Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm getting close to the end! Only 13 more L'Engle books and 5 more books on liminality. I think because several of the L'Engle books are short I could finish by Sept. 1 (on the assumption some of the L'Engle books get here--they're in the mail). That's well ahead of my labor day goal.

The Rock That Is Higher
This is another one of L'Engle's religious-type books. While her Genesis triology was not my favorite, this one was okay. Maybe Madeleine and I have made peace with our differing concepts of religion. This book focuses on how story can been a more effective means for conveying truth than facts. I happen to agree with that premise so it's easier to like. :-)

Anytime Prayers
Another little prayer book written by L'Engle for children. This one featured the photography of her adopted daughter Marie. I like that her prayer books use mostly familiar language, but she's not afraid to bust out a big word if she thinks it is necessary. I like the quintessential 70s artwork of her other prayer books, but this one was fun to see real kids being kids.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I borrowed this book from a friend and immediately lent it to another friend when I was finished. It hit the "obscure book request" sphere several months ago (that book about pot pies and gurneys), but I hadn't read it (okay listened to it) until now. It was really endearing. It's a book of letters between an author in Post-WWII England and her publisher, friends, and a series of people from the Channel island of Guernsey. She comes to love these people through their letters and stories. And by golly I love them too. Bonus factor of the audiobook: everything I read while listening to the cds, I heard in a British accent. Swoon!

Troubling a Star
Madeleine L'Engle's last YA fiction book. :-( This is when it hit home, folks. I'm getting to the end of L'Engle's oeuvre. I actually remember when this book came out (8th grade year). I was so excited to read more about Vicky and Adam! And so mad when he started signing his letters "all my best". Antarctica is beautiful, and I also want to watch Scamper the Penguin (though that's about the Arctic Circle).

I read Camilla Dickinson long ago in May (70! books ago), not knowing that L'Engle reprinted the book under the name Camilla (a book I actually owned) so when I came to the reprint, I started to read it, but it was too soon. The blurb on the back describes it as Catcher in the Rye with a strong, emotionally healthy main character, and that totally works, but I didn't like Catcher so I'm not a huge fan of the book. However, the next book features Camilla as a near-retirement professor so I wanted to remember her teenage story before I went on AND it helped me finish the list as I set out to read it. Anyway, it's definitely a coming-of-age story where Camilla has to cope with several hard facts of life--among other things her mother attempts suicide. Camilla also experiences first love which is ultimately squashed when both she and Frank move out of New York City.

A Live Coal in the Sea
Camilla, the naive girl in love with the stars, is now a respected astronomer who has lived a life full of love and hardship. When her granddaughter Raffi asks Camilla whether she is really her grandmother, Camilla must relive some of the best and worst moments of her life to answer Raffi's question. But even Camilla doesn't know the whole story. While I find L'Engle's fiction for adults rough to read (and this was no exception), I found the ending a bit more satisfying in its conclusion. It is truly a life-affirming story that shows its never too late for second chances.

Octopussy and The Living Daylights
The last two short stories about Bond written by Ian Fleming. Unfortunately they aren't really a whole lot to write home about. More character studies investigating the criminal mind. The Man with the Golden Gun is really the last Bond book. However, I discovered that there are more so I may return to Bond later.

Also on the list is Glimpses of Grace which is a daily excerpt from L'Engle's work for meditation. Since I've read everything L'Engle has published up until this book's publication, I've essentially read the book. There were a couple of articles which I found and read their excerpts, but otherwise I'm using it as a daily meditative reading until it needs to go back to the library.

So that's 48 L'Engle books. I've requested all the rest of the L'Engle books I need to finish up. (What will the library do without me?) I've planned in time for my books on liminality. And yes, summer is nearly over--classes start next week. It's been fun, but a little obsessive.

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