Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Favorites: Books I Read in May + great online finds this week

before the book list, here's a a favorite image from our week

My daughter Natalie took and edited this photo of my husband and me for a school project.  Sweet.

5 Favorites: my 2014 reading list

-- 1 --

16  Selected Stories by G.K. Chesterton, edited by Kingsley Amis(Faber & Faber, 1972. 284 pages which include 13 short stories) 

Oh, Father Brown -- you unassuming and wise detective-priest.  

Best book blurb ever:
"Mr. Amis has chosen well...The result is an attractive, entertaining, and instructive book, packed with little reminders of what a poet Chesterton could be so long as he stuck to prose...And what a pioneering Goon...And above all what a devoted, witty and skillful expositor of reason, reason as a religious principle, reason as a power that will go down to the roots of the world." -- Robert Nye in the Guardian

-- 2 --

17  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor: (A Tom Doherty Associates Book, New York, 2004. 351 pages including a glossary of Ulster dialect and recipes from the Irish cook Mrs. Kincaid) 

I've been a bit Anglophile in my reading lately.  (also television watching!)  I found this series through the delightful monthly book lists at Cake, Tea and Dreams.   The book jacket says this tale of a young new doctor learning from the wisened country practitioner Fingal O'Reilly in the backwards Ballybucklebo:  "a warm and enchanting novel in the tradition of James Herriot and Jan Karon".  

-- 3 --

18  Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings by Craig Brown(Simon & Schuster, 2012. 332 pages)

I often tell people that I prefer to get my news after enough time has gone by for a balanced, researched perspective published in a variety of sources.  This might just beat all -- celebrity gossip that is in some cases over 100 years old.  And I found this concept a highly entertaining read.   The author gives us the (highly-researched) scoop on 101 celebrity meetings in the fashion of six degrees of separation so Truman Capote meets Peggy Lee, Peggy Lee meets President Richard M. Nixon, President Richard M. Nixon meets Elvis Presley and so on.  Perhaps most telling of the author's wink-and-a-nod approach to celebrity-ism, the book starts and ends with none other than Adolph Hitler.  

Just a fun concept and a guilty-pleasure sort of read.

-- 4 --

19  Henrietta's War: News from the Homefront 199-1942 by Joyce Dennys(Bloomsbury Group. 1985. 158 pages)

Just plain fun reading!

From Publishers Weekly:
Small wonder that the weekly installments of these endearing letters purportedly written to a friend at the front were eagerly awaited by the British during World War II. For the vignettes of "coping" in Devon are often so hilarious that you are surprised to find yourself wiping away a tear. Henrietta is an engaging character, with a son and a daughter in the services and a doctor husband who gives lectures about the digestive system and snores through air-raid alerts. There's also rotund, indomitable Lady B, ready to plunge into the ocean in pursuit of what looks like a mine; siren-like Faith, growing masses of geraniums to pat on her cheeks in the wartime absence of rouge; Mrs. Savernack, fainting dead away in a first-aid course and nearly killed in the crush of students avid to practice on her.

-- 5 --

20  Booked: literature in the soul of me by Karen Swallow Prior (T.S. Poetry Press, New York, 2012. 199 pages + discussion guide)

I really, really enjoyed this book.  My sister received it for Christmas from her in-laws and recommended it to me.  For one thing I love reading books that are about books.  For another, it's a memoir woven within the framework of a book about books.  My favorite sort of thing.  And Karen Swallow Prior did not disappoint.  There was nothing soporific or too matchy-matchy about the way she wove together her story of growing up formed by good parents, good community, good church and, yes, good books.  

A tiny excerpt:
"I know that spiritual formation is of God, but I also know -- mainly because I learned it from books -- that there are other kinds of formation, too, everyday gifts, and that God uses the things of this earth to teach us and shape us, and to help us find truth."

*Go to my Book Pile page to see my reading lists from previous years.*


Other good words online this week

          • Lowland Hum: A Tiny Desk Concert at NPR: Another great beauty-break at work.  If all singer/songwriters would take note and provide lyric books like this lovely, earnest couple I'd be one happy concert fan.  Also, listen to the song Lowland Hum wrote for their commission on the theme of poverty from the creative curator Spark & Echo Arts.


          A book and music-filled weekend for us all, dear ones.

          For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!

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