This year, I gave myself a Read-My-Bookcase Challenge. The idea was to read umpteen first-time books of my own bountiful shelf instead of buying new books because I happen to hear about them or hear them recommended this year. I have not done so well keeping up the pace (I’ve never been a fast reader,) but I am so excited by what I have got to read. I chose several books that did come highly recommended or that just looked really good, a variety of fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature. I can honestly say I’ve added a few to my Favorites List already, and that is saying a lot!
I have started two trilogies that I’m excited to get back to, “The Hawk and the Dove” by Penelope Wilcock and “Call the Midwife” by Jennifer Worth. Both of these are very spiritual. “The Hawk and the Dove” is categorized as Christian fiction (a genre I normally run from) but it is really just a very well written, very interesting story which focuses on the residents of an ancient monastery. My favorite part of the book, is the other narrative; a mother telling her daughter these old stories about their ancestors. Modern-day Melissa becomes just as much a character as the monks in the old tales. This book was truly well-written, kept my attention and touched my heart.
“Call the Midwife” is the real-life memoirs of a midwife in 1950’s London. Though the book is categorized as secular, it has a lot of spiritual undertones. The main character and authoress, Jenny, works alongside Anglican nuns who teach her how to care for the people of Poplar and also how to find God. This is definitely a new favorite of mine. I couldn’t put it down, couldn’t stop talking about it and loved every character. This has also been made into a popular BBC series of the same title which is also wonderful (and sticks pretty close to the books, so far.)
In order to further educate myself in the art of illustration, I read “Show Me a Story” by Leonard S. Marcus, which is a collection of interviews he conducted with the world’s leading children’s book illustrators (including, to my delight, Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, Kevin Henkes, Quentin Blake and more.) I found these fascinating and inspiring. I am now in the middle of “Illustrating Children’s Books” by Martin Salisbury, which is proving to be very good as well.
I have technically only marked three books off my list, because I wound up adding a few in for Lenten reading which took a lot of my reading time, but I’m hoping to pick up the pace more and more as summer progresses. I do love summer, particularly when it allows for literary leisure time!