About four years ago I heard a great interview on the radio. The most energetic and interesting guy was being interviewed about his newly published book concerning his memories as a Vatican City Swiss Guard. Everyone involved with the interview was enjoying themselves so much and the questions and answers were so interesting that I had to buy the book.
Widmer shares his memories of John Paul II and the examples of leadership he learned during his time serving the pope many already refer to as “John Paul The Great.”
I love reading. The idea of not being able to put a good book down, finding a new series to dive into, swapping stories of great reads with complete strangers… I love it all.
When I came up with the idea of blogging about doing something new every day this year, one of my categories I cooked up that got me the most excited was the Book of the Month. Unfortunately, now I am being reminded… daily… why I never read very much anymore. It is just a hard activity to wedge in daily, even just one monthly book. I am lucky to be part of many fabulous groups- family, extended family, church, schools, neighborhood, etc. Wonderful people and a home that all keep me hopping. I can’t complain, I can only praise and be thankful.
But, I do miss reading.
I sat down for the first time this month to start to read my book for the month– “Hild,” by Nicola Griffith. Several chapters in, and this is proving to be a good read. I could use a good dictionary of Old English/Old Scottish/Various Other Lost Languages of the Island…
This novel could use a glossary.Correction- this novel has a glossary, and it also has a fabulously responsive author! Nicola Griffith, thank you for commenting that not only is there a glossary in the back as part of the author’s notes, but there are extras available on your blog here on WordPress- NicolaGriffith.com/2014/02/24/hild/
Getting greedy this month, I’m hoping to finish two books. I used to finish some books in two days, then I got a job, got married, and had kids. I like to tell myself I traded in one kind of crazy fun (hours of non-stop reading, woo-hoo!!) for another (grading papers, saying stuff like “don’t lick your brother’s hair!”**)
This month I’m reading two books, and one has to get back to the library before the end of July or I get late fees. I hate late fees, but always end up owing them to the library… I nobly tell myself “it isn’t a fine, it is my donation to a fine institution” to take the sting out of my day-late-dollar-short character.
So, this month I want to read “Hild” by Nicola Griffith, a novel about a 7th century saint… what might her life and times had been like? A lot of research and a ton of imagination went into this story, and I am really looking forward to reading this book. (Photo at left is from Amazon.com and links to their page)
“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves His children. Paulo Coelho The Alchemist p.103
What a nice, uplifting, positive book! A fast read, but deep. Pick this book up to join Santiago, the Andalusian shepherd boy as he travels from Spain to the Pyramids of Egypt to discover his treasure.
Here’s quite a Life Nugget, if this doesn’t sum up what it feels like to start making your own decisions in life, I don’t know what does: “He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” (p. 68)
So, keep making those good choices. You know which ones they are- the healthy ones. All the little good choices you make are like streams of goodness leading to your river of what is your very own ocean Overall Good. Been making bad choices lately? Little choices that are not healthy? Big ones, maybe? They are draining your ocean of Good. Fill yourself with what is good. Be carried away by currents of goodness.
One of my most favorite parts of the adventure is the story that the alchemist tells Santiago just before the two part ways (page 156 in my book) and begins with these words: “I want to tell you a story about dreams,” said the alchemist. The boy brought his horse closer…” My. Favorite. Part. If you have the book, go look it up, right now!
And my favorite line from the book: “Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” (p.58)
Does Santiago’s quest end with riches and treasure, as the Gypsy woman, the king, and the alchemist all suggested? You have to read the story to find out. One of my last favorite lines from the book was this:
“(Because) wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”
The Girl had to read Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” as a freshman English summer assignment. She racked up several more novels over her high school career and frankly, I probably have not read half of them myself even though I have been quite a reader over the years. The Boy received his summer assignments recently and once again, “The Alchemist” is on the list. There’s got to be something to this story if both of my kids have had to read it…
Originally published in Portuguese in 1988, and almost thirty years later, I am looking forward to traveling the pages along with Santiago the shepherd boy as he searches for treasure in his adventures. I love a good adventure!
I just need to get it read quickly because when The Boy finds out, he’s surely going to decide that he needs to begin his summer assignment…
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” C. S. Lewis, from “The Screwtape Letters”
I finally finished a book that I started several years ago. Can I perhaps tempt you to read it, too? (LOL… OK, I’ll stop). In “The Screwtape Letters,” Lewis provides much food for thought, and the main thought of the book is Temptations.
C. S. Lewis, well know for his Narnia series, is almost as famous for his theologic essays and stories. In “The Screwtape Letters,” we read correspondences between the earthly tempter and demon “Wormwood” and his under-worldly advisor, “Screwtape.” The whole of the story focuses on Wormwood’s need for advice as to how to best lead his assigned human astray from “The Enemy,” God.
In one letter, Screwtape shares with Wormwood: “…as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, ‘I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.'” This really struck me, and I stopped reading to think… reminded of how the modern screen conveniences, in particular, allow me to become easy pickings for my own personal demons. Good grief, that could be me looking back at all the hours I spend wasted in front of a TV, smartphone, or computer. Sobering, to say the least.
Screwtape then closes this letter with what many of us will recognize (in reverse, of course)… how many times have you heard this idea preached from the pulpit? Or maybe you’ve read it in a book:
“But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”
Ever start a good book but never get around to finishing it?
“That’s just crazy talk,” say all the bibliophiles. I know, I know…crazy!
The first time I picked up C. S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” life just got in the way of my finishing it. I still have the book and intend on starting over from Chapter 1 tonight.
This time I picked up the book, I noticed to whom it was dedicated: J. R. R. Tolkien.
Happy reading, all!
“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”