(Accidental) Summer Hiatus

September again. I read two books out of the four on my reading list–the Wilberforce biography and My Antonia.

My Antonia was lovely: I read it during a weekend when just my dad and I were home, and I did nothing else, really, except talk some and cook some and play the piano. Willa Cather painted a couple of her characters so well that I feel I’ve known them in real life: Jim’s grandfather with his crinkly white beard and piercing blue eyes, and solemn kindness; Jim’s grandmother, walking slightly bent but with alertness and a determined step. Mr. Shimerda, gazing worshipfully at the Christmas tree with haunting, sorrowful gaze, and Antonia.

Antonia is almost like the landscape, itself a character in the story. Honest, open, kind–and terribly vulnerable, Antonia doesn’t really change, though others around her do. Jim changes, and when he visits Antonia and her children, you see how he appreciates the constancy of Antonia, certain as the prairie sun, setting wide and orange on the red grass. She hasn’t changed, not really.

Read the book for sunsets and sadness and for Antonia, because I’m not Willa Cather and I can’t summarize how she writes.

The Wilberforce book was good and inspiring because of William Wilberforce and what he made his life stand for, but Metaxas did the thing again where he went off a bit too long on his own metaphors. But I would probably do the same thing, so I still recommend the book.

In other news, my garden is full of weeds, and the blueberry bushes I was nurturing are utterly dead. I quit Twitter and haven’t missed it in the slightest. I visited yesterday with some people who knew me when I was an infant, and I took communion in the pews where I sat as a five-year-old, in awe at the grown-ups around me murmuring the Lord’s Prayer in reverant harmony.

My dear friend asked me to marry him, which means that someday maybe I’ll get to write that letter to Aglet about “How I Met Your (Future Hypothetical) Grandfather,” after all:)

I hope to get back to writing something regularly, regardless of how many read it.
Thank you for reading.
<><Jo

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Summer 2018 Reading List

I’ll try to keep this simple. Minimal rambling:)

I’ve been overly ambitious with reading lists in the past, but I know myself better now. So I’ve picked three or four books I want to read this summer and I’m giving myself plenty of leeway for re-reading Orthodoxy or anything by Nicholas Carr about transhumanism.

What I want to read:

  • Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, by Eric Metaxas

I’ve read another book by Metaxas and for the most part I like his style. He’s a good biographer, and thus far into Amazing Grace he’s referenced William Cowper twice and mentioned Chesterton once. So I’m excited to keep reading.

  • My Antonia, by Willa Cather

I read this a while ago, but I didn’t understand it at all, just found it moving and beautiful. I want to read it again when I might understand it better. I want to read it again to see the red sunset on the plains and feel the ache of loving the land.

  • Phantastes: a Faerie Romance for Men and Women, by George MacDonald

“I was dead, and right content.” If you like lovely, rambling prose and a new adventure on every page, read this book. It’s another re-read, but I need to be refreshed–and this is the kind of fiction that refreshes your soul and prompts you to go deeper into real life, rather than escaping from it. It’s a wonderful story.

  • The Stargazer’s Handbook, Sweetwater Press

I’m going to read about constellations and study up so that when my stargazing buddy gets back, I can find more in the sky than Orion, the Pleiades, and Cassiopeia. I want to wonder, and maybe knowing more about the largeness of the sky and the smallness of me will help!

I told you I wasn’t ambitious. This is the smallest reading list I’ve ever made for a summer. You better finish this list, Jo.

I’m also interested in any recommendations you may have. What are you reading?