Thursday, 21 August 2014

The strangest thing happened when I read this book.....

I have been reading so many good mysteries, which I will be doing short reviews for over the coming few weeks.  One of my favourite new series I have to thank Cath at Read-Warbler for.  Her review of Julia Spencer-Fleming's 3rd book, Out of the Deep I Cry, the Reverend Clare Fergusson series, got me finally to read the first book, In The Bleak Midwinter, in July, which I had had on my shelf for years.  And a funny thing happened when I read that book. Not only was I hooked on the series - especially the two main characters, Reverend Clare and Sheriff Russ Van Alstyne, but the reverend herself.  Something happened within me, and I realized that I wanted to be like Clare.  It was quite a shock to me when I realized I was jealous of a book character! 

Then I had to consider what this meant.  Did I want to be a minister?  A reverend?  And I came to the conclusion that if my life had been very different, yes, I would.  But, my life went in a very different route when I was very young, and looking at Reverend Clare Fergusson, I came to see that I wanted more spirituality in my life. Not just spirituality, which is vague and not directed towards anything.  I wanted to know my personal belief figure better (for lack of a better generic way to put it!).  For a very long time, most of my life, I have known there was a spiritual part to life that I am attracted to, and interested in.  A way of contemplating the universe, if you will.  I've only ever lingered at the edge, until this summer, when this fictional character woke up in me the recognition of what I want to do for myself.  At the same time, I picked up St Teresa de Avila's The Interior Castle because I had heard about it somewhere as a way to understand the longing we have to behold the sacred.  I am not about to go all religious, don't worry!  That was part of the path I turned from so very long ago.  What I am interested in, is answering the call, that longing.  I don't know where it will lead to yet, just that being more silent is part of it.  So I have to thank Cath and the Reverend Clare very much!  Besides all this, it really is a well-written mystery series, and I have been reading them as fast as I can get them.  I have just finished Out of the Deep I Cry last week.  It's a bit annoying on how the two main characters always keep ending up in deadly fixes together, though this is part of their attraction to each other that they are figuring out.  I will do a review on each of the books later.  I am fascinated to see what Clare does next, and how she has the patience to tend to everyone who comes to her door is a marvel to see.  Sadly it is after 1 a.m. and I have to get to bed!

So in lieu of a book review because it's so very late at night, here is what is on my table beside my computer right now, so you can know what I'm reading since I started realizing what I wanted more of in my life:

Collected Poems - Jane Kenyon (been reading all summer)
London - Edward Rutherford (just started)
The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss (about 3/4 read)
Answering the Contemplative Call - Carl McColman (almost finished)
The Old Ways - Robert MacFarlane
A Book of Silence - Sara Maitland (begun again after last summer when I started it , didn't get far)
The Myth of the Goddess - Anne Baring and Jules Cashland
The Interior Castle - St Teresa de Avila (slowly reading)
Trust Your Vibes - Sonia Choquette (half-way done)
The Poetry of Robert Frost (just begun)

I have a half-formed plan of reading a poem a day for  a year, and posting about the poem (or at least the title!) here.  I like the idea, it's deciding on the day to start! I'll let you know when I do.

So, I am back.  I did not plan on being away this long. I did not know I was even going to take a break from blogging.  As some of you know, last summer I decided to learn how to be more quiet in my life, to make time for some silence each day.  I now know that I was hearing that call.  I still feel the need, and yet funnily enough because of it, I value my friendships and family that much more.  I do want to keep blogging.  I am figuring out how I want to blog while I explore my spiritual requirements, and learning how to say again what I want to say about books.  I have been popping in to see many of your blogs over the past few months, and leaving comments once in a while.  I have wanted to know what you were reading!  I came here many times, wondering if I could post, though it turned out I couldn't, even though I have been reading many superb mysteries and other books this spring and summer.  That is the way of the soul, it sometimes needs something different.  I'm just glad I can write here again, at last.  


Stefanie said...

What a lovely post Susan. I understand your desire for silence. I've recently begun to meditation and even 15-20 minutes makes a huge difference. You are reading an interesting mix of books. I love both Frost and Kenyon, you can't go wrong with either. And oh, I heartily endorse your plan to read a poem a day!

Cath said...

Welcome back, Susan!

I'm so pleased you're enjoying the Clare Fergusson books and that you've been so affected by them. I haven't had quite the same reaction but I do love the series to bits. I have one more, To Darkness and Beyond, and then I need to acquire some some.

Susan said...

Stefanie: Thank you so much. Meditation does make a difference, doesn't it? I am learning that being silent while walking or gardening is another form of meditation, too :-) I'm excited to hear you are meditating now also. I'm not alone! lol. I am thinking about blogging about the poems I read, too, partly as a way to get back to blogging regularly. Though Snowball puts up a lovely collection of poems regularly too.

Cath: Thank you! It really is a good series of books, isn't it? So well written. And I have you to thank! :-)

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I think we all go through times when the desire to have a break from blogging takes over - I know that I do anyway. I've been wondering about making changes on my blog and I have cut down on the amount of posts I write. I need time for other things - including time and space for silence - it's important to me.

I'm glad you're back and looking forward to reading your blog in the future. And you have reminded me about reading Julia Spencer-Fleming's books - I'd read Cath's review and meant to look out for her books and then it slipped my mind.

Nan said...

SO happy to see a new posting from you! And how very interesting. I hope you will share more as you go forward on this path.

Literary Feline said...

I was going through my paperbacks this past weekend, pulling books off the shelves for my mom to take home to give to my aunt and came across In the Bleak of Midwinter. I haven't yet read anything by Spencer-Fleming, but I do have that first book to try. I thought it was a fun coincidence that you would mention the book here not too long after I was thinking about it.

Finding balance in life is forever a struggle, but I think it's definitely important to make time for oneself.

It's good to see you blogging again. :-)

Susan said...

Margaret: Thank you so much for sharing that you are feeling some of the same struggle too, for finding silence and how to maintain a blog at the same time! I'm glad I could help you remember about Julia Spencer-Fleming, too! :-)

Nan: Thank you so much! I do intend to share a bit more, then, if you want. It is ongoing, this search - no, not search, discovery of the need for more spiritual life and activity in my life. I am happy too. It had been a long time coming, when I look back now. Always something I was aware of wanting to develop.

Literary Feline: Well, that is serendipitous, isn't it??! lol I hope you do get to read it soon, then. It was quite good, well-written, and gripping in places. I really enjoyed it.

As you have a busy toddler taking up much of your time (though Mouse is 4 now, right? so not a toddler?) and working full-time, finding a moment of silence in our day is a miracle, isn't it? Stretching it to 10 minutes is such a relief, I am finding. I love silence, I am discovering. Not all the time, but a great deal more now. It's one way I am able to just be for myself.

I hope we all continue to find that precious life balance and that lets us keep blogging, too!

Dr. Bondan said...
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