Running behind on writing about the books I’ve read. Here is a trio of very different books.
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, by Cynthia Bourgeault
Reread. Originally recommended on Carl McColman’s anamchara blog, I think. The first time I read it I skimmed through parts. This time I read more thoroughly. It’s one of a half dozen books on prayer and the spiritual life that most speak to me at this point in my journey. There were two points that I found especially helpful this time through. (This is by no means a summary of the main points of the book, just of the ones that I needed to hear right now.) Point one, centering prayer is “purification of the heart” at an unconscious level. It is seeking to be released from hidden agendas, mixed motives, compulsions and aversions in the realms of power/control, affection/esteem, security/survival. I may need to address some of these things on a conscious level, but I don’t necessarily have to. I may also just let them go. Second point, near the end she mentions that the call to silence is often a call to stop evading and face what you’ve been running from. This rings true. I do a lot of evading.
wild, by Cheryl Strayed
I no longer remember what interested me about this book; I think I read a review. I’ve been on the library’s wait list for some time. Cheryl Strayed, who is also the advice columnist Dear Sugar, took a weeks-long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail trying, in part, to move on from her recent divorce and from the early death of her mother several years previously. I thought she did an excellent job of balancing the internal journey and the external journey. If I’d read it 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago, it might have inspired me to hike the trail. At this point in my life the inspiration is more abstract. It encourages getting out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, and being honest with yourself.
Necessity’s Child, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Autobuy. This most recent entry in the Liaden Universe is a side branch story. I had not intended to read the whole book at once, but I gulped it down anyway. Lee & Miller’s books suck me in and I wanted to know what happened. I did skim some parts of it; there are three viewpoint characters and I found the parts in Syl Vor’s POV more engaging than the other two. Syl Vor’s challenge is to recover from the necessary but damaging experience of living under Plan B, when he learned more than a child should know about danger and the necessity of constant vigilance. I will, at some point, reread the book (their books are high on my comfort read list) and I expect I will reread the other sections with more thoroughness then. I am, as a long term fan, unable to judge how this book would work as an on-ramp for new readers, but I suspect it would be fine.