Tribute to Madeline L'Engle

A friend's teenage son introduced me to A Wrinkle in Time in 1976. Since then, I have shared it, along with the other books in the Time Quartet, with my daughter and countless friends.

During times when I have felt world-weary, I have turned back to Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin and come away renewed and uplifted.

Here, perhaps, is my favorite passage (from A Wind in the Door):

"If you've been assigned to me, I suppose you must be some kind of a Namer, too, even if a primitive one."
"A what?"
"A Namer. For instance, the last time I was with a Teacher--or at school, as you call it--my assignment was to memorize the names of the stars."
"Which stars?"
"All of them."
"You mean all the stars, in all the galaxies?"
"Yes. If he calls for one of them, someone has to know which one he means. Anyhow, they like it; there aren't many who know them all by name, and if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling."
"Am I supposed to learn the name of all the stars, too?" It was an appalling thought.
"Good galaxy, no!"
"Then what am I supposed to do?"
Proginoskes waved several wings, which, Meg was learning, was more or less his way of expressing "I haven't the faintest idea."
"Well, then, if I'm a Namer, what does that mean? What does a Namer do?"
The wings drew together, the eyes closed, singly, and in groups, until all were shut. Small puffs of mist-like smoke rose, swirled about him. "When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That's basically a Namer's job. Maybe you're supposed to make earthlings feel more human."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She sat down on the rock beside him; she was somehow no longer afraid of his wildness, his size , his spurts of fire.


Underway and Pending

Aha! I'm on a roll. Two posts in one day!
As a true bibliophile, I never read just one book at a time. Usually I move between 4 or 5. Again pointing to the lushness of life, there are 9 I'm juggling at present:

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Future of Man, Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
God and Elizabeth Bishop: Meditations on Religion and Poetry, Cheryl Walker
Haiku: This Other World, Richard Wright
History in English Words, Owen Barfield
She Who Changes: Re-Imaging the Divine in the World, Carol P. Christ
Structures of Everyday Life: Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century (Vol. 1), Fernand Braudel
What I Learned from God While Quilting, Ruth McHaney Danner & Cristine Bolley
Writing the Trail: Five Women's Frontier Narratives, Deborah Lawrence

with another 9 awaiting me:

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct, P. M. Forni
The Craft of Research, Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams
Identity Crisis: How Identification is Overused and Misunderstood, Jim Harper
Libertarianism: A Primer, David Boaz
On The Wealth of Nations, P. J. O'Rourke
The Qur'an, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali
The Road Story and the Rebel: Moving Through Film, Fiction, and Television, Katie Mills
Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, Elizabeth Edwards
Wild Ducks Flying Backward: The Short Writings of Tom Robbins, Tom Robbins

In an inconstant state of reading

The fact that it's been nearly a year since my last post says much! Life has been SO full. Still ...
Here's a list of some of the the titles I've read or listened to in the last year. Of course they're in alphabetical order--I am a librarian, after all.
As I'm not averse to a rollicking good discussion, feel free to share.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer, Maya Angelou
Daniel Deronda, George Eliot
Darwin's Children, Greg Bear
Darwin's Radio, Greg Bear
Dubliners, James Joyce
Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel, Jonathan Safran Foer
Jazz, Toni Morrison
Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, Jonathan Culler
The Margarets: A Novel, Sheri S. Tepper
The Mitford Years (working my way through the series), Jan Karon
Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
Until I Find You, John Irving
A Widow for a Year, John Irving
A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems, 1978-1981, Adrienne Rich

Oh, oh ... almost forgot two other fabulous listens:

Baudolino, Umberto Eco
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Umberto Eco


The Birthday of the World and Other Stories

First, with respect to other stories - the Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a report entitled Bloggers: A portrait of the internet's new storytellers. See http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/186/report_display.asp for the details.

Second, the title of this post refers to the Ursula K. LeGuin book, from which I culled this delightful quote:
"On the ship, later, I learned that people who live in artificially complicated situations call such a life 'simple.' I never knew anybody, anywhere I have been, who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details, the way a planet looks smooth, from orbit." (Solitude)

As if that weren't enough to captivate me, I tripped across Margaret Atwood's (another perennial favorite) review of LeGuin's book at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15677.

Ah what a wonderful dirtball this is!


Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

Recorded books are my solution to freeway stress. Not only can the reader's voice be delightfully soothing, but my desire to know what happens next changes how I view any traffic delay!

I recently finished listening to Friends, Lovers, Chocolate. Book two in Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series features Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. It is from Isabel that I learned of William James' notion of the one white crow--only one white crow is needed to challenge the generally accepted idea that all crows are black.

I like the philosophical implications ... I'm busy looking for a whole murder of white crows.


Begin at the Beginning

As a librarian quite comfortable with technology, I'm a surprisingly late-blogger, but then I've been consumed with becoming a librarian. Now that the parchment is dry and Clapp Library familiar, I'm ready to venture further afield. So here I begin ...

[Begin at the Beginning is also the title of a charming picture book by Amy Schwartz.]