A Reading List for the Summer (or Winter)

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

It’s time to get together our summer reading list, or if you live in the Southern Hemisphere your winter list. Maybe not quite as pretentious as Bill Gates’ list but to be honest I found his to be a little overwhelming and from my perspective much too heavy for the relaxing ahead.

Summer and winter are meant to be slow paced relaxing seasons when the work is done and we sit back and enjoy the beauty of life. Summer I see myself relaxing in the garden, getting away with friends and inhaling the fragrance of life. If you are heading into winter imagine sitting by the fire with a good book and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine generating warm cosy feelings for the season.

Catching up on a little rest and contemplation, having some fun and generally letting go of work and anxiety is a great place to focus as we get our reading list together.

Summer is also a time to get out and explore and as you know I am a keen advocate for walking and pilgrimage so I have included a couple of books that are great for this type of activity.

And a heads up – this is my reading list not yours (though I hope you will get inspiration from it.) Think seriously about what you want to read this summer – for relaxing, to guide you on a journey of pilgrimage and to unleash your inner child and bring a smile to your face for the days ahead.

If you haven’t got hold of a copy of The Gift of Wonder yet you might want to do so – someone told me it is a good book to read barefoot, sitting in the grass.

Focus on Exploration and Pilgrimage

Robert Macfarlane: Landmarkhas been my constant companion over the last couple of weeks and I am still relishing the rich imagery of the language and the wonderful creativity in its pages. It is encouraging me to look at the world through new lenses yet again. His book The Old Ways: A Journey on Footis the next on my list of “must reads and as it begins with a midwinter walk, I know that it is a good book for any season.

Sheridan Voysey: The Making of UsIn this book Sheridan invites us to join him as he walks along England’s shores from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to Durham. But it is far more than that. As Sheridan expresses it: Through that pilgrimage and the reflection that followed, I landed on some important conclusions: that when life as we know it ends, new adventures can begin; that the loss of an identity can help us discover who we really are and that the trials of life can help release our best gifts to the world.” This insightful book is worth a good in depth read.

Carol Berry: Learning from Henri Nouwen and Vincent Van Gogh: A Portrait of the Contemplative LifeThis book is far more about Vincent Van Gogh and Carol Berry than it is about Henri Nouwen but I found the snippets gleaned from taking a class with Henri Nouwen to be very interesting. Her unpacking of Vincent Van Gogh’s story is extremely insightful. I wish I had read this before visiting the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. It would be a great book to take with you if you are heading off to Europe for a summer vacation.

Add a couple of old favorites

As usual my summer reading will include a couple of old favorites that I intend to reread. These are books that have richly shaped my life and continue to do so as I move forward on my journey.

John O’Donohue: Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, and To Bless the Space Between Us are 2 of my absolute favorites. They were great resources when I was working on The Gift of Wonder, and I find that I want to return to them over and over.

Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu: The Book of Joy. This is an amazing book with stories about the lives of two incredibly inspiring men as well as insights into life and faith is worth reading and rereading.

Add some poetry to your list:

I have 2 poetry books sitting on my shelf that I am really looking forward to getting into when my pace slows and I feeling in the relaxed and contemplative place I need for such reading –

Christine Valters Paintner’s Dreaming of Stones and Jenneth Graser’s The Present Moment of Happiness.

Don’t forget the Children’s books.

This year I am revisiting my favorite children’s book All the Proud Tribesmen a delightful story set in the South Pacific Islands that I wa given many years ago. It has been reread numerous times and never fails to delight me.

So what would you like to put on your reading list or add to mine for the coming season?

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