On My Reading Table

I rarely can read one book at a time. They are like my security blanket; having a pile next to me is rather comforting.  Right now I am reading:  A Widening Light by Luci Shaw, In Praise of Mortality by Rainer Maria Rilke, at the tail end of Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment by Brian Godawa, Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians edited by Kelly Monroe, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoffer, Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler, The Necessity of Prayer by EM Bounds and The Pacific  and Other Stories by Mark Helprin.  I’ll let you know how these turn out…

Last night I finishedThe Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari.  This book did not plunge the depths of human emotion and turmoil regarding the genocide in Darfur the way a more literary writer could or make it a tragic sentiment as a Hollywood screen writer might.  For this I was very glad (and wondered about the spiritual base, protection and development of the steady author).  I could not have taken it.  It felt more like skating across the surface and slipping through the ice now and then.  If you read it you will emerge wet and shaken.  You will cry or come near to it if you let your imagination dwell on some of the accounts of such horrific evil.  These are the stories that must be told. I care deeply about the reading and the writing of such global stories. Every mention of women and children (which are many) was highlighted to me. The author, a translator for many reporters and government agencies, gives an account of the thousands of stories he had to translate for the UN so they could validate what was happening.  I am spurred on to learn more of this present-day hell-dominated happening and pray. 

As a writer, this was one of the most moving segments of the book:

“…The stories come pouring out, and often they were set before us slowly and quietly like tea.  These slow stories were told with understatement that made my eyes and voice fill as I translated; for when people seem to have no emotion remaining for such stories, your own hearts must supply it.  It helps many people just to have someone listen and write their story down; for if their suffering is noted somewhere, by someone, anyone, then they can more easily let loose of it because they know where it is. Only little comfort can be given, however, to a woman or girl who has been ravaged.  The pain is written deep into her flat eyes and flat voice.  There is, she believes, nothing for her now.  We would listen with heads bowed, careful to tread only where she would accept another question and perhaps one or two more.”

2 Replies to “On My Reading Table”

  1. That is hard to say…like choosing vegetables over fruit or whole grains over protein! They all serve a different and important role in the nourishment of the body. Right now I am enthralled with the writing of Mark Helprin, being about 70 pages into the book (the first I have read of his). I enjoy short stories/anthologies. He is like reading a Rembrant or seeing words to a symphony. I am stunned. Finally a modern fiction author that does not bore me within the first 10 pages!

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