Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Report

With fall in the air it’s time to report on some reading. Currently, I am licking my fingers over a tasty little book called Proving Contraries: Essays in Honor of Eugene England. I am LOVING this book. I wish it would never end. It’s just like sitting down with AML friends, having a good yap (barbaric yawp?) about the world and literature.

I finished Almost Sisters, by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke and Carol Hoffling Morris. I had heard good things about this book: stuff like “It’s typical Deseret Book fiction for women, only done better than usual.” Maybe it was better than usual—I don’t usually read LDS “women’s fiction,” so I wouldn’t know. It wasn’t too bad, but not all that great. It was very long (or seemed so), and very detailed about the lives of three women who become friends at BYU’s Education Week. They have their struggles and sometimes resolve them. The characters were interesting, and so were their struggles, but I missed a sense of arc to the story. It felt like “a few years in the lives of some women” more than a solid story. So I was a little disappointed. Apparently, it is the first in a trilogy entitled “The Company of Good Women.” Maybe the arc comes through the trilogy. I hope so.

I finished The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, which Angela recommended to me. It’s very new age-y, but full of a lot of truth. I love and believe the concept of everything coming down to fear vs. love. If I can live in love, abide in it, be present in it, then I can be happy and free and true to the real me. Anytime fear enters the picture, I am not in the present any more. I love the idea of listening to my instincts. This concept reminded me of The Bonds that Make Us Free, which postulates that our true selves are actually charitable, vibrant, loving beings, and any time we are not acting that way we are just losing touch with our true selves. (A little different from the “natural man” concept, no?) What I know for sure is that when I feel tension in my body, I can trace it back to some way that I am living contrary to what I deep down know I should be doing. And, in fact, when I trace things that far, I see that I’m actually not even doing what I want to be doing most, or being who I want to be. And I can do this tracing, if I’m willing, even about little irritations.

I read the last Harry Potter and, although I’m still a little confused about some of the details, I have to say that I enjoyed this one as much as or more than any of the others. I don’t have much patience for the little subplots in a lot of them (Dobby, Grawp). This one seemed more straightforward story, and it kept me going the whole way.

I read, but didn’t finish before I had to return it, Ingathering by Zenna Henderson who was, at least at some point in her life, LDS. Thanks to Johnna for recommending this one. I’m always looking for good sci-fi (as opposed to empty sci fi, which I find most of it to be). This is good stuff because it deals in real, human issues instead of just basing a plot around sci-fi elements. (Sounds like my definition of good LDS fiction as well.)

I just started re-reading Douglas Thayer’s Under the Cottonwoods in anticipation of reading Thayer’s autobiography (as soon as Chris mails it to me!). I loved this book the first time and am enjoying it just as much now. He really is one of the best authors the church has.

Speaking of fantastic LDS books, I hope everyone plans to buy a new book that will be coming out from Deseret Book next fall written by Segullah chics! Including me! It will be my first time being published in book form. Sure, I’ll only have three or four poems in it, but it counts, doesn’t it? For those of you who are keeping track, the poems of mine that will probably be in it (you never know—a few of them might not make it through editorial) are “First Babysitter,” “Umbilical Cord,” “To Jon on the First Day of Kindergarten,” “Giver and Given,” “Big Brother,” and “Inheritance.” Wahoo!


Christopher Bigelow said...

OK, OK, I'll send it probably within a week. Demand for Doug's book has been high, so I keep selling out, but I should be caught up soon enough to start mailing more of the free review copies.

Ang said...

Darlene, I didn't know that the Segullah chics were publishing w/ DB. Is this a new development?!!? CONGRATS! That's the best.