Although July went by much too fast, I put in some quality reading hours. This was almost an all-female month of reading for me, save for the book of poetry I slipped in toward the end.
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë The Brontë sister trilogy is complete! This one by Anne was more tolerable than Emily’s, which was a relief. I don’t think I could have trudged through another novel like Wuthering Heights yet. While a good number of the characters were mind-numbingly terrible, the main characters were rational enough.
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber I started this one over Christmas break and got halfway through before the semester started and I had to put it on hold until summer. It is a memoir of coming to faith while studying literature at Oxford. The depth and richness of Weber’s recollections make it slow to wade through, but the journey amongst her words is a rewarding one, especially if you love literature.
Faith Unraveled (previously titled Evolving in Monkey Town) by Rachel Held Evans Another spiritual memoir! Instead of coming to faith, this one has a re-evaluation of faith slant. Where as I read Surprised by Oxford slowly and carefully, I sped through Faith Unraveled. Evans recounts how her confidence in having the answers to theological questions fell apart and she was left to the hard work of asking questions in order to weave a faith together again. She offers a great example of resting in the tension of uncertainty and mystery.
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley I almost put this one down before finishing the first chapter because of the heavy-handed world building therein. But push through, my friends! This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is worth it. The majority of the novel is dedicated to the princess’ growing up time between receiving the curse and her confrontation with the wicked fairy godmother on her twenty-first birthday. The way magic is works in this world is captivating, and I am curious to see if it carries through to McKinley’s other novels. I loved the abundance of interesting female characters here; the princess is raised by two fairy ladies and becomes best friends with the neighbor girl. They stick together through trials and heartbreaks and help each other become the best versions of themselves. So good!
Shuntaro Tanikawa: Selected Poems Certainly not my favorite book of poetry, but it had its moments. I’m still learning how to read poetry well. I want to rush through it because it’s short and this shouldn’t be taking so long! but I am afraid that when I do that, I am missing out on what is good about poetry. These lines from 62 Sonnets, 53 are some of my favorite:
I wish my words were as whole as the trees and grass
in that first silence
out of which everything was born.
What words knew me intimately?
Instead of myself singing
I’d like hearing myself being sung.
If you’ve read any of these, what are your thoughts on them? What books are you delving into this summer?