Summer is making me so happy because I’m finding more time to read! Between twilit evenings when I can just sit and savor a few chapters and Saturdays I spend baking or painting while listening to an audiobook, I am thoroughly enjoying the extra helpings of literature I’ve gotten this June. Here’s hoping for just as much time to read in July!
Getting to Know Jesus, George MacDonald
I admit, this collection of sermons by George MacDonald took me a while to get through, but it is absolutely worth it. I think any difficulty mostly comes from MacDonald’s 19th-century language and sentence structure and from his depth of thought that can take some time to process (at least for me!). But his insights are rich and refreshing. The last sermon in the collection, “The Giver of Rest,” I read several nights ago, and I just keep returning to it in my mind. Beautiful!
Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars, L. M. Montgomery
Yep, I’ve continued with my reading of Anne Shirley’s eight-book series: four down now, four to go. Full disclosure: I think I’m starting to sense why I fizzled out on this series back in the day when I first started it and quit halfway through. This time around, by mid-book four I began feeling that Anne was in an endless cycle of 1) uniting estranged lovers, 2) rescuing cats, 3) loving forlorn children, and 4) being adored by eccentric old maids with strange names. I think I originally quit reading the series because I got a little weary of this pattern.
I’ve been told, however, that the cycle does break when Anne gets married in book five and has children who start adventures of their own in the later books. So my plan is still to press on and see what new escapades the rest of the series holds. After all, cycle or no cycle Anne’s still a wonderful person, and it’s been delightful getting reacquainted with her as an adult heroine who knows how to learn from her mistakes and keeps on loving life no matter what it sends her!
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
I’ve wanted to read Ishiguro for about ten years, ever since I won a mini online writing contest for teens and the judge said my entry slightly reminded her of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, “in that there’s heartbreak just under the surface.” Didn’t really have a clue what that meant, and for whatever reason, I’ve never gotten around to reading his work until now, finally.
My sister recommended The Remains of the Day, frankly I thought its synopsis sounded rather boring, but I trusted her and read the book. It proved far more intriguing than it sounded! The novel follows an aging butler as he travels on a little holiday and remembers events from his life in the household of an English lord between the world wars. Underneath his rambling narration is this soul trying to come to terms with itself, with the past and the present, and with what could have been. That phrase “heartbreak just under the surface” applies well to The Remains of the Day. A fascinating study of character!
As for some music I’ve been listening to this June:
The Glorious Unfolding, Steven Curtis Chapman
I’m pretty much always listening to Steven Curtis Chapman. But last month The Glorious Unfolding from 2013 was a particular favorite. You need to hear it if you haven’t (and if you have, you need to hear it again!). “Take Another Step,” “Feet of Jesus,” “A Little More Time to Love”… Steven Curtis just keeps getting better at creating good, true, and beautiful music.
Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus, Kevin Olusola
I listened to a fair amount of classical crossover this month, and Kevin Olusola’s cello music was a new find for me. Pentatonix’s beatboxer is also a skilled cellist (not to mention celloboxer—more or less his own invention), and he’s released several instrumental tracks over the last few years. Most interesting to me is his rendition of “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” Very unlike the way I’m used to hearing it, but worth a listen.
Symphony No. 10, Gustav Mahler
A friend brought this symphony to my attention, and it is powerful! While it’s a fairly dark work overall, you can detect a huge range of human emotions and experience across its five movements, from raw anguish to serenity to buoyant cheerfulness.
Looking for previous posts in my “What I’ve Been Reading” series?