The Book Baton...
Leonie challenged me to take up the baton and fill out this questionaire on books.
One book that changed your life? Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The very simple notion of keeping a gratitude journal changed the way that I experienced my days: always looking for something for which to give thanks. Finding the abundant blessings that life pours out on me. Keeping track of what brings me joy. Eating with gusto. Creating a home that nurtures and nestles us. Good stuff.
One book you have read more than once? Mistress of Spices. A beautifully told love story between two most unlikely lovers. I swooned at her descriptions of her beloved Raven.
One book you would want on a desert island? "How to make gourmet meals out of sand and salt water." Seriously, I'd want my Bible and my journal.
One book that made you laugh? Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. She tells the story of her pregnancy and the first year of her son Sam's life. She's a great writer, and this book established her as a deeply devoted and disturbed mother.
One book that made you cry? Thomas Merton's Learning to Love. He was a monk who fell in love with a nurse following knee surgery. Their love affair was passionate but short-lived. His love for her was profound and exquisitely described in this volume of his journals.
One book you wish had been written? I don't completely understand this category, so I will interpret it as "One book I wish I had written." My answer: Living by The Word by Alice Walker. It's a fantastic expose of why she writes, what motivates her, the topics and people that move her to put words on paper. One of the essays in this book served as the impetus for me to grow my dreadlocs.
One book you wish had never been written? The DaVinci Code. Too much attention has been given to a book that has a light-weight plot and a few page-turning chases around Paris.
One book you are currently reading? Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I like her style, the way she makes the daily business of life - homemaking, cooking, even cleaning - sacred somehow. It's more than just taking away the dust; it's treating our homes with tenderness. Treating ourselves with tenderness. And giving those who live with us a safe place to rest and be renewed.
One book you have been meaning to read? Spinning Words into Gold. My own words (in the form of journal entries and blogs) have been included in this book. So what am I waiting for???
One book you loved as a kid? I loved the Pippi Longstocking books. Her red hair, her striped tights, her crazy adventures. I wanted to know her and have her as a friend.
One book you loved in school? As a student at Williams College I was introduced to the writing of Alice Walker. I remember running down Spring Street in Williamstown to the local bookstore to buy every one of her books. It was Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful that turned my head and heart towards home. I couldn't believe how well she described my thoughts, feelings, dreams, and hopes as a young African-American woman. I had no idea such books existed until one of them appeared on a course reading list. Alice Walker is one of the best writers I've ever fallen in love with.
One book that is your all time favourite? The Way of the Traveler. It is a small book that has challenged me to think of every journey, whether it is to the supermarket or Spain, as a journey towards spiritual and emotional growth. Preparation, packing, the ceremony of stepping out the door, acknowledging that every part of the journey is just as it should be - all of these issues and more are covered in this book. My journaling has changed. My picture taking has changed. The way that I pack and what I pack have changed. The gathering of gifts and momentos has changed --> all as a result of reading this book. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who travels. If this book doesn't change the way that you move around in the world, I will give you your money back!
A few additional comments:
- I would be remiss to not mention a few of my favorite authors. Their books didn't fit too neatly into any of these categories, but I wanted to mention them anyway. I have enjoyed everything I've ever read by Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, SARK, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Max Lucado, Kathleen Norris, Marlene Schiwy, Lauren Winner, Isabel Allende, Paolo Coelho, and Leonie Allan.
- A college buddy wrote An Empire of Women and The Bad Boy's Wife. I loved both of those novels.
- Interpreter of Maladies is one of the best books I've ever read. Short stories that blew me away.
- Sap Rising is another great book of short stories.
- I read lots of non-fiction: Codependent No More brought me up and out of one of the worst depressions of my life. I still pull it out when I feel myself sliding into the abyss of self-pity. Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh on how to live a life of peace in a terribly violent world. Expecting Adam on the challenges of pregnancy when you know your child is not going to be "normal." The Dog Listener on how to train your dog before it trains you.
- Last but not least, as I read through Leonie's blog (www.leonielife.com/journal) for the first time, the one that prompted me to do this book blog, I realized that the Bible fit every one of these categories for me. Sometimes it lifts me up. Sometimes it makes me feel inadequate. Sometimes I laugh. At other times I cry. It has changed my life. I have read it often. The way that it is often misread and misused has made me sometimes wish it had never been written. I loved it as a kid. I loved it in school. I'm reading it now. I mean to read it as long as I live.
Thanks for the challenge, Leonie.
Update on the tooth extraction: It took longer for the novacaine to numb the roof of my mouth than it did for the doctor to pull the tooth out. A few head wags to the right and left, a crushing sound, and out it came. I'm on a narcotic painkilling drug caled Lortab, so I won't be driving for the rest of the day - which is fine with me. Truthfully, I'm kinda liking the buzz. I'm looking forward to spending the rest of the day in bed sleeping it off. I hope I don't choke on the gauze that is filling the gaping hole in the back of my mouth.
Please forgive any spelling or grammatical mistakes. This drug is mighty powerful. Blurring my speech and my vision. Call me if you want a hit...