Summer Pursuits

girl readingSome people categorize reading books as escapism or a guilty pleasure.  For me, reading is more like the necessities of breathing or eating or sleeping. Summer reading just means more time to give to the pursuit of a life fully lived since I’m not putting as much time into homeschooling. And all readers know that so many dimensions of the experience of life can only be found by crawling inside the written word of another person’s intellect or imagination.

There are lots of summer “must read” lists already circulating online so I won’t bother tampering with those. But I can share what has my attention right now. The books I’m reading (and yes, I habitually read multiple titles at once, alternating to accommodate various moods or circumstances) are what I consider pursuits to knowledge or leisure or empathy… not mere escapes!

I purchased this in 2013 and started it in February of this year. It’ll surpass Anna Karenina to claim the prize as the heftiest book I’ve ever read.  It is supremely satisfying with one of the most accomplished character developments and writing styles I’ve ever known, but it’s heavy. And I’ve taken frequent, extended breaks from it to dive into lighter literature…



I started The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books a couple months ago and have found them to be light but soulful… and outside of my usual spectrum of interest. Something about how Smith writes about Botswana just makes me pause and deliberate a little bit more in my own life. This title will be the third one I’ve read in the series.



What a vanilla title on a book that is bursting with excellence! I thought this would be your run of the mill “love your vocation” books and almost didn’t give it a shot. But I’m so thankful I read it. And I plan on buying and re-reading it periodically in my life. There is so much goodness here on the DUTY Christians have to create a beautiful life and to use their gifts.  This is written by the mother of Susan Shaeffer MacCauley who wrote the excellent For the Children’s Sake.  I consider The Hidden Art of Homemaking as mandatory reading now and wish I would’ve found it years ago…
I just started this book and have such high hopes for it already.  I first learned about Etty from Fr. Jacques Philippe in a footnote from Time for God (Seriously, do yourself a favor and read every book this man has ever written please. ) and immediately felt a weird supernatural connection to this woman based on what very little I knew about her.  I’m not sure what it is yet, but I suspect that I have a Russian-Dutch-Jewish soul sister here.  More on that later…


I really hope to squeeze this one in before summer’s over also.  My sister gave it to me for my birthday and I’ve desperately wanted to spend some time studying the art of storytelling… something about the oral narrative tradition being lost in today’s world really resonates with me and Sawyer’s book seems like a great place to start.


 Eww! Ick! Hiss!  I loathe books that contain photographs on the covers!!!  It is the single most deadly of the 7 deadly publishing sins (a riveting post coming up soon…) for all the offenses against imagination it strikes!  But alas, the Eliot Family Trilogy came back into print and the most affordable way to purchase these books is to get the new editions. I finished Pilgrim’s Inn (aka The Herb of Grace) this spring and found it even better than the original book The Bird in the Tree (and you really do need to start there.  Anyway, Goudge is probably in my top three favorite fiction authors of all time (outside the picture book world that is…) and this series was sort of her magnum opus in my opinion. Luckily, she’s fairly prolific and I can’t wait to work through all her books.



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