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Last Saturday, I gave you a peak at my bookshelves.

Let’s take another look, shall we?

I found Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry,
by Katrina Kenison, years ago. It is about neither God nor mittens, but if I could put a copy in the hands of every new mother, I would. Kenison is in search of a less frenetic, more thoughtful approach to family life, and she shares with us her discoveries along with stories of raising her two boys. I’m sure many mothers of young children imagine turning off the tv and scheduling fewer activities. But, then what? This book gives us a glimpse of what might happen next.

Perhaps many of you have already read Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner. I think I’ve mentioned it before. It was one of my favorites of the past year. In a previous memoir, Winner describes her journey from Judaism to Christianity. That was her beginning, and it was marked by enthusiasm and optimism. In this book, she describes the middle of her spiritual life. It is characterized by doubt, loneliness, and even boredom. This is a quietly beautiful book. It is a book about remaining faithful even when faith falters.

Sharing this final book with you is a bit like handing you my heart on a platter. Well, maybe not exactly, but I imagine if I ever find someone who loves this book as much as I do then I know I have found a friend. Unfortunately, Penelope Fitzgerald may just be the best writer you’ve never read.

You might find The Bookshop at your local used bookstore. Or, you can pick up this three-book edition (this is the copy on my shelf) from amazon: The Bookshop, The Gate of Angels, The Blue Flower (Everyman’s Library). The Bookshop is short, beautiful, and sad. It’s also funny. We are in a small English seaside town in the 1950s. A middle-aged widow defies the complacency and pettiness of her community and opens a bookshop.

Even a seemingly small thing like opening a bookshop can be an act of courage. Alas, the bravest and wisest among us do not always emerge as victors.

Still unconvinced? Let me just add that even the spirits have aligned themselves against our heroine. The bookshop, it turns out, is haunted.

What are you reading?

 

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