This summer I spent time reading. I used to be an avid reader. As a child I would read a novel a day or more. But as I've gotten older, life seems to creep in, knitting takes over and I put down the books. I posed the question, "What should I read?" on facebook and got some great suggestions, all which I heeded.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy- a dark apocalyptic tale of a father and son and their journey through the land after some type of cataclysm which has destroyed most everything. Man's sin nature is brought to light as they dodge evil-doers along the way. They are the "good guys", though the father exhibits his own struggle with doing good. I found it dark, though interesting.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson- the account of the author's hike on the Appalachian Trail. I was disappointed to see that he didn't actually start at the beginning and hike the whole way, but got on and off and skipped portions, that being an accurate picture of how many hikers approach it. He is funny, full of factual information about the trail and the towns along the way. He was very heavy handed in his discussion of evolution, which I personally found annoying. The chapter on bears and how to avoid them was classic. A fun and informative read, but not a 5 star by any means.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See My daughter is Chinese and I find myself drawn to books about China and Chinese women. It is the story of two sisters living a life of privilege in Shanghai in the 1930's. Through a turn of events they come to America and enter arranged marriages. The history of Chinatown in Los Angeles, the struggle to blend in a new country while still embracing their own culture and devotion to family make it an interesting read.
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry- "This is the story of my life, that while I lived it weighed upon me and pressed against me, and filled my senses and overflowing and now it is like a dream dreamed...this is my story, my giving of thanks." Hannah Coulter tells her story and it is a lovely one, rich with observations concerning love, grief and family. I look forward to reading more from Wendell Berry.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson- the story of the life of Reverend John Ames, dying of a heart condition and recording his memoirs for his young son who will soon be fatherless. It is a slow, soothing read and full of beauty. I loved this book. Here are some memorable quotes:
"These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice."
"Rejoice with those who rejoice." I have found that difficult too often. I was much better at weeping with those who weep."
"Any father...must finally give his child up to the wilderness and trust to the providence of God. It seems almost a cruelty for one generation to beget another when parents can secure so little for their children, so little safety, even in the best circumstances. Great faith is required to give the child up, trusting God to honor the parents' love for him by assuring that there will indeed be angels in that wilderness."
So that is my "what I read this summer" report. What have you read lately? I'm always looking for a new good book.