I have three books on which to report today, and here we go:
#27 — The Full Cupboard of Life, by Alexander McCall Smith — more Precious love, but I am taking a break to read some other books now, because I can stop! (If unhappily…)
#28 — A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster — This is a two-book volume for Kindle including Howards End, which I'm just starting. As a good English major, I read these books many years ago. Honestly, I don't remember when. I had only the vaguest memories of A Room With a View, and they really came from the film. I got the movie from Netflix and watched it with Light Princess in and around reading the book over the weekend. She found the heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, very irritating, and that is an apt characterization of Forster's Lucy, who struggles with herself and others. I had forgotten how *funny* the book is; I had also forgotten the naked men "bathing" in the "Sacred Lake," which came as a bit of a shock to both mother and daughter. We had a long discussion about nudity in movies and the double standards attached to it. 😉
#29 — An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor — This is her latest, a book about spiritual practices grounded in our real lives and bodies. Whether or not she means to, she seems to continue to make the case that Western Christianity is limited and limiting. I must admit to being very irritated with her after reading "Leaving Church." I concluded that a little more attention to self-care might have enabled her to continue in parish ministry. But maybe that doesn't matter, really.
Some of the practices she proclaims are very much part of my life, and some make me uncomfortable enough that I ought to pay more attention to them (see "The Practice of Wearing Skin").
I loved her story of walking in the woods in the dark with her husband, and the chapter about getting lost. Probably my favorite sequence in the book takes her to the top of a fire escape to pray, hoping to discern her calling. She concludes that God tells her to "do anything that pleases you and belong to me." I love that and roll my eyes at it almost at the same time. I love it, I want it; I crave the freedom to do just that and believe it's possible to be faithful that way. But my life continues to be one of compromising what I might like to do with meeting the needs of family. And so I roll my eyes, self-protectively, because this is my continuing struggle.