it out. We live near where this tragedy happened, and often drive past the location where the school stood. Such a hard time. The anniversary is coming up in a few weeks.

Enjoy your cool weather!

Anonymous said...

It has turned cool here too and I am truly enjoying it! I love to curl up with a good book on days like this (in between loads of laundry). I own Having a Mary heart in a Martha world...I started it but life to busy! Isn't that ironic! But I do intend to get back at it as my spiritual growth has become a priority and I search out books that will help in that process. There is a local pastor here where I live that is distributing flyers that only "his church" is the right one and that everyone else is the apostate church! How he is misleading people is so upsetting! All we can do is pray that the veil be lifted from his eyes and he see the truth. I will try to find Amish Grace on DVD some where! I remember how the news of that event captured the nation! Terrible thing to happen. Enjoyed visiting you today!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Thanks for this...I want to read more autobiographical L'Engle works. What a lady, what a mind.

I just finished reading Nava Atlas' book Literary Ladies in which Madeleine's thoughts figured prominently. I loved getting to know her a little better and will seek out the Circle of Quiet.

All joys (I don't do end of world things and the Amish killings were just too much for me to bear),


Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

Enjoyed hearing about what you're reading these days.

It's only in the last couple of years that I read A Wrinkle in Time (really enjoyed). Have enjoyed Madeleine's other writings too over the years.

Don't think I ever mentioned to you that finally, upon your lovely recommendations and reading lists, I was able to track down some Elizabeth Goudge. Found Pilgrim's Inn and loved it. So I went in search of some of her other books and have yet to sit and read these.

Wishing you lots of happy reading hours!

Bess said...

Have read A Circle of Quiet and Having a Mary Heart and really liked them both ... did a presentation to my women's group at church on Having a Mary Heart a few years ago, and it was well-received. I need more time to read all those good books out there!!! Bess

marymakesmusic said...

We just finished A Wrinkle in Time as a family over the summer. You make me want to read her other works now. I love JoAnna Weaver, too ~ and thank you for the other book recommendations!