Journal, Monthly Book List

October’s Harvest

Sometimes I feel a bit odd posting the books I’m reading, but the feedback I get keeps me continuing this ritual. The titles I offer are not necessarily my top recommendations for others, but simply an account of my own reading trails. I hope they encourage some readers in new or different directions.

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. This was my book club’s novel for our meeting in October. I had read the book 15 years ago, and confess I found it difficult to read then. It is supposedly Lewis’s personal favorite of the books he wrote. This time I felt the book opened up many, many insights for me, and was also an intriguing tale.

The Plain Princess by Phyllis McGinley. This is a modern fairy tale, in other words, of modern invention and with some modern expressions, written in 1947 and beautifully illustrated by Helen Stone. It was a charming account of a princess who had everything, except looks, with all the classic elements of a classic fairy tale—a great tale for those little pouters in your home.

For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin. I have had this book on my “want to read” list for years since Nicole Williams of raved about it to me and which she uses as the living book in her high school physics guides. Through, I was able to finally read it and was riveted. I keep reading books in the area of physics in hopes of gaining more knowledge and found this one broke through many barriers for me. Lewin’s enthusiasm for his field is absolutely contagious and his style of communication makes many difficult principles and theories clear.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. How could I get through a year without at least one Dickens novel? I have started and abandoned this one several times and finally forced myself to persevere. It wa a treat, completely written for enjoyment and had me chuckling and even giggling in places. There is none of the description of wretched Victorian England in this one, just lots of comedy as several bachelors form a club and have many hilarious adventures.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. This is a little book with a big punch. If you ever grapple with making your worship on Sunday coherent with your busy and often incoherent every day life, this book is a simple and most practical gift. We all struggle in this frantically paced living today. How do we remember God, pray constantly, recognize His presence in the midst of rushing to our appointments, losing our keys, fast food, kids schedules, and need for relationship and quiet? Where can we change to keep up and stay connected? This is probably one of the most helpful books I have read this year.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). Don’t judge a book by its movie. I saw the movie with Redford and Streep and hesitated to invest time in the novel as a result. The book, unlike the movie, does not delve into her personal or romantic life at all. In fact, it is a perfect geography book for your middle to high school readers. Her skillful prose weaves a vivid picture of life in Kenya between the world wars when the author, a Danish baroness, lived on a coffee plantation. It describes the customs, scenery, landscape, animals, clothing, food, and simplicity of life there in an unforgettable way.

Shadows on the Grass by Isak Dinesen. This was included in the volume I read, so I went on to read her further memories of early days in Africa, published toward the end of her life, but with the same clarity and brilliance of the earlier sketches of life in Kenya.

For the joy of reading,