It’s time once again for one of my favourite challenges! You can read the rules here for the Six Degrees Challenge as hosted by Kate from Books are my favourite and best.
This month we start with a book that I have not yet read, but I’ve had my eye on for a while: “Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark” by Julia Baird. Alas, it won’t be released until July, but it’s another thing to look forward to this summer.
“…when our world goes dark, when we’re overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?”
It seems a particularly appropriate book to read during these pandemic times.
“Book of Delights” by Ross Gay
From awe and wonder to delight.
I love this book! And even though not everything Gay writes about is delightful, it is still a delight to read the entries. Gay set out to write about a delight every day for a year, and although he didn’t manage to do it every day, he discovered a lot, including that the practice of doing so gave him “a kind of delight radar”. So the more he studied delight, the more delight there was to study. He also discovered that his delight grew the more he shared it.
“Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process” edited by Joe Fassler
From delight to life changing.
Do you remember a passage of literature that changed your life? The book is based on Fassler’s series “By Heart”, in which he asked artists to choose a favourite passage from literature and explain its personal impact and why it matters. As Fassler writes in the preface, “…each contributor tells some version of the same story: I read something, and I wasn’t the same afterward.”
“Vesper Flights” by Helen Macdonald
From life changing to wonder of nature.
Macdonald hopes that this book of essays will work “a little like a Wunderkammer. It is full of strange things and it is concerned with the quality of wonder.” She already had me in the first essay when she writes about her experience of clucking to a falcon chick still in its egg and the chick calling back.
“Two Trees Make a Forest” by Jessica J. Lee
From the wonder of nature to a journey to the forest and flatlands of Taiwan.
Having lived in China for a few years, I know a little bit about Taiwanese history as it relates to China, but this book introduced me to so much more. Written by an environmental historian, the memoir shows how “geographical forces are interlaced with our family stories.” Winner of the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and a current contender in Canada Reads.
“The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature” by Sue Stuart-Smith
From a journey to the forest and flatlands of Taiwan to a journey to gardening and its benefits.
I’ve not read this one, but I am hoping that my book club picks it to read one month, as it would be fascinating to discuss this with like minded people.
“A distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives.”
“The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative” by Florence Williams
From gardening and its benefits to connection to nature and its benefits.
I’ve started reading this, but again I am really hoping that the book will be one of my book club’s picks. The introduction already presents many startling facts. For example, “Mappiness” in a study discovered that it isn’t who you are with or what you are doing that is one of the biggest variables that makes you happy, but instead where you are. Being outdoors in all green or natural environments made study participants happier than being in urban environments.
So what’s the connection between the first and last books? Both deal with ways to weather the storms of life. In fact most of these books deal with that same subject.
I hope that you have enjoyed my journey this month. Next month we will start with 2020 Booker Prize Winner “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart.
I wish you many happy reading days.
Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler
Lovely uplifting chain! I’m adding The Book of Delights to my list. I loved Vesper Flights, such intelligent often beautiful writing
Wow.. I can’t believe how very different all of these chains are. Lovely choices here.
Agreed! So very interesting chains!
These are all wonderful choices Linda. Love the first especially – will definitely check it out.
I think you’ll love it.
I very much liked this chain. I’m not mad on self-help books, but these sound much more interesting. I have myself found that being outside, whether gardening or walking, is hugely beneficial to my mental health – I can get so wound up with worrying (often about not very much) if I am indoors all day.
Light the Dark sounds especially good, I always enjoy reading other people’s lists and choices. And there are definitely some passages from certain books that stay with me – parts of The Wind in the Willows for example.
The Book of Delights also appeals to me. As you probably know, after the war JB Priestly wrote a book called Delight, a collection of essays about finding pleasure in the small things. 50 years later an updated version with contributions by various writers was published by Faber. I’ve enjoyed both of them.
Thank you for all these good ideas!
No, actually I didn’t know about Delight, so thanks for sharing that with me.
EXCELLENT!! I want to at least skim all of these. I’d only heard of Vesper Flights until this post.
Hope you find something else you enjoy.