In Hope of Beauty Laid Bare

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?
— Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

Number seventeen on my "18 for 2018" list at the start of the year was to read 36 books. I am halfway there. I immensely enjoy keeping this sort of list, and thought you might enjoy seeing it in case you are looking for books to read this summer. My favorites of the year so far are in bold. Though not in bold, I still highly recommend anything Alexander McCall Smith writes. His ability to make minutiae matter is why his stories most consistently make me feel happy, relaxed, and grateful to be alive. 

1. An Everlasting Meal - Tamar Adler
2. Gracism - David Anderson
3. Amy Carmichael (Christian Heroes) - Janet & George Benge
4. A Mother's Heart - Jean Fleming

5. The Supper of the Lamb - Robert Farrar Capon

6. The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Edith Schaeffer (re-read)
7. Moonwalking with Einstein - Joshua Foer
8. A Time of Love and Tartan (44 Scotland Street) - Alexander McCall Smith
9. Word by Word - Marilyn McEntyre

10. Hallelujah Anyway - Anne Lamott (re-read)
11. Love Big Be Well - Winn Colliet
12. Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamott (re-read)
13. The Complete Guide to Fasting - Jason Fung
14. The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse - Alexander McCall Smith

15. Shop Class as Soulcraft - Matthew Crawford
16. The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp

17. The Gospel Comes with a Housekey - Rosaria Butterfield
18. The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway


The three books I'm currently reading are shown here. I'm also still progressing day by day through Shauna Niequist's Savor devotional.  

Last night after the kids went to bed, I spent an hour updating my book queue for the second half of the year. This involved looking at my collection of scribbled book recommendations from various people and places in recent months and reading reviews on Amazon. I ended up buying one book and putting several others on hold at the library to see if I like them enough to buy them. I have realized in recent months that if I cannot write in a book I love, my heart can't get at the words in the same way. I adore getting to plan and and be intentional about my reading life. 

Here's the list of books I know I want to read this year:
1. Bed and Board - Robert Farrar Capon
2. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (reread)
3. Something Old, Something New – Tamar Adler
4. Almost Everything – Anne Lamott (pre-ordered for Oct release)
5. Grit – Angela Duckworth
6. All new AMS books
7. Other books by Robert Farrar Capon

And here's the list of books I might want to read: 
1. Put the Disciple into Discipline – Erin MacPherson
2. The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor
3. Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies – Marilyn McEntyre
4. The Meaning of Marriage – Tim Keller
5. The Boy Crisis - Warren Farrell and John Gray
6. The Essential Rumi - Rumi
7.  Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

I am certain I read for Annie Dillard's three reasons, but I also read in this hope:

If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.
— Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones