June 30, 2022
Books Read Again.
A Book about Books and Bookstores
Books with Spies and Intrigue
New Books, Old Books
That about summarizes my reading this month, but perhaps you want details.
I read three books over 500 pages and don’t regret one minute immersed in all those pages.
- The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honoree Fannonne Jeffers. The main character Ailey spends summers in a small Georgia town where her mother’s family lived in bondage as slaves. The book explores the complicated history of that family and leads us through the generations, going back and forth in time. As readers we see the results of the trauma, oppression, and cruelty, as well as the resiliency and passion for life. In the middle of the book I wearied of the male dominant-female abused sex scenes, but was glad I didn’t give up reading the book, for there is much to love in these characters and their lives.
- The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. A terrific summer read, which I wrote about in an earlier post this month. https://livingonlifeslabyrinth.com/2022/06/09/book-report-great-circle-by-maggie-shipstead/
- The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. Another terrific summer read, a re-read in my case. I wonder if I read this in the summer the first time around. The title refers to a painting, and each chapter focuses on a specific character, although the main character Penelope, who is the daughter of the painter and a figure in the painting, is never far away. You will love some characters and others, not so much!
Books Read Again
Along with The Shell Seekers, I re-read The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, which is well-worth reading again or for the first time, if you have not yet read it. The book is divided into sections: Birth, Childhood, Marriage, Love, Motherhood, Work, Sorrow, Ease, Illness and Decline, Death. A full and complete life. Daisy Goodwin Flett’s mother, Mercy Stone was raised in an orphanage, the Stonewall Orphan Home, and her father was a stone cutter. Thus the title. The book is Daisy’s witness to herself –there is a reference to her “decoding” her life. Gorgeous writing that is at once lush and understated.
A Book About Books and Bookstores
In Praise of Good Bookstores by Jeff Deutsch. At times obscure and too esoteric for summer reading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being reminded of the gift of browsing good bookstores. The author says there are many types of browsers, including the idler who just wants to while away the hours, the flaneur who meanders through the stacks, observing, loitering, shuffling; the general who sees the stacks as a thing to be conquered; and the pilgrim, who seeks wisdom. Deutsch worked at the famous Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago, which unfortunately no longer exists, but I am grateful I visited it a couple times and left its underground warren of rooms with piles of books for my personal library of spirituality and theology books.
Books With Spies and Intrigue
The Expats and The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone. This author has written LOTS of books, including a brand new one, Two Nights in Lisbon. The Paris Diversion is a sequel to The Expats. At times I didn’t quite follow the plot and at times I didn’t care for the main characters, a husband and wife, both full of secrets. However, I loved the twists and turns–and being in Luxembourg and Paris.
New Books, Old Books.
I’ve already mentioned three of the new books I read this month (The Great Circle–2021; The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois–2021, and In Praise of Good Bookstores–2022). The fourth new book is nonfiction, Bitter Sweet, How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain. Cain’s earlier book, Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012) is on my personal Great Books List; a book that made a difference in how I view myself and my relationship to the world. This book isn’t on that same level, but I identified with much of what she wrote. On her Bittersweet quiz, I scored 8. Above 5.7 means I am a “true connoisseur of the place where light and dark meet.” The book includes excellent chapters on grief and inherited pain.
The Shell Seekers was published in 1987 and The Stone Diaries in 1994. I also read Solar Storms, a novel, by Linda Hogan published in 1995 and Without a Map, a memoir, by Meredith Hall published in 2007. Reading Solar Storms, I felt totally immersed in Native American spirituality. Angel has been separated from her mother, who hurt her physically and emotionally, but she sets out to reconnect. The book is rich in transformation and reconciliation and also the urgency of saving the traditional native way of life. I read a used copy, and I loved seeing what the previous owner had marked as meaningful.
Meredith Hall wrote the luminous novel Beneficence, which I wrote about in a May post. https://livingonlifeslabyrinth.com/2022/05/19/book-report-beneficence-by-meredith-hall-2020/ Without a Map is her stunning memoir of a life that could easily have ended in tragedy or at the very least bitterness, but instead the author is a woman of great compassion and forgiveness. When she was pregnant at age 16 in the 1960’s, she was expelled from school, totally rejected by her parents, and the baby was adopted without her seeing him. Somehow she survived, but life remained challenging for many years. This book helps me understand the insight and compassion she has for her characters in Beneficence.
So that does it for this month: 10 books for summer days.
What did you read this month? I would love to know.
9 thoughts on “Book Report: June Round-Up”
Looks like a good month. I don’t read anything more than maybe 450 odd pages unless it is a really special book. I have got some bigger ones in the pipeline at some point, maybe August when I plan to slow down on the Blog Tours…
Have a great week!
Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog
My round up:
Big books can be daunting, but there is also something enticing about immersing oneself in a BIG book. Thanks for sharing your round-up.
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I can understand that. Another reason I shy away from big books is the physical weight of them. The way I read makes my hands hurt (I don’t like to crack the spine)!!
When I grew up, my mother told me that reading was a waste of time…..I have spent many years overcoming that belief….you are helping me…thanks you
So glad you are overcoming that erroneous belief, and I am delighted to be part of your therapy!
Reading “Birthing the Holy, Wisdom From Mary To Nurture Creativity And Renewal” by Christine Valters Paintner. Christine inspires me as she often does to approach my Catholic background in a way that is personally meaningful to me. Her sharing and deepening of the many names for Mary enlivens my interest in Mary. Christine is a poetic writer whose books and Abbey of the Arts offerings are a spiritual gift. Although I’ve only begun “Birthing the Holy” I will highly recommend it!
I have not read this book by CVP yet, but know eventually I will read this one, too. She is an important teacher in my life, and I am delighted she resonates with you. Thanks for sharing.
You sure devoured a lot of books for June, especially since several were long ones! I didn’t care for Bittersweet; couldn’t get into it at all. The best book I read in June was “When We Fell Apart” by Soon Wiley.
It took me awhile to get into Bittersweet–not nearly as good as Quiet. I don’t know When We Fell Apart–will look into it. Thanks.
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