Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading Days

Remember those days in college before final exams that were reserved for studying?  My university gave us two; Mama's gave her almost a week (I guess those Ivy League finals are harder!).  It was always an unusual limbo--no schedule but lots to do, excitement about upcoming vacation but anxiety about tests.  I don't miss the finals, but I did like those days of reading and solitude.

Sure, my whole life right now, between 8 a.m. and 3:45 p.m., resembles those times.  And I'm especially engaged right now with a variety of books and topics, having received several books for Christmas and working on colonial history for the historic house.

  • As part of my continued spiritual quest and also readings on pain/illness/medicine (How to Be Sick by Toni Bernhard and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Tova Bradley fall into this category, too), I'm reading Larry Dossey's Healing Words on the relationship between prayer and medicine.  I'm finding it a fascinating read, not only for the exploration of published scientific studies of the relationship of healing and prayer, but for little insights such as people heal better/faster if prayers are vague and "thy will be done"/"hope for the best outcome" rather than specific.  
  • Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project has me thinking on resolutions and the life I want to live (while providing memorable tidbits like it takes six seconds for a hug to induce happy chemicals in the body).
  • Below Stairs:  The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, by Margaret Powell, as I get ready for the second season of the latter.
  • From the used bookstore, for fun, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and The Ungarnished Truth:  A Cooking Contest Memoir--A Woman, a Chicken Dinner, a Million Dollars.
  • Heaven is for Real and The Shack, part of my therapist's homework to consider other people's spiritual lives.   The former is very Born-Again Christian--about a real little boy who was very ill and later told his parents about going to heaven, meeting dead relatives, and seeing Jesus's rainbow horse--but not as difficult to finish as I expected, despite the pleas to "know Jesus in your heart."  I'll start The Shack, which is fiction, soon.
  • Continuing my reading  in Buddhist studies, I've read It's Easier than You Think and Happiness is an Inside Job,both by Sylvia Boorstein, but I'm not sure which book I'll tackle next so, for Buddhism, I'm perusing Best Buddhist Writing 2011.
  • For a reading group at the kids' school, I'm reading Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky.  After Nurture Shock, it's kind of repetitive but I'll keep reading.
  • For the historic house, A Guide to Historical Artifacts of Colonial America by Ivor Noel Hume, once head of archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg.
  • Shine and Shadow, a book of meditations by UU minister Kathleen McTigue
  • All my magazines, mostly food and parenting . . . . 
Obviously, I pick and choose, go back and forth, depending on mood or activity.  As Rubin notes in The Happiness Project discovers, growth, or learning, generates happiness. Doing my best.

1 comment:

  1. The Ungarnished Truth sounds interesting. I also read The Sound of a wild Snail eating, I really enjoyed it.