Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reading for the journey

I went to a conference in Vancouver last week and went on to visit family in San Diego before returning to South Africa. I spent far too much time on planes and sitting in airports (I visited a grand total of 6 airports on my various flights), and as such, did a lot of reading. Here's the list:

A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
I started this one about a week before I left, and then debated whether I should take a half-read book with me. If I'm gonna carry a book around, I want to get the most possible reading out of it that I can. I ended up bringing it anyway, and I'm really glad I did. It was a re-read, but as usual, this reading was very different from the first time I read it. (Summer 2003, I think? I remember this one going on my application for DPI, under the "three books you've recently read" question.) This is a memoir, telling the story of Vanauken's relationship with his wife, Davy. What stuck out to me on my first read was the idyllic love story. This time around, I was impacted far more by the account of Vanauken's spiritual journey. I'm gonna write more about this one, I think I still need to take more time with the thinking and writing.

The Water Horse, Dick King-Smith
I already posted about this one--a fun book which I read in its entirety while standing in the children's book aisle of a W.H. Smith in the Heathrow airport.

Emily's Quest, L.M. Montgomery
The Emily books are not nearly as well-known as the Anne books, but they're just as good (if not better). I re-read Emily of New Moon before I left California, and brought the other two Emily books with me. I discovered after finishing Emily Climbs that I had packed the last of the series in the duffel bag which I had left at my parents' house, with plans to bring it back with me when I visited in June. This made me very sad, because I immediately wanted to read this one upon finishing the previous one. So of course, this was the first book I read on my various flights back to South Africa. It gave my the L.M. Montgomery fix I'd been craving, as well as my fill of hopeful romantic sentiment which may or may not have been good for me. Hmm. I read it far too quickly, though...

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
I purchased this one in LAX, since I was already halfway through Emily's Quest. I had 20 hours of flying and a 7-hour layover ahead of me, and only about 300 pages of reading left. It ended up being a very good thing that I purchased this book--I finished reading all the books I had with me about an hour and a half before my final flight landed in Joburg. I have this fear of running out of reading material and there being no good movies on the plane. That almost happened on this trip, and by the time the plane landed I was very much ready to disembark! This was a YA gothic sort of thing about a girl at boarding school in Victorian England who begins to unravel mysteries about her past and discovers realms of magic and so on and so forth. It was quite good, just the sort of thing for plane reading, really.

A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards
We're reading this for NCSA during the last few weeks of the year. I'm supposed to lead the discussions on this book, so I thought I'd get a head start on the reading--partly to see if we could also fit a few final chapters of Divine Conspiracy into our last weeks. I concluded that the answer is yes--this is a short book (less than 100 pages), and a really fast read. It's a retelling of the Old Testament stories of David and Saul and David and Absalom, and is quite devotional in tone. I really enjoyed the perspective it gave on leadership and submission and the right and wrong way to respond to good and bad leadership.

And there's my reading over the past few weeks. I doubt I'll read nearly as much in the next couple of weeks, even though my stash of books here in South Africa has now grown exponentially (due to my bringing back the aforementioned duffel bag full of books).

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| posted by Barbara | 2:00 PM