Monday, June 23, 2014

Books For the Cottage ...

Hi everyone,

I was in the midst of packing this morning when I realized that I hadn't posted my usual summer reading list. Instead, I'll offer you the the titles I'm taking with me to the cottage. I hope something here tweaks your interest:

1.  Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (1997) This wee book is a lovely, joyful collection of meditations and techniques for approaching the art of poetry writing. (And I love the picture on the cover!)

2.  Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy (2013) This "bright story about dark subjects" begins with the main character answering an ad - "Literary Giant seeks young man to push bathchair. Own room in Hampstead, all found, exciting cultural milieu. Modest wage. Ideal 'gap year' opportunity. Apply Prys Box 4224XXC."  This book was placed in every room of the small boutique hotel in London where my good friend, Elaine, spent the last night of her British vacation last year. She says its an easy, moving read.

3. River Flow: New and Selected Poems by David Whyte (Revised edition 2012) This is the description of River Flow copied from its back cover - River Flow contains over one hundred poems selected from five previously published works, together with 23 new poems, including a tribute to an Ethiopean woman navigating her first escalator, a meditation of love and benediction for a young daughter and a cycle of Irish poems that convey a deep love of the land and a lifelong appreciation for its wisdom.

4.  Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor (2014)  This is a spiritual exploration of the positive aspects of darkness from the New York Times best selling author of Leaving Church. She writes: Darkness is shorthand for anything that scares me - either because I am sure that I do not have the resources to survive it or because I do not want to find out. 

If I had my way, I would eliminate everything from chronic back pain to the fear of the devil from my life and the lives of those I love. At least I think I would. The problem is this: when, despite all my best efforts, the lights have gone off in my life, plunging me into the kind of darkness that turns my knees to water, I have not died. The monsters have not dragged me out of bed and taken me back to their lair. 

Instead, I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.

5.  Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd (2014) This is the latest in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series, set in post WW I England. Inspector Rutledge has returned from war suffering from severe posttraumatic stress and the series investigates the usual number of murders and other crimes in tandem with the process of Rutledge's emotional suffering and healing. This edition is set at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, a community I know well from visits with my husband's dear cousin, Evelyn. I will enjoy reading the descriptions of familiar haunts.

That's it for me. Off to finish packing! Again, happy summer to you all!


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