Here are some books I’ve recently finished, some I’m currently working on, and one I gave up on:
Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, Stephen Sondheim — Robert gave me this for Christmas after I delivered the most unsubtle hint in the history of hints. This book is charming and enjoyable for diving into at the end of long, busy day. (And I use that verb intentionally—the book is ginormous.) But it’s also a wise and witty collection of thoughts about writing, poetry and the theater. His candor about other lyricists (and his own work) is MOST entertaining.
Rising, Falling, Hovering; C.D. Wright — This is a book of poems I ordered with a gift certificate; it just arrived today. One of my perpetual intentions/practices is to read poetry, and this one’s been on my wish list for several months. I think I originally saw this book reviewed in the Christian Century.
Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything, Mary Clemens Myer and Susanna Myer — This may end up being one of those purely aspirational purchases, but I am fascinated by canning. We have a great farmers’ market here between April and November, and I’d love to learn to put stuff up for the off months.
Another book I’ve ordered and am waiting on is The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits. Time to ramp up the knitting again.
From a Mustard Seed: Enlivening Worship and Music in the Small Church by Bruce Epperly and Daryl Hollinger — This book is a quick and easy read and helped me see that I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut with my worship planning and especially hymn selection. I am pretty musically inclined but I struggle with how to share that, and how much. Robert and I just joined our church’s choir which has been fun and has given it a welcome boost. And I enjoy teaching new songs to groups, but I’m always aware of not wanting worship to be the MaryAnn show. The book helped me see how to work more effectively in partnership with our organist/choir director.
I also finally broke down and got The New Yorker on Kindle. It’s a kinda pricey subscription, but I think it will be worth it. This is part of my intention to read more news via print than online. Internet news sites have their place, but if that’s all you read, it’s too easy to get jerked around by the pointless kerfuffles of the day. I really like TNY on Kindle. I’ve read it for years but have never liked how the cartoons, poems and tidbits are sprinkled amidst the articles. I like the cartoons, I like the tidbits, but it always took me out of the flow of the story to stop and read them. On the Kindle, everything has its own section, and navigation is a breeze.
And as for the book I gave up on, yes, I added another book to the Shelf of Shame: [big deep breath] Pride and Prejudice. Not only do I, a former English major, have to admit that I never read P&P in college, but I just could not get into it this time. Maybe if I hadn’t tried to read it during Clergy Superbowl Season I might have had better luck. It started strong, but I found myself totally not caring. There were witty bits, admittedly.
It’s a little disturbing. I’m trying not to universalize the experience into some frantic OMG-the-Internet-has-destroyed-my-attention-span-and-ruined-me-for-the-classics thing. I’m still perfectly capable of sustained… wait, what’s that over there?