Wednesday, June 5, 2019

An Open Book: Welcome to Summer!

It's summertime, and I have not been reading as much since I've gotten swept up into the busyness of various activities. I've also been reading several books at once, which means that none of them get finished! But, there are a few fascinating books that I have read lately, and I just NEED to tell you all about them. 

Make sure to check out Carolyn Astfalk's An Open Book link-up for even more reading recommendations! 

Handling the Truth: On the writing of memoir, by Beth Kephart.
This was a beautiful reflection both on the author's experience of teaching classes on memoir and what constitutes a good memoir/how to write a memoir. Kephart's prose is GORGEOUS and this was a delight to read. I'm not planning on writing a memoir anytime soon, but as someone who likes to read memoir, I enjoyed seeing some "behind the scenes" and learning about what characteristics are in a well-written memoir.

Hard Sayings, by Trent Horn.
This is a "Catholic approach to answering Bible difficulties," and with logic, clarity, and wisdom, Horn addresses several assumptions that atheists make regarding the Bible. Even just the first chapter ("The Catholic View of Scripture") makes this book worth picking up, due to the simple and profound presentations that the author makes to show why Catholics read the Bible the way they do. Throughout this entire book, Horn draws from ancient history, atheist criticisms, early Church history, recent Church documents, and the Scriptures themselves to show the consistency of the Scriptures. This was a very insightful, informative book, and I highly recommend it!

The Golden Key, by George MacDonald (and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson).
This was a delightful children's fairy story of a boy who finds a golden key and sets out to discover what the key is to be used for. He journeys with a little girl, Tangle, but eventually they go off on separate paths and encounter various steps of growth in their journeys. I really liked this story, and I definitely want to re-read (and re-read) it-it was a simple story, but it seems like one of those tales which you can really plunge into.The editor's note at the end of the book was fascinating, and discussed different ways to read the story, and various interpretations and views. I loved the simple black-and-white illustrations of the copy I picked up, too. I think it's awful (and mindblowing) that even though I love C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, this was the first time (to my knowledge) that I picked up MacDonald-who was an inspiration for both of them-and so I'll be working my way through a couple of his other fairy stories in the near future, too!

Craftfulness: Mend yourself by making things, by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin.
I love handicrafts, and once even gave a small conference presentation that discussed the value of handicrafts in bringing members of a society together. So, I was really intrigued when I saw this book on display at the library! It took the topic of mindfulness (which seems oh so trendy right now) and bounced off of that to talk about how handicrafts bring greater calm and peace in our lives. The authors brought in their own stories, stories from other people, and a little bit of research. A couple parts of this book seemed a little woo-woo, but for the most part things resonated with me. In fact, this book-while a delightful and quick read-didn't really hold anything too Earth-shattering for me. It was okay, but not anything insanely  memorable. I did, however, appreciate that in many of the chapters, instructions were provided for a basic craft-from bookbinding to weaving to darning-and that there was a book list at the back which has some titles that look very interesting!

The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs, by Tristan Gooley.
Drawing from two decades of expedition experience, the author presents a comprehensive discussion of how we can "read" nature by observing the details. From leaves to the bark of trees to noticing what colors predominate in rainbows, many little clues can help us understand our surroundings and the weather. Gooley also includes anecdotes from his many years of walking in different places. When he mentioned trekking through the Lake District with a friend, the author totally won me over (I mean seriously! Just like the poets of the Romantic Movement!!!). I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish this book right now (I'm a third of the way in), since I keep getting sidetracked (and I've also been bogged down with the details a little bit) but I am definitely going to revisit this in the coming months. 

Thanks for joining me in this literary discussion! 


  1. What a great mix! I'm going to look up The Golden Key right now since I'm not at all familiar with it. Sounds like something my kids would enjoy. (And I would too.) Thanks for linking up!

    1. I hope you enjoy The Golden Key! Thanks for hosting the linkup-I look forward to it every month!

  2. You're the second person to mention "The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs" and despite the fact that my husband is a meteorologist and would totally scoff at me for this, I want to read this one more and more!

    1. I think you would really enjoy it! If anything, it really encourages the reader to be more observant and notice the beautiful world that God has created-all of the little aspects of nature that the author points out are fascinating.

  3. How have I never heard of George MacDonald?! That's so cool he was an inspiration to Lewis and Tolkien. I'll have to check him out. Great hearing about what you're reading, as always!