Friday, August 22, 2008

Advance Readers

My wife works part-time at the local, independent bookstore during the summer. It gives her a chance to get away from the house and be around books, which in addition to yarn, are among her favorite things. One of the cool perks about working at a book store are the advance reader copies that publishers send out prior to full-scale publication; you get a sneak peek at what's coming out in the next three to six months. Every now and then she'll see one that she thinks would be of interest to me and brings it home. Last week she brought two, American Buffalo by Steven Rinella and Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writers Life by Kathleen Norris. I'll write more about the first one when I finish it but as of now I'm not overly impressed with neither the writing nor the author's heavy reliance on frontier journalist accounts of life on the Great Plains during the 19th century. The second book is a fascinating read. I've always like Kathleen Norris's work and while this one might not be as interesting as Dakota and Cloister Walk, it is worth setting time aside to read. In the book, Norris examines the topic of acedia theologically, psychologically, and spiritually. As is her style, she relates the topic to her own life. And as is her style, she enables the reader to do the same. I'm only about half way through the book and there have been a number of comments that deeply resonated within me (see my last post). So far it has been interesting to read how early Christian monastics viewed "sin". Again, I'll write more about the entire book once I've finished it, just be on the look out for it when it hits the shelves of your favorite book seller next month. (As an added bonus the book features an appendix of collected quotes from theologians, psychologists, and spiritual leaders on acedia that give one a greater appreciation for what acedia truly is.)

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