Tag Archives: anne morrow lindbergh

February 2012 reading list

Books I’ve already talked about
The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss
Picture Book Monday
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Letters from Berlin by Margarete Dos and Kerstin Lieff:
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster:

Other books
The Archived by Victoria Schwab: A gorgeously creepy and magical story. I loved it, from the contrast of the settings to the questions that Mackenzie faces. I’ll admit that at first the worldbuilding was a little disorienting, but stick it out. It’s worth it.

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce: I liked this one less than the first two in the trilogy. It was long–I thought unnecessarily–and I was annoyed by the one-dimensional portrayal of traditionally feminine women. But more than that, the emotional beats didn’t quite work. I should have cared a lot more about what was happening to Beka than I did.

North to the Orient by Anne Morrow Lindbergh: One of Lindbergh’s earlier flying books. It’s not my favorite by her, partly because some of the attitudes are wince-inducingly dated. For instance, white Protestant missionary schools in Alaska are seen as an unequivocal good and…yeah. They weren’t.

Home Front Girl by Joan Whelan Morrison: I referenced this one in my review of Letters from Berlin. In some ways, they’re mirror images–memoirs of young girls on opposite sides of the war. But Joan’s diaries are immediate in a way that Margarete’s memories aren’t. I loved her mix of humor and deep thoughts and silliness–she felt familiar, like a friend I hadn’t known before.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: I decided to try Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries–this is the first one. While Flavia is almost impossibly precocious, they’re great fun and satisfied my hankering for a new mystery series nicely.

Sky Coyote by Kage Baker: I had tried Sky Coyote once before and bounced off the detachment and cynicism. This time I was able to see past that to Joseph’s real care for other people. Now I just need to read the third book!

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie: I was expecting this to be a straight non-fiction about the village of Le Chambon during WWII. It’s actually written as a philosophy book, concerned with ethics. I also thought (because it was billed as a new purchase) that it was recently written. Once I got over my disorientation, I found Hallie’s mixture of narrative and examination to be very insightful and compelling.

Runelight by Joanne Harris: I liked Runemarks, the first book in this series, when I read it and expected to like this one as well. Happily, I did! Harris has a deft touch with humor, grand mythology, and character. I haven’t read her adult books, but she writes YA really, really well.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger: This is definitely a Mary Poppins of a book, though it requires serious suspension of disbelief for me (oh, steampunkish books, how you try me). I enjoyed it while reading, but doubt I will re-read it, and whether I read the next book will probably depend on my mood at that moment.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley: Ditto my comments for Sweetness, above.

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Gift From the Sea–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I read this lovely little book recently, and found it quiet but full of wisdom and inspiration. I had seen a quote from it on Elizabeth Wein’s Livejournal and something about it caught my attention. Then I saw a battered, yellowed, falling-apart paperback in a thrift store and thought, “Fifteen cents–why not?” It was a good investment and I plan to purchase a non-falling-apart copy in the future.

If I had to sum up Lindbergh’s point in this book, I think I would say that it’s a dialogue, an examination of how to live a life that’s at the same time spiritual, creative, and responsible, particularly from and for a woman’s point of view. One of the things I enjoyed about it was the lack of pronouncements. It’s tentative, feeling its way from shell to shell, from thought to thought. Moreover, it’s written from a perspective which is Christian but which doesn’t feel pushy or denominational.

The first half was what resonated most strongly with me, focusing as it does on the search for creative life amidst the world. The second half focuses more narrowly on marriage and so I found it less personally helpful, although I think it’s something I could well come back to in the future.

While the book is certainly written by, about, and for women, it seems to me that it has a wider usefulness, something with Lindbergh herself mentions in a few places.

It’s one of those books where I could practically quote the whole thing, but here are a few tastes. Hopefully they whet your appetite!

But I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want in fact…to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible…I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.

The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.

Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return.

Book source: my personal library (via Salvation Army)
Book information: Signet, 1960. Adult non fiction

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