Reading (and not heeding my own advice)

I’m not heeding my own advice. I’m still reading several books at once. That’s what happens when I’ve suddenly landed on several enjoyable books.

Currently active active reads:

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphry Carpenter (and Christopher Tolkien).Who would have thought someone’s letters could be so fascinating? Granted, most of the personal details that wouldn’t interest anyone but immediate family and friends have been edited out, but still. There’s something about the image of Tolkien sitting in his Oxford study writing drafts of letters (a draft hand-written letter! such a thing had never occurred to me!) and then writing final copies in ink. And he’s probably wearing a three-piece tweed suit, smoking a pipe, and drinking tea all the while. Wonderful!

It’s not just the setting in my imagination that makes them interesting, however. The letters include discussion of the development of the sequel to The Hobbit as well as the characters of his already developed mythology.

And he writes with such skill! These letters are not just dashed off, but are clearly written with much care and attention to form and content. The book puts me in the mood to write a hand-written (with a fountain pen!) letter to someone. (Who wants one?)

Long Wandering Prayer: An Invitation to Walk with God, David Hansen. This is perhaps the most refreshing and honest discussion of prayer I have read (not that my reading in this area has been extensive). It caught my attention because the title implied the sort of prayer that seems to fit me best, but there is much more to the book than simply walking and praying. There’s nothing sentimental here, just raw thoughts and advice and opinions on prayer.

Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation, Richard Foster. Not bad so far, though perhaps not quite what I had hoped for expected. That might change. I continue to find Foster’s prose rather dry, making it difficult to read the book with much enthusiasm (I never did finish his most famous book, Celebration of Discipline for this reason). This is unfortunate, because Foster seems have been quite influential in terms of the “spirituality” of the evangelical church.

A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson. This is my second time through this book. Fascinating, informative, well written, and hilarious as usual. A lay-person’s book about science and origins.

And then there are the inactive active reads and actively inactive reads which I won’t list here…

4 thoughts on “Reading (and not heeding my own advice)

  1. Toni

    Hi Marc – I’ll take one of those hand written letters, if you’re going to break out the fountain pen. It could even persuade me to write back.


    Interesting comment on Richard Foster. I’d expected Celebration Of Discipline to be a bit more fascinating and a bit less dry, and to my shame, I put it down after a very short period. It definitely isn’t the content, so much as the delivery that fails to allow one to make contact with the content.

    If we should happen to meet up over the next little while, let me lend you At Home – A Short History Of Private Life, which I suspect will appeal to the vicarious Englishman that seems a part of your soul.

  2. Marc Post author

    Toni, you should email me your mailing address. (I didn’t think anyone would take me up on the offer! But this will motivate me…)

    As a matter of fact, I purchased At Home when Dixie and I were in England (in a chain bookshop near Trafalgar square, I believe) in 2010. It was quite a point of pride that I was able to acquire a copy prior to its publication in North America! But thanks for your offer.

    “the vicarious Englishman that seems a part of your soul” — indeed!

  3. Randall

    “Letters” sounds like a fun read. I tend towards books of letters or journals or even simple biographies. Feels like I can learn more about real life through those sorts of endeavours than I can do through textbooks etc.

    Oh and a good book of poetry. That does the soul good too.

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