Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book and Author Love

We finally rented Life of Pi -- this was one movie that I wanted to see on the big screen because I have loved Ang Lee's films, but it wasn't in theatres long and we were busy last Christmas. It was so well done, and of course, I had to re-read the book by Yann Martel. What a treasure! I liked the meandering pace, the great attention to detail, and of course, the ambiguous ending. Both my son and I liked the conceit of it, but my husband and daughter wanted to know for certain. But what is the better story? I echoed Pi's question. The one with the tiger, of course. Yup. And the book has a happy ending. Pi goes on to live, to study, to work, to marry, and to have a family. He had great joy.

I've also been on a Kathi Appelt reading marathon. My kids grew up on her books. And we all loved The Underneath. Made us laugh. Made us cry. A true American folk-tale. I've also read her memoir. She's a poet through and through. Her prose sings. Every word is just perfect. So I was delighted to come across a book of short stories by her: Kissing Tennessee. All the characters are eighth graders who are going to their graduation dance. I am a big fan of connected short stories and enjoyed each and every one of them. The ending of a couple took my breath away.

Between Heaven and Mirth by Fr. James Martin was a great read. He quotes Pierre Tielhard de Chardin: Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God. This is so true. Even in the midst of great suffering or hardships, Christians have peace and joy. The premise of this book is that joy, humor and laughter are at the heart of a spiritual life. This book, as you might expect, is also peppered with jokes and stories about the saints. Let me share a couple:

Once, when St. Teresa de Avila was travelling to one of her convents, she was knocked off by her donkey, injuring her leg. "Lord," she said, "you couldn't have picked a worse time for this to happen. Why would you let this happen?" The response she heard in prayer was, "That is how I treat my friends." Teresa answered, "And that is why you have so few of them!"

One of her famous lines is: "From somber devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us."

One sister asked Mother Teresa how she could become a saint. She probably expected an answer about living a holy life, serving the poor, and praying. Instead, Mother Teresa laughed and said, "If you want to be a saint, die now. The pope is canonizing everyone!" She was referring to Pope John Paul II, who during his pontificate canonized an unprecedented number of saints.

Rejoice always! The Bible tells us so. And share a funny joke in the comments. Thank you.

7 comments:

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Between Heaven and Mirth--I expected it to be a fun read, but found that it gave me a lot to think about it terms of the way I pray. (I wasn't familiar with some of the Ignatian spirituality, but loved it.)
And I've always loved the St. Teresa story. I told it to Lucy a couple weeks ago, and now she goes around sassing God every time she stubs her toe: "You're not gonna get a lot of friends this way, God!" Then she giggles at her own irreverence and says, "I'm just joking with God. He thinks it's funny!"

MollyMom103 said...

Love, Kathi's books too. She lives about a mile from me. She has a new book coming out this summer I am excited about. THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP. Out in July from Simon and Schuster. Read about it here: .http://books.simonandschuster.com/True-Blue-Scouts-of-Sugar-Man-Swamp/Kathi-Appelt/9781442366138.

On heaven and mirth, hmm, a joke, hmm, I think this is true:
Humor must be one of the chief attributes of God. Plants and animals that are distinctly humorous in form and characteristics are God's jokes.
- Mark Twain

Vijaya said...

Faith, I love the comfortable relationship Lucy has with Christ. I did too, until I was 12, and am returning to that (this is why I love Adoration -- we can just be together). In this book, I especially enjoyed the Biblical references to joy (and the funny stories). For prayer, there is a slim volume by another Jesuit priest (Thomas Green) that I found very useful: Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer.

Molly, I knew KA lived in your town. Surely you must have tea together once in a while, or I hope you do. If I make it to TX, I'll show up on both your front porches :) Please tell her what great fans she has (I'm sure she has no shortage of them). I will definitely look for her newest book. Love that quote by MT. I am especially delighted by possums and fox squirrels here.

MollyMom103 said...

Yes, I do see Kathi every once in a while and there is always iced tea and fab conversation. I am blessed, so blessed.

Turtles, armadillos and mockingbirds are on my list.

KatieC said...

It sounds like you've found lots of treasures!

Mirka Breen said...

*All* worthy books.^

As amazing a film-maker that Ang Lee is, I (surprise surprise) vote for the book...

Vijaya said...

Molly, how lovely.

Katie, yes indeed. And many more.

Mirka, agreed. The book is soooo rich!