Wednesday, September 7, 2016


"At Home: A Short History of Private Life" by Bill Bryson

I had previously only read Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country", a travelogue about Australia, and had enjoyed it thoroughly. Reading that book made me feel as though I had visited the country myself; he made me see everything so clearly with his accounts. I had read it a while ago and now I'm regretting that it took me so long to pick up another one of his books, especially because I loved this one.  As I mentioned before, I fell in love with the premise of this book - of going through each room of his home to investigate its history - and I was impressed with how this endeavor touched upon not just history, but the fields of geography, anthropology, economics and sociology, all in a way that kept me fascinated. He is a spectacular writer and I could read him write about anything; I'm glad he chose this particular subject.

"Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living" by Shauna Niequist

A friend pressed her first book, "Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes" into my hands, telling me that I would love it, and I did! I heard that she had written another one, but hadn't taken much notice until I heard her being interviewed on a podcast, The Simple Show.  When asked about the way she ends her book with her recent tattoos, Niequist explains how she decided to get a tattoo of a red heart. She said that in the search for a simpler life, she had taken up centering prayer - a type of prayer where you quiet everything else and focus deeply on one attribute of God. She said she took time to do her centering prayers on God's unconditional love, which meant that she would sit still, picture a red heart, and then focus on telling herself two things: One, there is nothing I can do today to earn more love from God.  And two, there is nothing I can do today to ruin or squander God's love for me.  I was intrigued and so I started reading the book. I am only a couple of chapters in but I am glad I picked it up; it is full of good reminders.

"Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist" by M.C. Beaton

My sister told me about this series written as a sort of tribute to Agatha Christie, which my sisters and I all heartily love, and I was tickled enough by the name (Raisin!) and the name of the first book (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death!) to want to pick it up. The "Terrible Tourist" was the available before the Quiche one, so I started with this one and thought it to be quite fun. The series tells the story of a modern woman living in England who solves mysteries, but in this one she travels to northern Cyprus and encounters a couple of mysteries that she ends up solving.  It moves very quickly and I think I enjoyed it all the more because I have been to Cyprus (although it was the southern part) and I could picture much of the scenery. It made me want to visit again. It also reminded me of the olden days when I used to read a lot of mysteries and of the fun of whizzing through a fun book, just for the pure pleasure finding out who done it.

"Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion" Selected and Edited by Diane K. Osbon

My mom gave myself and each of my sisters a copy of this book this past summer when she was here. It is a collection of reflections by Joseph Campbell, a writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. He is the author of the book, "The Power of Myth" and his philosophy is often summarized as "Follow your bliss." He begins this collection by saying, "Follow your bliss. The heroic life is living the individual adventure" and what follows is a collection of personal essays that sometimes read like journal entries about his reflections on life. I am just getting started with this one and I am glad to have a hard copy for all the underlining I am doing in it already.