Friday, October 21, 2011

Recent reading


It has been a long time since I wrote a "reading post" so I'm certain some titles have slipped through the cracks in my memory... which was never all that good but now is pathetic.

Sooo... here goes from the most recent to the farthest which my memory takes me (vacation reading).

Last night I finished Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art by Madeleine L'Engle and yes... it has been on my reading stack for quite awhile.  I really, really liked this book but found myself having to think about what I was reading so I could only get through a little at a time.

Most of it was excellent but there were just a few sections here and there in which I said to myself... "Huh?".   I suppose when I re-read through those sections, I will understand them a little more... or not.  Still... a wonderful book.

The Goudge book I am re-reading is A City of Bells which is one of my very favorites of her books read (so far).  I am at a loss for words in why I love this book so much other than to say it is like a warm hug from a friend who understands what makes me happy.  Of course, the reading of any Goudge book must be accompanied by the sipping of good tea in an English teacup with a scone (or a packaged cookie) on the side.  :)

I have been interested in studying the history of the American Revolution since I can remember but our visit to Colonial Williamsburg peaked my curiosity about Virginia and Virginians of that era.  Of course, I knew it was the largest state (Commonwealth?) and that important Founding Fathers came from the state... but I had mostly studied what actually happened in New England.

Soooo... a little research provided titles to read and one of them was Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement.  It peaked my interest as it was about those who came to Virginia from Europe, the importance of Virginia in the beginning of America, and then their history in moving towards the Frontiers (with an excellent discussion on the two different historical thoughts about what constitutes the American Frontier).

I have found it quite interesting even if it must be read slowly to take in all the facts and figures... and now that it is my only nonfiction book on the reading stack, it will get a lot more attention.  I'm not sure I will read all of it as I'm mostly interested in the chapters leading up to the movement West into the Frontier..

I have visited the East Coast enough to know my part of the United States is still seen by many as a Frontier land.  I think Eastern students were brainwashed by early American maps.  One time Stephanie introduced me to a friend of hers at church and when I told her where I was from, she had a surprised look on her face and said, "You mean people really live there?".

Now, I can understand if we were talking about Wyoming or other places with more land than people but I mentioned we even had cities such as Chicago and Indianapolis and Detroit and Cleveland... but by that time I'd lost her.  It gives a new meaning to the term "fly over country"... sigh.  I still get people who find it hard to believe that Northwestern University is in Illinois and that Notre Dame is in Indiana.  But I digress...

I decided to read Rumors of Water:; Thoughts on Creativity & Writing by L. l. Barkat when it was recommended by Ann Vaskomp.  It is a story of Barkat teaching her own two girls the art of not only writing but seeing life as an artist and creative person.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book very much but with one annoyance.  The book is published with blank pages between the chapters.  I'm not sure what the publisher intended but it made me feel the book was more choppy than it was.  Anyway, it is a good book especially for those interested in children and writing and homeschooling. 

I took a few books with me on vacation but the only book I read through all the way was Amanda Soule's new book The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons which was written with her husband.  I loved this little book!  The Soule's take on everyday living is much the same as mine, it has lots of colorful photos as well as prose and creative projects and a couple recipes here and there.

If you read Amanda's blog, you will already have a sense of the "look" of this little book.  I would have read it through again but I wanted to give it to Stephanie to take home with her.  Only one warning... there is a chapter about teaching your children to meditate which I didn't read at all... not being one who believes in that kind of meditation.  But if you read the blog, you already know they lean into this kind of spirituality.  However, if I remember... that is the only time in the book it shows up and it is easy to ignore for we who lean toward the Evangelical Christian perspective.  This is the kind of book one wants to pull out of a basket and re-read on cold winter nights.

Tea Celebrations by Alexandra Stoddard has been the book which kept me company in the car and while waiting for my husband now and then.  It is a lovely little book about tea and tea time with many stories taken from Alexandra's life.  It is also highly recommended with just the slightest of warnings that... as all of her books which do not deal directly with decorating... it does contain some of her influence from Eastern religions.  Nothing I personally could not overlook and there is so much more to enjoy in her writing.

The only new cookbook I've been perusing is one I found "used" written by John Gonzales, the chef from whom we enjoyed the cooking class-gourmet dinner in Colonial Williamsburg.  It is called Holiday Fare; Favorite Williamsburg Recipes.  It contains numerous Christmas and Holiday recipes as well as pictures here and there of Colonial Williamsburg decorated for the Holidays.

This is an excellent cookbook for the experienced cook who wants to serve special dishes to guests but also for the newer cook who would like to try what one would call "fancier" dishes.  The recipes are well written so they are easy to understand and the dishes are accompanied by photographs of what they are suppose to look like when finished (which I always appreciate).

I have given away most of my "gourmet" cookbooks through the years but this one is a keeper.

Hmmm... it appears I got in more reading than I thought the past couple of months!

Note:  I do plan to work on the Recommendations List when the autumn list of "gotta do's" are gotta done.

Picture:  Book Shop; allposters.com

5 comments:

Vee said...

This is exciting. Haven't read The City of Bells and so am happy to have another of Goudge's books to request from my library loan program.

I just clicked on over to see who Amanda Soule might be. I was surprised. No, I don't read her blog, but I found it an interesting place.

Now I'll imagine you all curled up with a good book, a cup of tea, a teeny-tiny scone, and the cat!

Terra said...

I love peeking into other folks' reading lists, and I wrote down your Goudge title as one I will buy, per your recommendation. I think our gardens and our reading are part of our "autobiography" and show a bit of who we are.

Anonymous said...

I have not read any of these, and several sound very interesting! Thanks for the suggestions.

When my best girlfriend in High School went to visit relatives somewhere in the Midwest, her cousins had all kinds of questions about how we got along with the Indians in Idaho...she really "strung them along" for awhile...and we could not believe that anyone thought there might still be Indian wars going on...we at that time did not even know any Indians (nor did I know I was part Cherokee)!! Funny...thanks for the memory your blog entry brought back!!
Elizabeth in NC

jAne said...

* still haven't read a Goudge book. must remedy that situation. hmpfh.

* for the American Revolution, i strongly encourage you to read 1776 by McCullough! oh, and John Adams by the same author.

* many books are best sifted for diamonds then discard the silt. :o)

Heather L. said...

I am reading Walking on WAter right now too!! My first delve into M L'Engle. Thanks for all the other recommendations. We share many favorite authors -- somehow haven't checked out Amanda's new book yet, nor TEa celebrations. Will "order" a bunch of these (from the library). We just watched a Drive Thru History on Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown last night. I must get to VA someday. Maybe I would like the book you mentioned.