Bookish Delights

The Reader’s Thoughts in September


The books of September were … friends, they were beauties, they were joys and delights. From the big to the tiny, they were simply happiness. And I read 5 of them. So it was also a victorious month!

1. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Written by someone under 30 – this was his first book at age 23, amazingly enough!)

“She was a feast and a folly and he wished it had been his destiny to sit forever on a haystack and see life through her green eyes.”

Filled with beautiful, poetic prose and a captivating glimpse into the restless generation of the early twentieth century, This Side of Paradise was an intriguing read. It was sad – as all narratives searching for the meaning of life and failing to find it are. But it was also fascinatingly spot-on in many aspects of the human nature. For example – this quote is so telling of a life without God:

“Amory, even had he not been a selfish man, would have started all enquiries with himself. He was his own best example – sitting in the rain, a human creature of sex and pride, foiled by chance and his own temperament of the balm of love and children, preserved to help in building up the living consciousness of the race.”

“He was his own best example …” When we begin with ourselves, we will always fall sadly short as we are never the best examples. That’s why Christ had to come as the perfect example – to be what we could not. How sad that so many people recognize this futility but they don’t go further than just accepting it as fact. Our hearts continue to be restless until they come to find rest in God … (loosely translated from St. Augustine).

Finally, this beautiful description:

“The air became grey and opalescent; a solitary light suddenly outlined a window over the way; then another light; then a hundred more danced and glimmered into vision. Under his feet a thick, iron-studded skylight turned yellow; in the street the lamps of the taxicabs sent out glistening sheens along the already black pavement. The unwelcome November rain had perversely stolen the day’s last hour and pawned it with that ancient fence, the night.”

2. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (A book with antonyms in the title)

Another favorite by Malcolm Gladwell and his intriguing ideas! This book actually echoed a lot of Biblical ideas about strength coming in weakness … which was so very encouraging to this tired one over here. These quotes will tell you even better than I could just how powerful the book was:

“We have, I think, a very rigid and limited definition of what an advantage is. We think of things as helpful that actually aren’t and think of other things as unhelpful that in reality leave us stronger and wiser.”

“He was an underdog and a misfit, and that gave him the freedom to try things no one else even dreamt of.”

“You see the giant and the shepherd in the Valley of Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we ever imagine.”

3. 75 Ways to Calm Your Soul by Julie Granger (A book with a number in the title)

Just reading the title of that one, you know it’s one I needed last month! Ha … it was a lovely tiny book loaned to me by friend Jade that I read over breakfast one morning, and it had so many practical ways of finding peace amidst a tiring and busy life. I love this one especially: “Give those you love the gifts of undivided attention, unending enthusiasm, and creative energy.”

4. Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery (A book by an author you love, but haven’t read yet)

When does the opportunity come to read a new book by your favorite author when said author has been dead for half a century? There are a few left by my dear Lucy Maud that I haven’t read yet, and this is one of them. And as always, L.M. Montgomery never fails to delight my soul. I love how her characters have such a love for beauty … it connects to all my delightedness in beauty that I can’t quite articulate – or that I rush past in a hurried week. And of course, her poetic language would fill this whole blog post with quotes … but I shall try to limit myself!

“Marigold always felt that there was something in the fall that belonged to her and her alone if she could only find it, and this secret quest made of September and October months of magic.”

“Marigold listened and sympathized with one side of her mind, and with the other carried on her own small thought-processes. As is the way of womenkind of all ages, whether men know it or not.”

“Those little golden dells among the sunset hills – that path of moonrise glitter on the harbour over which a ship of dreams might come sailing – those gossiping poplars – the green creaminess of that field of buckwheat-blossom in the shade of the wood …”

5. Hound Dog True by Linda Urban (A book that made you cry)

How surprising that a book I’m supposed to read with my class – and that I read ahead of time in a little over an hour – would be the one to make me cry. And I didn’t cry until after I’d finished it, and I was thinking it over. But I feel so much like the girl, Mattie, in it sometimes – especially when I was in high school … so afraid of what others are thinking of me, so desperately afraid – and so desperate not to show it. Also, I was so ashamed of the stories I wrote … but eventually I, like Mattie, had to learn bravely to say, “My name is Lydia. And I write stories.” Can’t wait to read it with my class and delve into the themes and personal connections!

There’s that book report for you. So many good ones that I would recommend to you in a heartbeat. Can’t believe I only have 3 months of the challenge left! Although at this rate, I doubt I’m going to get all 50 in … but if that’s the case, I’ll just keep reading them into 2016. Because when have you ever known me to stop reading??

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