Friday, November 02, 2007

I am, literally, awash - in books. Library books, newly purchased books, e-books - old, used books. The stack of books beside the bed climbs inexorably towards the top of the mattress, - teetering a little when I climb into bed (literally, - we have a very high bed).

I have filched this problem solver from a crazily practical blog with an abundance of creative decorating ideas, and have bookmarked the blog for leisurely perusal.

It does have its drawbacks for a before-sleep reader, - what if you change your mind about what you want to read to put you to sleep tonight? Do you have to lean precariously from the bed and undo those darned straps before you can knock the whole thing on the floor looking for the book that appeals. This strap idea calls to my "company eyes" that I don when I want to make a good impression, housewise, - but to mine own careless self I prefer to go unbound.....

Enough of quantity, - what about content?

Well, first of all I am almost finished a John Mortimer book which husband recommended for a relaxing sleep time book, - "Quite Honestly". The excerpt from The Independent review confines itself to a line about John Mortimer - 'an institution....wise, endearing, quixotic and delightfully entertaining' - and anybody who has read his Rumpole books would have to agree.

The Daily Mail comments that 'John Mortimer's triumph has been to immortalize the supremely dark and dotty world of the criminal justice courts so that some kind of moral order shines through its parade of innocents, fools and evil-doers'. I would like to think that this is a believable description of the courts and the world of crime, but sometimes I think it is darker than John Mortimer portrays, and it is difficult to find any shining moral order. Which makes one wonder if books such as this contrive to an ostrich-like acceptance of what goes on in the world today Is thievery really romantic.? Ah well, I am being too sober and responsible about the whole thing, I guess, - after all, I presume John Mortimer was not writing a Moral Tome, but meant this book to relax and entertain.

Also on the go is an interpretation on the Book of Mark by Richard I. Deibert. It concentrates on the Mystery of Jesus Christ, and the book was assigned as an accompaniment to a Bible Study, leading into the season of Advent. So the book will unfold weekly, - although I am not known for waiting to read from chapter to chapter, or page to page, but am a great 'peeker ahead'. I have even been known to read the last page when the prospect of reading through the whole book looms too dull (not relevent to this particular book).....

Growing more and more incensed with the strident Christian bashing books by such as Hitchen and Hedges, I sent away to Chapters to purchase the book by Dinesh D'souza, 'What's so great about Christianity'. So far I have only read a list of the contents - albeit eagerly. This list brings to mind some of the books that sit on the bedside shelves, and were part of my earlier reading life, - de Chardin, C.S. Lewis, J.B. Phillips, Jane Mossendew and Alan Paton, amongst others, and I am anxious to begin... (in balance I must admit that earlier reading also included Bishop John Robinson and other writers who supported the God is Dead movement, and I also must confess that for a time they had influence in my spiritual life, alas....)

For pure delight I have, from the library, Alexander McCall Smith's new Isabel Dalhousie mystery, 'The right attitude to Rain'. I love his writing, - it is elegant, yet down to earth, - and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is charming, and yet profound.

Yesterday, whilst at the library, I picked out two wonderful knitting books by Debbie Bliss'Simply Baby' and 'Special Knits'. Both feature knitting for babies, like new great grandchildren already here, and great grandchidren on the way who make Great Grandma's fingers itch to knit little things for little beings.

I do this while listening to E-books, which brings me to the next area of over-abundance.

My OverDrive Media program is chock-a-block with the five books allowed, and I fear another Hold will become available before I can get one finished and ready to be removed from my computer. Anthony Trollope is fated to go back, unfortunately unread. But you can be sure I will put another hold on the Barchester Tower series, and hopefully I will have enough sense to order it when I am not already overwhelmed.

At the moment I am knitting a pretty fuzzy pink scarf, and listening to 'Anxious Souls will Ask' by John Matthews, and 'I Feel Bad about my Neck' by Nora Ephron. Waiting in the wings is Alice Munro's new book, 'View from Castle Rock'.

John Matthews explores the future of Christianity, and the anxiety with which Christians are beset as they experience great changes in their churches and in the morality of the world at large. It deals largely with the life of Deitrich Bonhoeffer, and his Christ centered spirituality. I am only half way through it, and await anxiously to fully understand Bonhoeffer's reflections, his philosophy and his beliefs regarding the future of Christianity, (which, John Matthews states, he was not always successful in conveying to the lay person because of the theological language he used) and how they relate to present day anxieties..

Bonhoeffer wrote from prison to Eberhard Bethge , on the 16th of July, 1944..

"Anxious souls will ask what room there is left for God now; and as they know of no answer to the question, they condemn the whole development that has brought them to such straits."

His belief that God should be the Centre of our lives, rather than a peripheral Being whom we perhaps consult on Sundays, when we are sick, when we are weak or when we are in dire straits,
presents a challenge to present day Christians and Churches.

On the lighter side Nora Ephron explores the years that women have to put up with scrawny wrinkled necks, or necks with dumpling chins and she also goes on to berate the habit purses have of collecting old stubs, bills, bobby pins, etc. etc. - a subject dear to any Husband's heart, I'm sure.

I know that it will be wonderful to listen to Alice Munro's short stories, and I can hardly wait, - but in the meantime it is eleven o'clock and I haven't even put the laundry on or opened the pantry door with 'good intentions'.

This morning Husband is out, and with Frank's help putting the finishing touches to renewing the paint and fixing the Bell in the Bell Tower he had removed from the roof of the Church to enable the new shingling. A long and convoluted sentence, but it explains why I have lingered so long here babbling on about my literary problems.......


Willo said...

Oh, I so loved reading about your high bed and your book stack. It made me feel so, so ... well more normal.

Your reading list is something I may go back to occasionally. Of course after I have read my way through the stack beside my own high bed.

Some day I must measure it. Both he and I have to resort to a stool to get into our 'tree house' bed.

Jerry said...

If you found this book intriguing, you will definitely enjoy reading My Stroke of Insight - a Brain Scientist's Personal Journey" by Jill Bolte Taylor, and her talk on TED dot com about her stroke which is an 18 minute talk you Must Not Miss! (there's a reason it's been forwarded friend to friend millions of times!). When you read the book and see the TEDTalk, you'll understand why this Harvard brain scientist was named Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People. Her unique experience, combined with her perspective as a neuroanatomist, and her sensitivity and awareness (not to mention beautiful writing style!) has produced something so powerful and so revolutionary that I think it's going to become a transformational movement in itself. Oprah also did four interviews with her (that I was able to download on the Oprah website) that are also worth checking out. I am trying to share Dr Taylor's story with as many people as I can because I truly believe if everyone saw it the world would be so much better and people would love one another and no longer fight.