"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Friday, October 28, 2011


I'm so stoked for this year's Big Read! Each year, our city library participates in the Big Read, which focuses on one select novel. (I usually get a free copy of the highlighted book from the library. Big plus, right?) This year's selection is Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, an incredible author. In preparation for this awesome event, I recently re-read (or listened) to the novel.

There is so much goodness in this book, and it is inspiring as well as interesting There are so many good lessons to learn from reading Gilead.

There are many many themes and quotes to delve into while reading this book:
  • Death: is like going home, material things vulnerable to humiliations of decay, difficulty in making people care about old things
  • Blessing: the power behind it, grace, forgiveness
  • Fire: sparks will fly, fire settling into itself, fireflies, the cemetery at sunset, burning the negro church, a coal on the lips, lightning fire, nothing cleaner than ash but it affects the taste, satisfaction of burning away frustrations
  • "Some people just go around trying to get their faith unsettled."
  • Feeling the poverty of your remarks in a situation that is difficult to describe in words
  • Taking pride in having hard hands
  • Being the beloved
  • Pleasures found where you'd never intentionally look for them
  • Visions and Prophets: "Without vision, the people perish," "An impressive sun shines on us all," memory/retrospect, the difference between the scribes and the prophets is that the prohpets love their people, the purpose of a prophet is to find meaning in trouble
  • Choices: "One lapse of judgment can quickly create a situation where only foolish choices are possible," nursing a grudge,"A little too much anger too often or at the wrong time could destroy more than you can ever imagine."
  • Being lost: prodigal son, lost coin, lost sheep
  • Water: baptism, sprinklers, water droplets on tree, baptising the cats, sprinkling vs. immersion
  • Sacrament: bread, communion with an ashy biscuit, ritual
  • War vs. Peace: scriptural support of either opinion, punishments for war as plagues, honor in war
  • Sorrow: forgetting it means we forget how we lived, worshipping sorrow, the sacred mystery in it, the value in suffering
  • Kindness: things that are kindly intended but not considerate, the love of doing kindnesses that are dangerous or exotic, judgment, covetousness, having to tolerate kindness from others
  • Transformations: coming quickly and uninvited, change vs. fate, judgment, forgiveness
  • "There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life: each one of them sufficient."

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