Remember having to give book reports about what we read over the summer vacation? That always ruined the fun of just reading.
Well, I have come to believe that writing about what I read helps me remember salient points that authors make – whether they are telling good stories or introducing me to lives and times of historical figures.
Listening to well-written stories while painting, as you know, has been as a double prescriptions for maintaining my charm. Who knew that 2020’s events could make those of 1968 seem tame?
Today’ s hysterical climate can often make me feel like I am in unfamiliar territory, filled with angry, dangerous people who mean to tear down, destroy, and defame. History, biographies, and good fiction teach me that’s the campground in which we live, is the same as it has ever been and none of us are as we wish everybody else was.
Sidebar: So do the Scriptures; I am not facing one thing now that would be surprising to God’s people.
Back to my “book reports.”
A line from one book from the library has taken root, offering shade and comfort.
Listening to a biography of Louisa Johnson Adams,* the author described Louisa’s experiences and the times in which she lived:
The world was so much stranger than reason would allow.
That could be tonight’s news headline, right?
Hearing of Louisa Adams’ life and times, following the description of the events of 1776 by David McCullough, and then listening to Malcolm Galdwell’s stories in David and Goliath, reminds me, there never was some golden age of peace and quiet, and civility, no matter how nostalgic I wax for times past.
Nor, were the icons of so many eras without clay feet. (Isaiah 2:22)
The mercy is that through the ages – well from 18th century to now – we have had people who sacrificed, struggled, and achieved great things so that we might enjoy this day.
I look for those stories of such folks in today’s news!
When I listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, I learned that what most call a disadvantage does not have to be a disqualifier for achieving great and good things.
What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant. In reality, the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness. There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem.
Surely, in her day, Louisa Adams saw that the strong and powerful were not always, what they seemed; she came to see sometimes she had misjudged people and their motives. I will remember this in the coming weeks.
Autumn is about to end this year’s summer school.
I hope the “reading” and painting continues.
Here’s what’s in my queue: Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes; Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell; 1945, by Chris Wallace and an anthology: Great Classic Stories III.
My wish list of books on hold is growing.
On the nightstand perches Vintage Saints and Sinners: 25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith by Karen Wright Marsh, and The Beautiful Community—Unity, Diversity and the Church At Its Best, by Irwyn L. Ince, Jr. And yes, a giant print Bible gets opened more frequently these nights.
Squirrelly as yesterday was; crazy as tomorrow might be — Today’s the day the Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad! Psalm 118:24
Do you, dear reader, have books I should add to my wishlist?
Here’s to all of us having heard and read more good books by autumn’s end, and making more ART!
* Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. Really anything by Wendell Berry.
Thanks for the reminder that listening to books is a great way to “read”. I will be driving 7 hours Saturday and a good book would be a great way to pass the time.
Totally agree! I have a few of wendell Berry on my wishlist