Here’s a few things I read and enjoyed in September.
Becoming C.S. Lewis – I’m a HUGE fan of C.S. Lewis and always like to be reading something by or about him. This biography focuses on his early years. I’d give it a B so far (about ½ way through). What I found more fascinating was Walter Hooper’s interview with Eric Metaxas (I transcribed and posted the four hours of interviews). Hooper compiled and edited almost 4,000 pages of Lewis’ letters into three huge volumes, all of which I’ve read and adored. I’ll be posting a very long article in the coming months summarizing some of the key things I learned while reading those letters.
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury: My favorite novel of all time is Fahrenheit 451. I try to read it at least once a year. The audio book with Tim Robbins as narrator is unmatched. All that to say I was thrilled to learn of Bradbury’s book on writing and it did not disappoint. It’s not a technical manual. It’s much more about the inspiration behind the urge to write. He talks about passion, about joy, about motivation, about what gets you angry, what gets you up in the morning. He says you have to write about these things or you won’t. He also said he started writing 1,000 words a day when he was 12 years old. It was ten years before he published a piece. Some would look at a twenty-two year old as a young author. But he’d already put in ten years of labor at that point. Try writing a thousand words a day for just one week and you’ll be astonished that he was doing that so young. It’s no wonder he had such a successful literary career.
Printers Error by Rebecca Romney. If you’ve watched any Pawn Stars, you’ve seen Rebecca as the rare-book-expert. Here she collects a number of obscure stories around the history of printing books. That may not sound interesting, but consider the role the book has played in history – how much power the printed word has held, especially when first introduced, and you quickly run into a tumult of shocking stories. Things like rare book forgeries, and life and death Bibles. I also liked how she draws out the humor and irony in these stories.
Bridge over River Kwai. C.S. Lewis talks about friendships starting when you share a “you too?” moment with someone. “You like that too?” A neighborhood friend who shares a love of bikes recently shared of his love of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance. You too!?!?! He also said Bridge over River Kwai was a favorite so I picked it up and loved it. I loved how this story highlighted the complexities of war, loyalty, human nature, and power. The tension and what-ifs keep pulling you forward on every page.
Dream Big by Bob Goff. Short read full of encouraging stories of pursuing the bigger things in life. This guy definitely dreams big and lives life big. I’ve heard the audio book is good. First Bob Goff book for me.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – I’m cheating here a little, as I finished this book at the beginning of October, but I feel like I really need to mention it as it was one of the more touching stories I’ve read in a long time. The way the characters developed and grew in love and sensitivity moved me more than I would have ever anticipated. The description of the story makes it seem like a happy go lucky journey of an old man on a personal odyssey, and there definitely is that element, yet it weaves in so many thoughtful plot lines that I found it worth the journey for sure.
Side note: I found this book through a daily audio book deal I get called Chirp books. I’ve found some real gems here, so it’s worth subscribing.
- I wrote a post on the difference between affect and effect. But it was really about the nuanced nature of language and ideas.
- I borrowed the book The Thin Red Line from the Library. I’ve heard of the movie and wanted to read the book. Then I wondered where the title came from and found it was from the Kipling poem Tommy worth reading here.