Bookworm

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

For this Daily Prompt idea I wanted to write about one of the last books I read, Why is the Human on Earth? by Mark Ballabon. A friend recently gifted this book to me after describing how much she has enjoyed it since she first read it several years ago. I am fortunate to have a copy, as I believe it is currently out of print. I love this book for many reasons. One reason is that to get the most out of it, you have to actively read it. In my opinion, the best way to read this book is very slowly- thinking about each contemplation after you finish it. Though, I confess, the temptation to hurry through it was great for me because I wanted to see where the author was going to go next.

The book is designed to appeal to different senses and creative preferences. Each chaper is called a contemplation. Each contemplation uses a combination of pictures, poetry, writing, and exercises to help the reader fully explore all the ideas offered by the author. As of this writing, the contemplation that resonates with me the most is the fourth. This contemplation is about contributing and adding to life, which is a very different message from what our culture tells us should be our focus. I have several friendships for which I am very thankful. These friends (and they know who they are as they read this) have given so much of their lives to me, and have made me a better person as a result.

This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read, and I recommend it to anyone who regularly examines his/her life. I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone who has read it.

The poem connected to contemplation four:

The light softened

the talk eased

the pain of trying to be something else retreated

We sat and looked at each other- softly, kindly

through the yes of no difference

and a longing for peace of mind

One woman, one man

many worlds to discover

many thoughts to feel

many hurts and wonders

to understand

And suddenly

the stillness shone

a ruby light

upon a jewel of knowing

that we could heal each other’s worry

and preying pain

simply through the gift

we gave each other

of listening

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2012 Books In Review

I didn’t read quite as many books this year as I have the past few years. The best new book I read this year was The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. This was Shaw’s debut novel, and I read it on the recommendation of my friend, Jane. It is a wonderfully well-written love story/fairy tale/myth hybrid. I highly recommend this book, and Shaw is an author I will look forward to reading in the future.

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2012 also gave me a book quest of sorts. I read somewhere about a book titled Winter In Maine by Gerard Donovan. The book was published, as best I can tell, sometime between 2008-2009. The only copy I have found is in German, which I unfortunately cannot read. If anyone finds this book in English, I would love to know. Also, if any of my friends reads German and would like this book, email me and we’ll work something out. Meanwhile, I will continue my search.

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Honorable mention goes to Strong Is Your Hold by Galway Kinnell. This is a book of poetry that will be the next new book I read, whether it is 2012 or ’13. (I am reading two books right now, and I am a slow reader). This book is special to me because it was given to me as a gift by my dear friend, Tosha. I love poetry, but do not tend to read much of it. One of my reading goals for 2013 is to read more poetry.

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So, these are a few books that stood out to me over the last twelve months. Have you read anything good lately? Or this year?

“The Water Is Wide”

This summer has been a busy one for travel for me. I usually have a couple of trips during the season, but have had more than usual lately. Typical summer trips for me include drives across Georgia and Mississippi to visit family. I had those, and two more trips that I thought I would take a few minutes to recap.

The most recent was an opportunity to see one of my favorite artists in concert. As an early birthday present, I got tickets to see Norah Jones in Atlanta. I had never seen her live before, so that was a fun experience that I hope to have again soon.

I also took a long weekend and drove to South Carolina with my parents and brother. We spent two days in Myrtle Beach and a day and a half in Charleston. Both towns were nice, but Charleston was especially enjoyable. I definitely want to visit it again soon as there is much more I want to see there that I didn’t have time for this trip. I may write more about that trip in the future. But for now I want to switch to a different topic.

On the subject of South Carolina, the last book I read is “The Water Is Wide”- a book about the short teaching experience of native son, Pat Conroy. He is, of course, known for his fiction. But after deciding to read a Conroy book along with my friend, Tosha, this one caught my eye.

I was interested in his experiences as I am a teacher by education. One of the things that resonated deeply with me is his concern for the students in his class. My only experience so far teaching is as a student-teacher and substitute teacher. But even in those situations I found myself longing to be a positive influence in their lives, and to do my best to spark a love of learning in them.

I certainly cannot give a wholehearted endorsement of Conroy’s teaching methods and his tone with his students. But some of you who work with students might find something interesting about the book. As always, I hope you all are doing well and I look forward to hearing from you. Keep cool!

Books

My inspiration for this post comes from the Friends of the Library Old Book sale that happens here every Spring. I’m pretty sure I have heard that it is one of- if not the- biggest book sales in the southeastern US. This year is significant because it is in a new, bigger site. It happens over four days and I usually visit at least two or three times, to give myself the best chance of not missing something I would love.

I love books. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom reading to my brother and me. I also remember spending lots of time in the library during the Summers picking out and reading books as part of the Summer reading program. Reading a certain amount of books won you prizes. I don’t remember any of the prizes. But many of the books remain fresh on my memory. “The Fox and the Hound”, “My Side of the Mountain”, The Hardy Boys books. These were a few of my favorites when I was a child. I have always had very bad allergies, which have limited the amount of time I could play outside and not be miserable. So, reading has always given me enjoyment since I can do it anywhere.

I enjoy books as entertainment and as tools for learning. In college, I had to read and write a lot. This was fine by me as I do not do many things well, but I love to read and consider myself a fairly good writer, too. (I suppose you can judge that for yourself as you read my blog. But I digress. . .) My first job after college was as a bookseller. And, as I have mentioned in a few previous blog entries, my chosen career is in academics. It seems that whatever stage I am in my life, books play an important role. One of the things I want to do in my career is to try to inspire a love of books and learning that my parents, teachers, and professors encouraged in me.

Whenever you ever read a book that you enjoy and you can’t wait to tell somebody about it, I would love to hear about it. Taking about books is one of my favorite things. I’ll do the same for you. That is one of the things I miss most about not working at the bookstore. We might not have the same taste in books, but we can share our love of books.