April's Reads

April's Reads

Reading in the Woods, 1959 | Life magazine

Reading in the Woods, 1959 | Life magazine


For many of us, April has been a tension of not quite winter and not yet spring. I see it in my backyard: the ferns are fervently pushing through the ground to begin their unraveling, and the buds are only just on the trees. This is my first transition into spring for the past three years and I forgot the way the temperature and sunshine manipulate my mood as the sun shining brightly actually makes the whole world seem happier. 

The time is just beginning for reading outside, and in the meantime, I'm grateful to be reading in the living room surrounded by family, near the candlelight just before bed, or on the train into the city.

Happy spring, everyone!

Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it."

Why I read it: I can't get enough of the Murry family! This story follows Dennys and Sandy Murry, the twin brothers of Meg and Charles Wallace we've read about in A Wrinkle in Time. 

What it's about: Dennys and Sandy know not to mess with their parents' laboratory experiments of space and time, but this mishap lands them in a sandy desert and they become sick with heat stroke. They're found and nursed to health by Japheth and his grandfather, Lamech, as they slowly realize where they've landed. (Bonus points to you if you can name that Bible story!)

Why I enjoyed it: I love these characters! This is such a fun way to revisit a familiar Bible story. Be sure to check this one out from the library once you've finished reading L'Engle's Time Trilogy.

The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 by Leslie Leyland Fields

"I find this lifeshape beautiful. It pleases me to think that a woman raising children and organizing a family and a household is also storing up knowledge and questions, and then, at age forty-seven or fifty-two or fifty-six, there is time, and that in the time, she can turn to a different kind of work. She can bloom a new and different flower, midway through her life." - Lauren Winner

Why I read it: My dear friend, Carrie, sent me this book in the mail. She'd recently been at the Festival for Faith and Writing (I want to go with her one year!) and got to hear from Luci Shaw and as well as the granddaughters of Madeleine L'Engle. She also met the editor of this book, who shared a copy with her. I had been recently telling Carrie about my desire to read more New England authors and so she promised me that this book contained a few.

What it's about: The book contains 40 short essays from 40 authors who are over the age of 40 and totally rocking life. Okay, some days maybe not. They write about big life changes past 40, marriage and remarriage after 40, and the beautiful things that come with a well-seasoned faith.

Why I enjoyed it: I just finished an essay by Lauren Winner (a personal fav) in which she explains that in Jewish tradition, you're not even allowed to study kabbalah (mysticism) until you're 40. She explains the difference between creating art in your 20s and then in your 40s. Now I'm only in my early 30s but reading this stuff now is life giving and exciting. I'm soaking up wisdom from 40 mentors from the comfort of my own home (and sometimes from the train).

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

"We are never really self-sufficient. We can never create enough resources, enough wisdom, enough health. So waiting often means that we experience the cost of seeing ourselves as we actually are - broken, weak, and unable to fix our lives."

Why I read it: My writing-friend, Alison, knows me so well. I've been able to visit her twice in the past year and each time, I'm greeted at the door with a long hug and a stack of books that she's set aside for me. It's such a gift! This was in my stack from the last visit. (Alison also blogs about the books she's reading, so if you're on the hunt for more suggestions, check out her latest post: What I've Been Reading.)

What it's about: Through her book, Ann weaves the story of her struggle with trichotillomania with the story of the Bleeding Woman (Luke 9:43-48). She shares about the beauty and lessons that can come from seasons of waiting themselves, especially when an answer or relief is not quick or easy.

Why I'm enjoying it: We're in a season of waiting now and I almost didn't pick up the book because I didn't want to sit in it or see the good in it. Ann's story is real and raw and while I didn't connect to her story right away, she's drawn me in and it feels like sitting with a friend as she shares what God has done in her life. Her retelling of the story of the Bleeding Woman is eye opening and engaging - as she's given her a name and wonders about the twelve years of waiting before she touched the hem of Jesus' robe.

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