When I photographed the above group of books, I planned on writing a bit about my eclectic taste in literature, and briefly sharing thoughts on each title. As usual, I am little behind. The book I had planned on ending with, and profess to be the best book I read in 2014, has won the Pulitzer. Wow...need I go further? Congratulations to Anthony Doerr on winning the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. There are so many summaries and reviews of All the Light We Cannot See, I am seriously out of my league. But, you know I'm going to jump off that cliff anyway. Doerr transports us into the horrors and devastation of World War II with vivid detailed motion, alternating the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner Pfennig. The young blind Marie-Laure, and her father leave Paris just as the Nazis enter the city. Seeking refuge with a great uncle in the seaside town of Saint-Malo, they carry with them a possession the Nazis are desperately seeking. Werner, an orphan, is recruited to join the Hitler Youth academy. When it is discovered he is an expert at building and repairing radios, he is sent on special assignment to track the opposition. In the field, Werner witnesses the heinous acts man will commit during war. Following radio transmissions, he is brought to Saint-Malo where the two stories cross. All the Light We Cannot See is definitely the best book I've read in awhile. What I liked: The intense escalating narrative and well developed characters. What I wanted: More. If you haven't read it...pick it up at your local bookstore/library, set aside a day or two, grab your favorite snack and beverage, and get comfortable. Once drawn in you will lose all sense of time and space. Have I convinced you?
Have you read All the Light We Cannot See? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I'm reading Sandford Friedman's Conversations With Beethoven, and getting ready to pick-up My Sunshine Away, M.O Walsh this week. What are you reading? Have a lovely week!
Last night as I lay reading a selection from Anne Lamott's Small Victories I realized I misspelled her last name in my last post. I have been following Ms. Lamott's writing since picking up her book, bird by bird almost 20 years ago. I do not believe this is the first time I have made this mistake. Though I have her books in front of me, I have often referred to her as Anne Lamont. My apologies to you and to Ms. Lamott. I believe names are important, and I must own my mistake.
Now that was yesterday's goof-up. I wonder what I'll do today.
and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die...
Ecclesiastes 3 has always been one of my favorite passages. It is my reminder everything has a time; everything changes. There will always be good times and there will always be heartbreak. The trick is to find peace and the grace in both. I can't say I am always successful in either the searching or the finding. This time last year, I was filled with excitement and anticipation of the arrival of my first grandson. I was hurriedly trying to tie up all the loose ends at school and preparing to leave when the call came. Our little Wyatt took his time, and after a bump in the road, he arrived beautiful and with all his fingers and toes. He was and still is such a blessing. He makes my heart smile. It is hard to believe he is going to turn one in just over a month. Last year we awaited a birth...this year we are awaiting a final goodbye. My dad, as I have been told by hospice, is at the end of his life. Though he was taken from me three years ago by dementia, I would be lying if I said I am ready. My brain tells me it is his time; he has lived an amazing long life, filled with adventure, but my heart is aching. He didn't always choose the easy road, but he accepted his lot and never looked back. I always thought the song "I Did it My Way" was talking about Daddy.
I've shared my dad's favorite piece of advice here often. Whenever there were worries and fears, he would say, "you've got to put one foot in front of the other, and walk the path put in front of you". I'm trying. Easter, I spent the morning crying with him and holding his hand. It was the first time he knew I was his daughter in three years. It is only now I realize this may be the first time I ever truly experienced Easter. And maybe, this is where grace has delivered me. I attended an event featuring Ann Lamont last weekend. Though I've read so many of her books, I was on the edge of my seat listening. I forgot there were over eight hundred people in attendance. I felt as if she was speaking to just me, and I didn't want to miss anything. I had already read so many of the stories she told, but I thirstily drank in every word. Somewhere in the middle, maybe near the end, she used the words "stop and be present". I was transported back to my dad's room Easter morning. I was so afraid as I walked down the corridor to my dad's room. I walked to the foot of his bed, and he said, "it's my daughter, the best gift"; tears ran down his sunken cheeks. My fear left. The next few hours, I sat holding a ninety eight year old hand scarred by both age and life. A hand that had held mine both physically and metaphorically for so many years. It was my time to hold his hand. I didn't fuss over him. I didn't straighten he bed linens. I simply sat and held his hand...I was present.
"I do not understand the mystery of grace-- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." Anne Lamont