16 November 2016

Time for Reading

Why do days get cluttered up so much more as we get older? We have a list of chores and to-do items that take time and consume our thoughts. A weekend can turn into a big list of chores, and then Sunday evening comes, and we realize how little we rested and relaxed.

I am trying to be intentional about making time for the resting part. It is so hard to fit all the errands/chores into the weekend, sometimes, and I find that while that is hard, it is sometimes even harder to actually feel relaxed. Our weeks are so accustomed to busy-ness that our weekends just follow suit.

I have been trying to go against that grain that is so entrenched in me lately. I am trying because it has become natural for me to try to do too much. Instead, I am letting myself read more. I am putting aside the chore and reading another chapter.

Here are the books I have been indulging in lately:

Lilith by George MacDonald

This is one of my favourite books, and a re-reading felt necessary. With each reading, this book becomes more enriching, and I see a different aspect more clearly than before.
It is a fantasy, dreamlike book, where you, the reader, sometimes are not sure which parts are dreams and which are real. There is a lot of melding of the two, which fascinates me. 

Mr. Vain is brought into a land of seven dimensions from his old, cosy library. The wise, knowing raven brought him there. He is given an invitation to do what is wise, but he instead chooses to try to fix something himself. As a result, as he travels through the land, he encounters many trials and learns from his mistakes. While he tries to do what is right, he uses only his own momentary feeling to make his choices, and forgets all that the raven told him. The wise words float right out of his head. This makes for quite an adventure, with strange, fantastical encounters along the way, and the most deeply beautiful ending (akin to The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis) that I could read over and over again.

I underline so many lines throughout the book because it is rich in metaphor and meaning found in the darkest places. The characters are purposeful and provide wisdom to the traveling Mr. Vain, and we see ourselves in him all the while, filled with the same questions he asks, and doesn't get answered right away. 

Yet even through his mistakes, the sweetness lingers as you read. When the love of God is portrayed through some characters, and the requirement of dying to be awoken, tugs at your heart and soul.

Click HERE for one of my previous posts on Lilith.

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I get the newsletters from the Oxford University Continuing Education Department, since I have taken a few courses through them, and this book was spotlighted, as the author finished her master's there. They highlighted how it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. The cover is beautiful and the synopsis indicated it was a magical book, "a spellbinding tale of maps, myth and friendship." That was enough to intrigue me, so I ordered the book and finished reading it in a few days.

It was the tale of Isabella, a map-maker's daughter, who is brave beyond her years. Something very strange is occurring on the island on which they dwell, a myth and a mystery surrounds it. When her friend is in danger somewhere in the forgotten territories of the island, Isabella guides the search party with her knowledge of the stars, and charting maps of ancient realms. Therein lies monsters and dead forests, underground tunnels, and a selfish governor who put everyone in danger from his arrival.

I enjoyed many undertones of myth, story, courage, and redemption. It portrayed an ancient time that could be almost any time, an imaginative realm of floating islands, fiery underground dangers, and the reminder that people who think that myths are not true make a mistake not to think some of it is possible.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The movie caught my attention, but I knew nothing about it except it looked like magical kind of story, which drew me initially. I heard the movie was good, so of course I wanted to read the book first. Maybe some day I will see the movie. 

Something I loved about the story was the peculiar children were all normal children who cared for one another very much, but they each had something "odd" about them, that makes them a target for bad things to happen. The story embraces their uniqueness, though, it doesn't mold them into what might be "normal". Miss Peregrine has her own unique gifts as well, and she keeps the home as a place welcoming to each of them, while simultaneously keeping the home a safe place in time for them.

The adventures of the time loops really added interest to the story, to me. The danger exists for these children in more ways than just being hunted by some evil creatures. I appreciated some unexpected aspects of the story, and it was a fun, quick read.

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