Monday, November 20, 2006


Tonight I'm going to make an exception and write about a different kind of book I purchased a few weeks back: Susanne F. Fincher's Coloring Mandalas: Circles of the Sacred Feminine. This book is the reason that my reading time has decreased slightly.

Coloring Mandalas includes an essay titled "Mandalas and the Sacred Feminine," but it is primarily an adult coloring book with varying images and designs. Some of the mandalas are strictly geometric designs, but others include drawings of the goddess in various forms both ancient, Eastern, and Western.

It's been quite amazing to me how much fun this book is. It provides hours and hours of relaxation. You can use almost anything to color the designs. I use colored markers and pencils. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the act of creating something with your hands. It is especially fun for those of us who cannot draw very well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

A conversation with Anne Tyler follows the text of her novel Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant in the Ballantine paperback edition. Tyler states that she is “so attached to the characters” in the novel. She comments, “I still miss them, even all these years later.” It is easy to see why.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, similar to Tyler’s The Amateur Marriage, has characters so rich that they can easily become part of the reader’s life during the reading. Tyler first introduces Pearl Tull on her deathbed. From this introductory chapter, the novel stretches back in time and tells a complex and often tragic story through different character viewpoints.

Pearl marries Beck Tull and they have three children: Cody, Jenny, and Ezra. Beck leaves Pearl when the children are young and she never sees him again. Pearl is not a benevolent mother figure, but a character that I found difficult to empathize with. She is a tough woman who finds a way to admirably support her family, but crosses the line by verbally and physically abusing her children.

Cody, Jenny, and Ezra have distinct personalities and it is easy to see how their childhood experiences continue to influence their adult lives. Neither Pearl nor her children can be characterized as happy. There are moments of contentment, but a void, or the feeling that something not quite right is lurking in the background, is always present. Only Ezra seems to find a passion in life, but even his psychological makeup is fragmented.

The depth of this novel is extraordinary. I continue to believe that Tyler is a master.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Peace Pilgrim

"...if I could choose my breakfast from all the foods in the world I could not make a better choice than blueberries covered with dew" (p. 55).

"How inspiring it is to walk all day in the sunshine and sleep all night under the stars" (p. 54).

These are just two of the many lines I have found inspiring thus far during my read of Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, a used book I recently picked up for $5.

Peace Pilgrim was a woman who felt called to go on a walking pilgrimage for peace. She followed no organized religion, but embraced universal truths. She began her pilgrimage in 1953 and continued until her death in 1981. She walked over 25,000 miles and was crossing the United States the seventh time when she passed away.

The book is divided into several sections, many dealing with spiritual matters, such as "Living the Spiritual Life" and "The Way of Peace." There are also reprints of newspaper articles and a Questions/Answers section. Her stories about people she met during her life are most interesting.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading spiritual autobiographies and/or the lives of interesting women. The entire book can be read online or downloaded from here. Copies can also be found in many public and academic libraries.