"Be like the bird, who
Halting in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Knowing he hath wings."
Not-at-all related to my quote for this week, but related to reading…so I'm putting it here anyway. (It's my blog, right? ;))
A lot of you know that I was reading, and very much enjoying, Milton's Paradise Lost with a group of lovely ladies over on the AO Forum. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I needed to put it aside. It wasn't because I didn't like it – I did! Such beautiful language and imagery. And reading a 'stiff' book like that is always better with a group. I did feel a wee bit guilty about dropping out of the discussion. But…here's the thing. March was intense for our family. My time and energy were at a minimum. I found myself not reading at all because I couldn't manage Paradise Lost, yet I was 'behind' in the discussion so I felt guilty about not reading it. So I was watching Netflix instead. Reading a book out of guilt – even a very worthy one like Paradise Lost – is not a good reason to read it. Reading it out of obligation, or reading furiously to catch up with a group without taking the time to savor it just so I could say I finished and add it to my list….not good reasons either. I struggle with the temptation to want to read All.the.Books. Reading All.the.Books isn't a bad thing. But I don't have to read All.the.Books today. Paradise Lost has been there for 400 years already. I think it'll be okay to save it for a couple more until I have the capacity to read and savor and enjoy and not just rush the rest of the way through it so I can say that I finished.
I re-read a Mitford book and finished Pride and Prejudice with my husband. This kick-started me out of my Netflix habit, even in the midst of all the craziness of the past month. I read a couple of scholarly articles linked to by various AO friends – these were short but made me feel accomplished because I could finish them fairly quickly. Finally finished The Screwtape Letters, which had been sitting on my pile for quite a while. And now I find my reading habit has come back. I'm looking forward to jumping back in with the AO discussion group when we start I Promessi Sposi next month. I can't read All.the.Books right now, but I can read some. Slowly. Gently. And always keeping a lighter read in there for those days when my brain-space isn't up for a challenge.
All this to say…don't feel guilty if you can't read it all today. Read what you can and keep the habit alive. Your mind and heart and soul will thank you.
My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: The Daily Office Lectionary Readings and Prayers from The Trinity Mission
The Cloud of Witness (Gell)
A Sacrifice of Praise (poetry anthology, edited by Trott)
The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost (Wright)
Theological: On The Incarnation (St. Athanasius, with introduction by CS Lewis)
AO Book Discussion Group: *Between Books*
Personal Choice: The Clockwork Universe (Dolnick)
With my Hubby: Emma (Austen)
Family Read-Aloud Literature: The Wouldbegoods (Nesbit)
*I am also reading Scouting the Divine (Feinburg) with a women's group at church and Charlotte Mason's Volume 6 for a local CM book club, but these meetings are infrequent and so I just read the brief section assigned as our meetings come up. They aren't really part of my regular reading rotation as the rest of these are.
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