IVP - Strangely Dim - The Books I Could Bring

July 31, 2008

The Books I Could Bring

From the time I was four up into my college years, my family and I spent at least one week of every summer with my grandparents at a cottage in a small town in Canada. We swam, we read, we went for long walks in the mornings, we read, we slept, we read, we ate good food, we read, we played games. And we read. Being avid booklovers, our whole family could often be seen sitting in the cottage's "living room" (which was also the "dining room"), each buried in a different book. I still remember the excitement of packing for that vacation each year, and in particular deciding which books to take with me. Usually I just took them all.

I'm feeling that same childlike excitement about a cottage vacation coming up in August. This time my family and I will be in Michigan (the cottage in Canada is no longer available), but I am anticipating a similar restful rhythm of sleeping, eating, walking and--mostly--reading. So I thought I'd give you a peek at a few of the books on my short list for vacation. And since my sister and I will be driving rather than flying, I'll have plenty of room for ten or twenty extra books, just in case. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Two books by Naomi Shihab Nye (who's a favorite of mine already): Her newest book of poems and short prose, called Honeybee, and a book of essays (to inspire me toward my grad-school aspirations in creative nonfiction), Never in a Hurry. The title alone tells me I need to read this one in particular, since my life feels like it could, unfortunately, be aptly titled Always in a Hurry.

2. Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris. I've owned this one for a while now and never read it. I'm excited about what she's trying to do in this book--to name things in a new way, and explore of the power and limits of language.

3. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. This is a true story about the friendship formed between two men who come from completely different backgrounds, economic statuses and perspectives. They each write alternating chapters, so their own voices come through. I'm hoping it will help me get outside my own suburban world and see the reality of other people's existence--as well as the beauty of each person made in God's image.

4. And now for a little fiction: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I saw the movie of this and thought it was a little flat; characters and emotions were underdeveloped. I suspected, as I always do, that I'd like the book better. My sister just read the book and loved it for Lahiri's beautiful writing. So she's passed it on to me. Also, if you haven't seen the book--it's got a beautiful cover.

5. Also in the fiction genre, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. I just saw this one at Barnes & Noble this week, and it's gotten great reviews, including a starred review from Amazon. It takes place in India in the 1980s and is centered around a retired judge, his orphaned granddaughter, his cook and the cook's son (who lives in Manhattan). I'm attracted to it both for the range of themes it seems to cover (personal relationships, politics, modernization, economics) and, again, for perspective on the lives of people who live in cultures far different from the one I know.

On top of those, there's The Secret Life of Bees, Population 485, Left to Tell, maybe some Buechner or Mary Oliver, The Wild Iris . . . there are so many to choose from. Most likely, I won't even get through half of these. But most likely, you'll know which ones I did read, as I'm sure any of the books I've mentioned will spark many Strangely Dim-worthy thoughts and questions.

Posted by Lisa Rieck at July 31, 2008 7:54 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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