14 October 2010

What I'm Reading...

When one is a reader much time is spent in collecting, maintaining, and getting rid of books.  These activities  reduce the time available for actual reading but books as a tactile experience have been a source of joy to me since...  well, since before I learned to read. 

A number of books from my collection were borrowed and used as decoration at a baby shower for my good friend Tricia. I took the opportunity to rearrange my collections.  All of my children's literature [except for the rabbit books and a few oversized books] has joined my Victorian author collection evelynwhitakerlibrary.org in the antique amoire in the living room.  I've also been adding archival covers to book jackets and decorative covers which somewhat diminishes that lovely tactile experience.
We bought the Eastlake piece while DMP was in the Army stationed in Maryland.  There were really super antique auctions and shops but unfortunately not a lot of money.  I planned to use it in our dining room as a china cabinet but it has spent 32 years in our living room holding our special (or sometimes merely decorative) books. At the same time I bought a similarly styled dresser intending it also for the dining room to hold my collection of table linens and function as a cocktail or beverage buffet. It lives in the guest bedroom/office.  I still have dining room dreams but DMP says that I might as well let go of the vision we saw in a lovely shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  I will never have a dining room to hold that beautiful table for 18 (the dealer said there were 2 additional leaves) with its three sterling silver candelabra. 
A girl can dream...

Oh well, if I spent that much time entertaining, there would be much less time for reading.

Having mined the water on our family farm, we are hoping to reap the wind
I've read and am continuing to read much about wind energy and wind farm contracts.  Windustry.org is one good place to start.   As a family, we've decided to participate in a community wind farm and all of us are excited about the possibility of having an income source even after the water is gone.  My brother, along with his son, has been very helpful and is doing a super job of not only acquiring information and making contacts but of being point man for our family.  After much study and even more talk, we all agreed that it was a "win-wind." 

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
Wright, N.T.: Surprised by Hope.  Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, Harper-Collins, 2008.  This is the book selected for Sunday Bible study in the Open Door class which I'm reading in a digital edition  on Kindle.   My recommendation:  read it, read it, read it. Kindle location 1174  "There are, after all, different types of knowing.  Science studies the repeatable; history studies the unrepeatable....  History is full of unlikely things that happened once and once only." 1209 "Sometimes human beings--individuals or communities--are confronted with something that they must reject outright or that, if they accept it, will demand the remaking of their worldview."  1235 "The most important decisions we make in life are not made by post-Enlightenment, left-brain rationality alone."  1333 "All knowing is a gift from God, historical and scientific knowing no less than that of faith, hope, and love..."  1564 "Creation was from the beginning an act of love, of affirming the goodness of the other..."  1803 "What creation needs is neither abandonment nor evolution but rather redemption and renewal; and this is both promised and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  This is what the whole world is waiting for."   1831 "In our own day the problem is... flat literalism, on the one hand, facing modernist skepticism, on the other, with each feeding off the other."  1856 "Part of Christian belief is to find out what's true about Jesus and let that challenge our culture."  1896  "...if the ascension is true, then the whole project of human self-aggrandizement represented by eighteenth-century European and American thought is brought to heel."  1901 "At this point the Holy Spirit and the sacraments become enormously important since they are precisely the means by which Jesus is present."  2248 "...God's world, the world we call Heaven....  is different for ours (earth) but intersects with it in countless ways, not the least in the inner lives of Christian believers." 2397  "The ascension and appearing of Jesus constitute a radical challenge to the entire thought structure of the Enlightenment (and of course several other movements).  And since our present Western politics is very much the creation of the Enlightenment, we should think seriously about the ways in which, as thinking Christians, we can and should bring that challenge to bear."

Being informed and transformed by reading N.T. Wright, I am very happy with the Christmas card which DMP and I will send this year.  As usual I "preview" the readings for Advent and select Bible verses.  DMP and I select a card and choose a verse.  I love that our card this year will celebrate Jesus' coming to earth not only as the Babe of Bethlehem but as the Redeemer who will bring resurrection and a new heaven and a new earth.  From the 96th Psalm:  "Let the heavens be glad, Let the earth rejoice...  Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for He is coming."

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Perrennial Modern Classics)I continue to nibble at my Annie Dillard reader.  Living like Weasels (1974)  is as nearly perfect as reading gets.   The short essay describes her encounter with a weasel and offers a meditation about choice and necessity.  It concludes:
"I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.  Then, even death, where you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part.  Seize it and let it seize you aloft...  lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles."

SEASONS (a group of women meeting monthly to read and discuss theology): 
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A NovelRice, Anne: Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt. New York:  Ballantine Books, 2005.  A competent retelling of the story richly embroidered with the senses (you can taste the bread, feel the water of the mikvah, smell the smoke of the sacrifice) and the creation of a very believable family dynamic.  I don't care much for this type of fiction and wouldn't have read it if not for SEASONS but I did enjoy and do recommend it.  I plan to donate Out of Egypt to the church library.
Long ago, I considered writing a book on the 1st Century, including the childhood of Jesus, the hidden life of Christ.  Rachel Crying for Her Children was my working title.  The project was put away and forgotten--I often find I satisfy my creative impulses by researching and planning without actually having to write a book.  Probably an indication that I'm better suited to be a librarian than a writer.  I much enjoyed revisiting this material and was pleased to  see in Rice's Author's Note and in the bibliographic materials on her website  many of the sources I had researched.  I will also take a look at a couple of titles which Rice recommended:  the translations of Richmond Lattimore and at John A. T. Robinson:  The Priority of John
                                                                                                            So many books, so little time...