You would think that during a quarantine would be the best time to catch up on your reading. I’m discovering, however, that even now, there are little imps who want to sneak in and steal your reading pleasure.
For many of you, it is probably being stuck in the house with the whole, every single one, entire family. If you’re like me, you love each of them and they are so special, but can’t they go some place else for a while? Why do they have to be so loud when you pick up a book? Or come into the room just as you settle into your comfortable seat? This quarantining is taking family time to a whole new level. One we never had a chance to prepare for.
Others of us, like my mom, have a different problem. This time of social distancing just emphasized how quiet and empty your home is. Meeting your friends for coffee or a meal had to be put on hold for a while. And although, they remind you were as close as your phone, that was still so far away.
I’m battling a different imp. Spring has arrived in all of its glory. The trees and flowers are beautiful. Although we in the south have had extra doses of hail and tornadoes this year, the outdoors are still lush, green and beautiful. My backyard was calling me every time I sat at my laptop.
Still, April for me was a good reading month. I read in a variety of genres and coincidentally finished all my books in just the last few days.
I regretfully ended The God You May Not Know by David Jeremiah. I became familiar with Dr. Jeremiah when I listened to his radio program Turning Point on my way home from work many years ago. He is able to introduce you to new things while putting the old stories we’ve heard since childhood in a new light.
In The God You May Not Know, Dr. Jeremiah looked at various attributes of our great and holy God and showed how they matter to us today. One example was the familiar story of the prodigal son. Jeremiah said he had heard the great teacher, Lloyd John Ogilvie spoke on this many years ago. He explained that prodigal means ‘lavish, unrestrained, unhibited’. “The real prodigal,” Jeremiah remembered Ogilvie saying, “is not the boy who ran away and spent his money in riotous living. It is the father who never stopped loving him, who waited every day for him to come home, and who, when he came home as a returning rebel, threw out a glad hand of welcome and put on a feast second to none. In a lavish, loving way, that father said, ‘Welcome home, boy.’ He was the prodigal father.”
Our heavenly Father will not be practicing social distancing when He calls us home.
Where I grew up in the northwest corner of South Carolina, we lived near a small crossroads known as Little Chicago in what everyone called Dark Corners. The name of the community came from its rumored moonshining past. To me there has always been a kind of a mythical feel whenever I hear of stills, Dukes of Hazzard, and runnin’ shine.
Where have all our moonshiners gone? (It’s weird to write a title without more capitals.) tells about the world of moonshiners and revenuers one could find in the Appalachian mountains. A balance of bittersweet memories for dirt-poor farmers trying to eke out a living and law men risking their lives going into the backwoods. This small book is packed full of true and mythic stories of producing moonshine. But possibly the most interesting part is the numerous black-and-white photos of stills and the characters, mainly the law officers, involved in moonshining.
I always want to be reading a book on the art and craft of writing because—well if you have read this far you can tell why. I have a long way to go and I’ve learned when you take a hike it helps to have someone with you who knows where you’re going.
I’d Rather Be Writing by Marcia Golub more than fits the bill. I love how she weaves in writing tips with practical time-saving ideas. This isn’t a boring treatise that some college professor feels like they have to put out to keep tenure. Instead this is a friend sitting with you over coffee telling you their experience. I love books like this. There’s no bull, no try to impress the reader, instead you have someone sharing their experiences and examples that has helped them in their writing career.
Finally, we get to the latest mystery I’ve been reading. I chose a classic from a writer I read in my twenties and thought I’d read again since I presume to think that I’m now his peer. (Cough)
The Lonely Silver Rain, John D. MacDonald’s final entry in his Travis McGee series. McGee, a grizzled old beach-bum philosopher who reigns upon his boat, the Busted Flush, docked in southern Florida, finds himself in the sights of very determined killers. Even after thirty years, MacDonald’s story of a world-weary fighter and a paradise that is showing its wear is as vivid as when I first read it.
I have a long way to go to come anywhere close to painting a world like his. That’s okay. I’m going to enjoy the journey because what a worthy goal it is to chase.