Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April Book Talk

"In times of storm and tempest, of indecision and desolation, a book already known and loved makes better reading than something new and untitled.  The meeting with remembered and well-loved passages is like the continual greeting of old friends; nothing is so warming and companionable."
The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge

After using great restraint for awhile, I went a little crazy and agreed to review three books in the same week.  So before they arrive, I'm thoroughly enjoying my easy reading.  Not mentioned in this post are books I read and reviewed in April, since I've already shared about them here on the blog.

Included in my reading was a new book, the first two books of a well loved trilogy, a favorite cookbook (borrowed back from my son), and a book about the liturgical time of year called "Ordinary Days" (don't you just love that?), and a Kindle book.

So to begin with, I have re-read all of The Bird in the Tree and the re-reading of Pilgrim's Inn has just begun.  This Eliot Trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge is among my all time favorite reads.  Since I discovered Goudge (thanks to my younger friends Sarah (Clarkson) Fink-Jensen and Lanier Ivester), I have loved reading her books.  Their beauty in the writing is extraordinary.

I have said before that The Bird in the Tree would be a good book for women to read while going through premarital counseling.  For it talks about faithfulness and submitting your own desires for the sake of family in a way that I've never heard put better.  Each time I read it, I'm determined to be even more steadfast in all areas of life.

Pilgrim's Inn was recommended as the book to read first if I wanted to know Goudge's style of writing and it can be read as a stand alone novel.  I think because it was my first love, it remains my favorite Goudge book.  Although just slightly more than A City of BellsPilgrim's Inn reminds us of the importance of home and houses and the affect of Beauty in our lives.

I'm so pleased that many Goudge books are now available in paperback and on the Kindle.  Most of my collection was purchased through the years as I found decent old hardback copies.  Unfortunately, A City of Bells is still not in paperback (which I do not understand) and the newer book is pricey.  However, if you do a search on Amazon, you should be able to find a good price on used original hardbacks.  If not... there is always the library!

The Awakening of Miss Prim was recommended by the former Sarah Clarkson on Instagram (@sarahwanders) and my daughter read it before me.  I actually wrote an Instagram review for this book because so many people had asked me to, having heard about the book.  As I said there, I loved this book, it is one bookish people will enjoy very much.  It has a magical feel about it, and I texted my daughter off and on to chat as I read it.

I mentioned to her that one of the book's underlying themes reminded me of a literary Atlas Shrugged (there was some back and forth about the term literary there).  As you read it, you begin to learn the mystery of this village and if you have read Atlas Shrugged (I loved the story, skimmed the Socialist Ayn Rand rants), you will see what I mean about the two themes being similar.

The only thing I didn't care for was the ending.  I texted Stephanie something like, "Is that it?  Is that the end?".  She said she had texted almost the same words to Sarah.  Having said that, it is still a lovely read and I'm pretty sure the author is setting you up for a sequel.  Either that or she assumes we figure out the ending on our own from the hints she leaves.

The Graces We Remember: Sacred Days of Ordinary Time is part of Phyllis Tickle's Stories from The Farm in Lucy series.  I don't attend a liturgical church but I do enjoy Tickle's writing.  She has a different way of looking at the Christian life than I'm used to and that can be a good thing, opening my eyes to more of Christ. 

We probably don't agree on every theological viewpoint but that's fine, we agree on the most important.  Like I said, her writing is lovely.  This book is sitting by my sofa to enjoy off and on, one chapter at a time (each chapter is self contained).

Jerusalem is the well known cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, the two men both grew up in Jerusalem but didn't meet until much later and now own at least one restaurant together in London.  The reason they didn't know each other?  One grew up in the Arab part of Jerusalem and the on the Jewish side.  Although it is a cookbook, it is also a book full of fabulous stories and photos.

Jerusalem has received numerous awards and I saw it listed as one of the Ten Best Cookbooks (ever) in an article recently.  It is a love story of the food in the Middle East, Jerusalem in particular.  I had given my copy to Christopher when he was interested in learning to cook but borrowed it back to reread the hummus section.  They believe world peace could be achieved through perfect hummus.

Not shown:  My latest Kindle book (that which I slip in my purse and take with me when I know I'm going to be waiting, such as at the doctor's office) is Simply Tuesday by Emilie Freeman.  I bought this Kindle version when it was on sale ($1.99 I believe) months and months ago and I'm glad I did.  It is the perfect Kindle book.  The writing is lovely and each chapter is self contained.  If you think you life is too small, this is the book to read.  (Spoiler alert: you are probably just where God wants you.)

Even with a few review books on the way, I will read the third book in the Eliot Trilogy before setting aside fun re-reading for a short time.  Although I do like having at least one book I'm re-reading handy, just to relax.

Books mentioned in this blog post:

The Bird in the Tree, info... here.

Pilgrim's Inn, info... here.

A City of Bells, info... here. (It is much cheaper to do a search on Amazon for used hardback copies.)


The Awakening of Miss Prim, info... here.


The Graces We Remember, info... here.


Jerusalem, info... here.


Simply Tuesday, info... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate Links.

4 comments:

Deanna Rabe said...

Okay, now I have to search out A City of Bells because I adore Elizabeth Goudge's books and if its your favorite! Wow!

Also the Miss Prim book and the Graces book look great. Too many books, not enough time!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recommendations. I love Elizabeth Goudge, too; so I'm guessing I will like the th "Miss Prim" book. Also, Ottolenghi's cauliflower cake recipe (sort of a quiche) has entered in the permanent rotation around here, it is delicious!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Some of my favorite books, too. Pilgrim's Inn was the first Goudge book I read. My mother belonged to the Literary Guild and I think it was one of theirs.
For some reason I have Plenty instead of Jerusalem. But I have so much arthritis in my hands it hurts to use these huge cookbooks. (Certainly a first world problem.)

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Goudge has become one of my favorite authors. I have just begun The Bird in the Tree! Looking forward to reading the whole trilogy. My top three favorites are City of Bells, Dean's Watch, and Scent of Water (in that order!) I have found many reasonably-priced HB copies of her works in good condition from abebooks.com. Love your book reviews! Hannah Coulter has become a new favorite as well, thanks to your earlier review. -Joy