What I’ve Been Reading: October 2019

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51wKj3hDBhLAnne’s House of Dreams, L. M. Montgomery

It’s been a few months, but I finally got to book #5 in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne series (for the first time ever). After reading books #3 and #4 in June I was getting a bit tired of the plot patterns Montgomery tends to rely on (e.g. Anne befriends a kindred spirit, Anne adopts a cat, Anne melts the heart of an old grouch…).

But that’s my cynical side talking, and after a break from Anne I did enjoy reading one more volume of her adventures. And truly, Anne’s House of Dreams does have some new elements you don’t find in the previous books. Not only are Anne and Gilbert now married and living in a new place, but they interact with an almost entirely new cast of characters and encounter hardships they’ve never faced before.

I’ll probably take another break before moving on to Book #6, but I still intend to get through the whole series one of these days. Though I admit the books view the world somewhat unrealistically through rose-colored glasses, I think it’s good to look at the world that way once in a while, to remind ourselves that beautiful things do happen in life, that God’s creation is a lovely place, and that one does meet kindred spirits every so often.

71OFqSRFDgLFahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Somehow I’d never read Fahrenheit 451 before this year, but I have at last rectified the situation. Ray Bradbury’s classic isn’t long, but it sure does pack a punch. (One disclaimer before I continue: there’s a lot of profanity in these pages, which is my main grievance against the book.)

People sometimes say Fahrenheit 451 is about book-banning, but that oversimplifies its message. It’s about media, about ease and entertainment, about living in virtual realities instead of living life itself. I’m still processing some of Bradbury’s ideas, but overall I think he has deep insight into the peril of consuming constant information without evaluating or contributing anything ourselves.

But beneath his main theme warning against a mindless life, he’s also exploring the question of people’s individual value. He seems to be holding in tension the ideas that 1) you should treat other people as if they “count,” but 2) you don’t really “count” in the big picture. Both tenets are pretty explicitly stated in the novel, but the way the main character sometimes treats other people makes me question what exactly Bradbury believes about sacrifice and human worth.

I won’t say more since I don’t want to spoil any plot points, but this was clearly a thought-provoking read and one I’d recommend—with the caveat about its strong language. (It’s also just worth reading for the character Clarisse McClellan and for Bradbury’s stunning writing style!)

As for some music I listened to last month:

81R5cWdbkiL._SS500_Joy, Steven Curtis Chapman

If you know me or have been following this blogpost series, then you know I listen to a lot of Steven Curtis Chapman! I more or less grew up on his music, and it hasn’t gotten old yet. Joy is probably my favorite of his Christmas albums, though (of course) they’re all good.

71+aIU-lECL._SL1000_Don’t Look Back & Carry Me, Josh Wilson

I have a Josh Wilson playlist in my iTunes which is basically just a combination of these two albums, Carry Me from 2013 and Don’t Look Back, released a year ago (plus a couple of tracks from That Was Then, This Is Now). I admit I dislike a few of his songs (they didn’t make it to my playlist), but he has a lot of great music. Some of my favorites: “Pushing Back the Dark,” “What I See Now,” and “Dream Small.”

Looking for previous posts in my “What I’ve Been Reading” series?

January, February, March 2019

April 2019

May 2019

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

September 2019