In some ways, September can seem a long month. It’s when the grind of the academic year fully settles in, there aren’t really any holidays to distinguish it, and (this year) the summer weather just seemed to drag on all month instead of graciously allowing autumn to take its place.
At the same time, September for me can feel like a mad race, where I’m so busy I can’t even take in everything around me. That’s mostly because I’m always writing a new Christmas play in September, which in all honesty is both a joyful and stressful process!
At any rate, my newest script is finished (!) (more on that later….), September is behind us, and I was still able to make progress on my To Read list throughout the month! Without further ado, let me share with you some of the books and music I enjoyed this September.
The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
I struggled getting through the first few chapters of this book, but once I got really inside it I began to understand what Dallas Willard had been doing in the opening sections and why it was important. The core of the book, where he discusses the relationship of body and soul and the benefits of specific disciplines in the life of a Christian, helped and challenged me, so it was totally worth pushing through the early chapters! I definitely plan to reread The Spirit of the Disciplines in the future because I’m sure I’ll be able to get a deeper layer of understanding from a second read, but even after one time through, I feel I’ve gained some clear insights and practical help for my day-to-day walk. Definitely a book I recommend!
The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
This story is so charming! And not only are the characters endearing, but they and their narrative go much deeper than you might expect. A few details did give me pause, because I’m not sure I quite agree with how DiCamillo portrays some aspects of the human heart. That said, however, I think she’s incredibly perceptive and shares her wisdom in the simplest but most unexpected ways, which just makes for a wonderful story. I loved The Tale of Despereaux, especially its perfect balance presenting characters who are both relatable and inspiring.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
This, if you can’t guess, was a reread for me. It had been a few years since I’d last read Pride and Prejudice, and I’d forgotten certain details which it was lovely to be reminded of. While I don’t usually call this my favorite Jane Austen novel, rereading it definitely reminded me of all its delightful characters and insightful truths and made me reconsider how I rank it among her novels! It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite of hers, but Pride and Prejudice might be in the running for that spot after all.
And now, to some music I particularly enjoyed in September:
Enchanted Isle, VOCES8
I discovered VOCES8 last month after I saw Andrew Peterson recommend this album online somewhere, and I liked it a lot more than I expected! They are an eight-member group of a cappella singers who perform a variety of traditional folk tunes and classical pieces as well as some contemporary songs. I listened to their music a ton as I wrote like a madwoman last month—this album as well as others, especially Eventide and Lux. Truly exquisite.
Christmas albums, Pentatonix
Yes, I’m already listening to Christmas music. (Because it gets me in the mood while I’m writing a Christmas drama!) Some of my favorite Christmas albums are by the a cappella group Pentatonix: PTXmas, That’s Christmas to Me, and A Pentatonix Christmas. (I really only like a couple tracks on their most recent Christmas album, Christmas Is Here! Sadly they included no traditional carols on it, other than the wordless interlude “Greensleeves” I guess.) I think my favorite of their albums is That’s Christmas to Me, but obviously I love a lot of their Christmas music.
I’d love to hear what YOU have been reading or listening to! Feel free to share in the comments!
Looking for previous posts in my “What I’ve Been Reading” series?
• May 2019