Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Reports

I have finished two books this week. The first, for the Pastor's Book Club at church, is The Help. It is a coming to awareness look at the earliest days of the Civil Rights movement, weaving the stories of three "colored" maids, working for white families, with events in the early sixties. The march on Washington, which hasn't happened yet in the course of the story, is a reference point. Thought-provoking for me; this book gave me a perspective on times that I lived through; times that I was barely aware of, in the shelter of my little white family.

The other book, for another Book Club, was The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness. This collection of folk tales also addresses the life of Joel Ben Izzy, the author and narrator. A common theme is silence. Indeed, ben Izzy loses his voice after a bout with throat cancer, and lives in a virtual silence which is enriched by the stories he tells. I find a correlation with my own search for meaning as a newly retired person. Another book I am reading is called The Purpose Driven Life, this book discusses the impossibility of understanding for myself what my purpose is and why I was created. It instructs me, instead, to turn to God to learn what the Creator has in mind for me. I think, like Joel ben Izzy, I must accept the silences in my life and see them as living, as part of the story that is me.

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