TAO June 2019–The Promises of Summer

Nature teaches us about promise. There is a promise when winter gives way to spring. Snow melts and green emerges. Vibrant floral colors breathe life and hope into us. Now, late spring is about to give way to summer. Warmer weather and longer days are coming. Shady lawns whisper promises of relaxation, recreation, and renewal. Unfortunately, whispered promises do not a summer make, so it will be up to me to make nature’s promises come true.
Hope for days of freedom and rest depends entirely upon gaining control of my calendar, carving some time out of rusty routines, and filling that time with things that balance the rest of my active year. If I am going to linger over a good novel in the shade of some benevolent tree, I must know the time and the place of my sojourn–and the book’s title. I love summer reading, because it is my opportunity to explore other worlds–to enter a character’s life, to reflect upon the thoughts of a deep thinker, to learn from another’s experience. Here are some wide-ranging suggestions for your summer reading list. I’m sure there are several you will enjoy. I promise!

Reflections and Devotions
A Glad Obedience Walter Brueggemann (Westminster John Knox Press)
Here is a reminder that our hymn singing matters and how it differentiates the Christian community from the surrounding culture. From Psalms to classic and contemporary hymns, Brueggemann underscores the importance of our music ministries.

O Clap Your Hands Gordon Giles (Paraclete Press)
Devotional reflections and prayers accompany recordings of thirty choral masterpieces by Gloria Dei Cantores. Highly recommended.

Praying with the Arts M. Louise Holert (Infocus Publishing, Abbotsford, BC)
This devotional book is filled with gorgeous color reproductions of classic sacred art, guided reflections, scripture, and prayer. Organized around the liturgical year, suggestions for further creative interactions offer gateways for deeper personal engagement.

Music Study
The Music Lesson Victor Wooten (Berkley)
World famous bassist, Victor Wooten, is a music mystic on the order of Carlos Castañeda. In a series of fictional encounters with a lackluster student, he teaches lessons that are worthy of everyone’s consideration. You will find fresh ideas to challenge and inspire you.

Music Quickens Time Daniel Barenboim (Verso)
These reflections on music’s ability to help us understand human nature could only have been written by a true maestro who has spent a lifetime reflecting on the power of music and its place in the world.

The Skin Above My Knee Marcia Butler (Little, Brown and Co.)
A memoir of honesty and profound beauty, The Skin Above My Knee is the story of a young oboe prodigy finding strength to overcome a difficult past to fulfill her artistic destiny.

A Mixture of Frailties Robertson Davies (Penguin Canada)
An unschooled singer is selected for a grant to study with some of Britain’s most gifted teachers. Follow the evolution of her career from a backward innocent to a cosmopolitan artist.

Appassionata Eva Hoffman (Other Press)
An American concert pianist becomes romantically entangled with a secretly-radicalized Chechen government official. Woven within the story, is the author’s own passion for music, her lyrical descriptions revealing insight into the meaning music brings to life.

The Ensemble Aja Gabel (Riverhead Books)
Four young friends, bound together by the inexorable demands of their membership in a top string quartet, cycle through the ups and downs of each other’s lives as they navigate the competitive world of classical music.

Every Noted Played Lisa Genova (Gallery/Scout Press)
From the author of “Still Alice,” a powerful, touching novel exploring a concert pianist’s descent into ALS and its impact upon his marriage. Deeply touching, ultimately redemptive.

Bellweather Rhapsody Kate Racculia (Mariner Books)
Located in a hotel-past-its-prime, a horde of high school music student has gathered for a music festival. Suspense builds when murder-suicide is uncovered, one echoing a similar incident fifteen years earlier.

The Big Music Kirsty Gunn (Faber & Faber)
Set in the far north of Scotland, the story of a multi-generational family show how music, especially bagpipes, weaves into the cultural context of the Scottish Highlands.

Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Berniére (Vintage)
Set on a Greek island in the early days of World War II, a doctor’s daughter is courted by two men on opposite sides of the war. Their allegiances are tested as the effects of the war are increasingly felt by everyone.

Strings: A Love Story Megan Edwards (Imbrifex Books)
A long lost Guarnerius violin is in the hands of Ted Spencer, but it came at too high a cost. Strings of a different variety have gotten in the way of his true love: family, career, fate. Can the legendary instrument play a part in the recovery of his life?

The Music Shop Rachel Joyce (Random House)
Frank, the lonely, wounded owner of a music shop experiences the healing power of music as romance blooms with one of his customers.

Goodbye, Paris Anstey Harris (Gallery Books)
Grace has given up performing music to make string instruments. Her long-distance affair with David comes to light when his heroic action on the Paris Metro pushes him into the limelight. Friends keep Grace together as she works her way out of heartbreak.

The Wanderer Sarah Leon (Other Press)
Composing an homage to Schubert, Hermin is interrupted by the appearance of his former student, Lenny. Tension arises as they grapple with the ghosts of their past.

Just for Fun

Organ Jigsaw Puzzles
Internet-based website provides hours of relaxation puzzling over photos of world famous organs. Access at pipelinepress.com

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