A Reading (and Music) Break

I came across a book last week by an author I love, and for once, it turned out to be a book I hadn’t read before. Here’s a paragraph I read last night.

“It was dim and shadowy in the little church, after the glare of the sunshine, and I stood for a few moments looking round.  The walls and floor were of stone–the floor uneven, worn into channels by the passage of many thousands of feet–the roof was barrel-shaped, crossed by great oaken beams.  The windows glowed like jewels and threw coloured patterns on the stones.  Over the doorway was a wooden screen and carved upon it were the words, “O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”

It seemed to me good advice.  I knelt down in the nearest pew and prayed that Simon might be guided aright through all the dangers and difficulties of his life.  When I rose, I felt happier and more relaxed.”  ~ from Katherine Wentworth, by D.E. Stevenson

Paragraphs like this are the essence of why Stevenson is a hit with me. Today it is gray and rain is pelting the windows. Katherine Wentworth is my book of choice. The author’s Mrs. Tim books are some of my favorites in the library.

Some might sneer at books like these, but I enjoy them. They are filled with apt observations about human nature, the morality is right side up, and running through the books are themes of endurance, strength in adversity and the kind of love that sticks in tough times.

I have mentioned before that I also appreciate the books of Elizabeth Goudge. Her book, The City of Bells, is among my top five favorites, along with The Dean’s Watch. There are fewer and fewer copies of these books available as they fall apart and go out of print. It is sad to think that unless I buy up used copies of these books, Emily will never get to read them. The newer novels coming into libraries aren’t even on my radar. The messed-up state of our world is reflected in the books of younger authors.

I don’t want to read depictions of bed-hopping, abortion, adultery and sleaze and read the name of my Savior taken in vain, along with constant vulgarity. That’s not writing, that’s vomiting, and frankly, many of the books I take off the shelves at the library go right back after looking at them.

It isn’t that good books don’t have these themes of sin and its consequences in the writing. The tension between good and evil is always there or there wouldn’t be a story. It’s that too many young authors have abandoned good prose for crass shock material that takes the base and the grotesque and celebrates it or causes readers to wallow in the details until they are defiled by it.

Good writing naturally shows the ultimate triumph of good over evil. How that is all worked out within the plot is what makes books so interesting. I like to come away from a book thinking about the themes and message it contains. Katherine Wentworth (I’m on page 145) contrasts an emotionally healthy, if poor, widow raising three children, with a stifling, controlling relative who has everything money can buy, and nothing of the priceless gifts that love and freedom bring relationships.

I highly recommend this book, even though I haven’t finished it yet!

Here’s a music break, a little Dubussy impressionism for your day! I love this piece.

8 thoughts on “A Reading (and Music) Break

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m always so grateful for your recommendations and insights when it comes to reading material and music. All of my literary loving friends have borrowed my copy of “The Dim Lantern” after your reference (I got it when you put a quote on your blog from it). There are treasures out there to read/listen to if you just look hard enough. I appreciate you doing so much of the work for your readers. Thank you!!!

  2. Lisa K says:

    Thanks for more book recommendations! We feel the same way about current fiction – it’s wonderful that old books haven’t completely disappeared!

  3. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    The title is ‘reflections in the water’ and that’s exactly what it sounds like!

  4. Kathy Ruth says:

    Thank you for mentioning D.E. Stevenson. I had read her books years ago and loved all of them. I need to read them again. Thank you for reminding me of her.

  5. Tim Cunningham says:

    Nice to see another Elizabeth Gouge fan! As well as the two you mention, both dearly loved, I was able to purchase copies of the last two volumes of the Dameroshay trilogy. Both “Pilgrim’s Inn” and “Heart of the Family” turn up from time to time and so does the opening “The Bird in the Tree.

    You might also enjoy a couple of books by Gouge’s Canadian counterpart Grace Irwin, specifically “Least of All Saints” and “Andrew Connington” but avoid the concluding “Contend With Horses”

  6. Margaret L. Been says:

    I love D.E. Stevenson also! I think I’ve read them all, and am ready to re-read them. The library up in Park Falls, near where we lived, had them all. I hope I can find them around Waukesha County!

    What atmosphere she creates! And good stories with values.

  7. INC says:

    I missed this post when it went up. I’m glad I stumbled across it because I love D. E. Stevenson. I found her years ago, and when we’ve moved I’ve tried to see if the library has any of her books I haven’t yet read. I enjoy her storytelling and descriptions of Scotland.

    I believe her father was a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson.

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