Reading, writing, and why is the blog called that?

And so I return to writing and reading. My first, and until now only, foray into the blogging world was my project of reading one book per week for a year and writing about it. That blog exists at this link if you want to see what kept me busy for some time.

I’m not undertaking a similar project this time, but wanted to find a way to keep talking about books, reviewing books, perhaps even having some discussions about books.
I’m planning to update weekly(ish) on what I’m reading or have read. I have a wide range of reading interests and will even review most books submitted to me (caveat: I’m an honest, but kind, reviewer).

the chilly, enduring odor of bear

Galway Kinnell

Note about the title, “the chilly, enduring odor of bear.” It comes from a poem entitled “The Bear” by Galway Kinnell. Kinnell is one of my all-time favorite writers and “The Bear” is simply an incredible poem. That phrase encapsulates much of what the well written word can portray. He did not say “it smelled like bear” or “I smelled a bear” or “there was the odor of bear” or “what smells? Oh look, a bear.”

“The chilly, enduring odor of bear.” Let those words roll around in your mouth, your mind, and yes, even your nose. So much said with so little. Great poetry, great fiction, great writing gives you those experiences.

The phrase comes near the beginning of the poem and is the onset of the narrator’s search for the bear. The symbolism for me here is this I how I see the this blog. It is the beginning of my ongoing journey to delve more into the world of words and thoughts and challenges and joys. The poem ends with the question: “what, anyway/ was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that poetry, but which I lived.” [You can read the entire poem here] It is a question I hope to ask at the end.currently reading

I usually have several books going at once, sometimes for different reasons. Currently I’m reading three books.

Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace, and Healing by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Ricereconciling all things, is the thinking of two people with a similar vision, but from very different backgrounds. I’m reading this in preparation for the Critical Issues Symposium at Hope College, an event I co-chair and as such end up doing a bit of reading on whatever topic we choose to cover. This year our challenging topic is the concept of reconciliation. So far, this is an excellent book which avoids easy solutions and shows that Christian believers can see the reconciliation theme in the our relationship with God, which also means we need to be actively involved in such a process (both personally and globally) in our own world.

The Annotated Emma, by Jane Austen, is really Emma by Jane Austen, but this version offers text on one side of the page and commentary on the other. I’ve read Emma and
The Annotated Emmaeverything else by Jane Austen several times. I’m a Janeite — you’ll just have to get use to it. I’ve already read the annotated versions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. In fact, I just finished S&S last week. Both editions are informative and interesting. I’ve learned plenty about eating habits, word use, carriages, servants, and many other things about life in Austen’s time. Sometimes more than I want to know, but you skip the commentary whenever you like. These editions take MUCH longer to read because you get pulled in and I only recommend them to return readers. People who have yet to read Jane Austen’s work (oh, what joy awaits you) should just enjoy the novels as she wrote them.

A Pocket Guide to Vietnam, 1962 was created by the Department of Defense and given A Pocket Guide to Vietnamto American soldiers to help lessen the culture shock of heading into a country most could not find on a map. I teach a first-year English/writing class every semester at Hope College and I usually build the class around the American war in Vietnam. I thought this would be interesting since it is a reprint of what those soldiers were told before heading into a country

and so it goes

So now I move forward and you can look for all the above as promised. While I do this as much for myself as anyone, I clearly put it out to the world in hopes of conversation. Comment away. Tell me I’m a fool (get in line!), say you love that book too, give me recommendations. Just let me know you are reading with me.  Thanks for following along.

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2 thoughts on “Reading, writing, and why is the blog called that?

  1. I ADORE the annotated Austens! I want that edition you picture above. I’m probably going to read the David Shapard annotation of Emma soon. Sense & Sensibility is my favorite by Austen, as well as the juvenilia piece “Love and Freindship” (sic), which is hilarious. I think she wroite it when she was sixteen to make her family chuckle. 🙂

  2. Welcome to a return to book blogging! All your books sound so interesting, although I’m most drawn to the Austen. I have a couple annotated versions but I simply haven’t gotten to them yet. One of these days…. Enjoy!

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