On the Trail of Wonder (Brief Book Reviews)


I just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the IncarnationA non-fiction book for the Advent and Christmas season or any time of year, really, it chronicled her life as it pertained to her faith story. In Madeleine’s intelligent, honest and thoughtful voice, she shares her unconventional childhood with two loving, artistic parents, her questioning teen years at boarding schools, her college and post-college years of searching, doubting and asking, and her years as wife and mother, writer and speaker where her faith became more natural, more a part of who she was. Because Madeleine was at ease with mystery and with not attempting to explain away everything, she has some fascinating tales to tell. It was not a book that will tell you what to think, but shows her way of thinking and encourages you to encounter the mystery of faith for yourself. I’m sorry to say that this book is out of print, but used copies, like mine, are available.

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God made me cry, smile, nod in agreement, and clutch the book to my chest while muttering, “It’s so good.” He expresses humanity’s reaching, searching and wrestling with the Divine in such a tender, turbulent, up close, sincere and universal way that a person of any faith or none at all would be able to relate to these verses. I finished it on Tuesday night and immediately wanted to order one for my daughter. It’s also beautiful–a deckle-edged softcover with delicate white filagree on the silver spine.

Wendell Berry’s Terrapin: Poems  is my first poetry book by him. This was one of Alan’s Christmas gifts to me and in his signature natural, straightforward way, Berry takes us to his native Kentucky, among woods and hills, listening to leaves fall like rain, noticing flowers growing up in April, contemplating a snake’s October dinner “big with a death to nourish him during a long sleep”,and musings on how a terrapin “is always home”. Uncomplicated and lovely in its artlessness, these are poems to soothe a modern mind.

I’d love to hear from you. What are you reading in the new year?

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