For me, September and October were months of writing. Much of my September free time was spent preparing for the 31 Days series, and then October included filling in the gaps and making the series happen. Lots of discipline and writing and putting myself out there.
And so, because I can’t go on like that in this season of my life, November and December have been more internal months – months of spending my not-at-work time reading, having family time, and preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Quiet lunch breaks with a blanket and a good book – those are at the tip-top of my gratitude list right now.
Silence has felt utterly delicious lately.
And maybe, just maybe, I’m learning to slow down, learning that slowing down is a good thing. Stillness and quietness and reading – that’s what I’m craving this winter, as I told Garret the other night, “I’m tired of TV, and all I want to do is read. Cool?” Heh.
And so, I sat beside him and read about gratitude, while he took an after-work nap (he was getting over strep throat). As it’s finally feeling like winter here in Texas, we turn on the electric blanket, and I curl up with a book that turns my soul towards warmth and truth, and really, that just hits the spot.
So, for your amusement upon seeing my habit of reading too much too slowly, here is a recap of what I’ve been reading:
- Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott: In the past year or so, I’ve started visiting the public libraries more often. (FREE books, y’all! Also, my mom is a librarian, so every library is like a wonderful treasure hunt to me.) This book was literally the first book I’ve finished before it was due. Lamott’s writing is raw and wonderful, and her stories give unique depth and sensitivity to topics like faith and loss. In addition to Bittersweet, and A Million Miles, this book added to my recent love for excellent memoirs. I am one of those people who write all over book margins, so since this one didn’t belong to me, I had to scribble pages and pages of notes from it into a notebook. Bottom line: It’s an easy and inspiring read that I highly recommend.
- Two Part Invention, by Madeleine L’engle: Another library find, and another memoir, this book has been just lovely so far. I haven’t finished it yet, but honestly I’ve been enthralled by how interesting L’engle’s life was. Earlier this fall I’d been hoping to get a hold of some of her other nonfiction books soon, like Walking on Water, but this was also a good place to start. Her thoughts on love and marriage have been really interesting and helpful, and just learning about her life has been enjoyable as well. Who knew that she started out in theatre, for many years, and that her husband was on All My Children!?
- Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God, by Noel Piper (Thanks for the lend, Jenn!): I first read this collection of five biographies back in college in a ladies group with Christine. I’ve wanted to reread it since Garret and I got married, so I put it on the list. I definitely recommend these women’s stories; for me, they help me remember why seemingly monotonous daily devotion, discipline, and action really matter.
- One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: I’ve been moving slowly through this since my mom gave it to me last Christmas, but not because it’s unmoving. It’s the opposite, actually. Each and every chapter gives me a lot to chew on. (And, like I said – I read too much too slowly.) I’m on track to finish it by the new year and I have finally started a gratitude journal, which has been really helpful in fighting off discontentment and general grumpiness. I think Voskamp’s flowery prose is not for everyone, but besides that, this book has a powerful, life-giving, perspective-shifting message of seeing the life and gift in everyday things and tasks, so much undeserved grace everywhere you look.
- The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson: I picked this up in the library because it sounded like a fun novel. I’m about halfway through and I’ve enjoyed the story line so far, but sometimes Dickson’s prose is too much, too thick. So, the jury is still out on this.
- The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle: I was checking out the Madeleine L’Engle website the other day, looking at the amazingly long list of her books, and this title stuck out to me. I discovered that it was a beautiful Christmas book, wished it was a tad cheaper, and filed it in my mind. Then that next weekend at the library, I found it and was pumped! It’s illustrated with with Frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto and tells the story of Christ. I recommend it for unique and lovely Christmas reading.
And… only two of those are on my 25 before 25 list. Fail. I guess I’ll be adding on some bonus books to that list! Or… making some replacements.
So, what have you been reading lately?