“Books are living things and their task lies in their vows of silence. . . If you do them the favor of understanding them, of taking in their portions of grief and wisdom, then they settle down in contented residence in your heart.”
Pat Conroy, My Reading Life
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
“He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, for that is what he will know.”
— Annie Dillard (The Writing Life)
What are you reading today? Is it worth putting into your mind? Does it even matter what we read?
Betsy and Laurie
What we are reading:
Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee.
I love books that bring a fresh look at scripture. This book takes us into the life of Jesus through the eyes of Judas, an eye-witness to the miracles and events.
Tosca brings in details and emotion to the stories of Jesus that tug at the heart in an authentic way. This passage describing interaction with the leper brings tears to my eyes.
I could not mistake the way his voice broke as he cupped the leper’s face. As he said again: “I am willing.”
His thumbs brushed over the boils of the leper’s cheek, over the lesions rimming his mouth like the uneven stones lining the well in the desert. It was not the touch one gives an abomination, not the perfunctory graze of the physician . . . but the caress of one moved to weeping over the sight of something beautiful. The man dropped his head down into the Nazarene’s palm, and sobbed.
Insights from Iscariot make me think in new ways about Jesus:
My master had dirtied his hands on the leper and the paralytic both. Now he dirtied them publicly with the tax collector. I began to wonder if that was the way it was, that one must dirty his hands to heal.
As we enter the world of Judas through story we begin to see ourselves as not so different from the one who betrayed Jesus.
I am the leper. The demoniac. I, who was paralyzed by fear, who was blind.
The prostitute, the dead man in the tomb.
Me, All me.
There are not always easy answers in scripture and this story of Judas has always brought up more questions for me than answers. I love that this book does not try to leave us with answers but rests in the power of a story well told.
They called him a madman. They called him a liar. But now I know him as the face of God. Who does not save us from the Romans . . .
But saves us from ourselves.
Have you read it? Please share.
Laurie and Betsy
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
We don’t know how many years we have left to live– nobody does. We also don’t know how many books we have left in life to read. Maybe one. Maybe many. There is a finite number.
When I started thinking about reading this way it changed my reading selection. I began to be more discerning. For every book that I read, there is one that I don’t get to read. I don’t want to waste my choices.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
We are always looking for selections that are entertaining, well written, transforming, and renewing. This applies to fiction and nonfiction.
We want to share the good ones that we find. What have you read that would qualify? Have you read anything lately that is excellent and praiseworthy?
Laurie and Betsy
Are you discouraged? Let E. B. White cheer you up.
Glad we don’t have chickens.
Laurie and Betsy
The Writing Sisters
(photo taken at Library Way, NYC Public Library)