Have I mentioned to you how grateful I am to Leigh Kramer for encouraging me to reflect on each month with her What I’m Into linkup? If I haven’t, then I’m saying it now. On to what I was into this month.
What I read
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
What can I tell you other than you need to read this book? Bryan Stevenson has been working on capital cases for decades, and in this memoir he illustrates the torturous injustice that is present in too much of our criminal ‘justice’ system. This book will break your heart and get you fired up.
Medieval Christianity: A New History and The First Thousand Years
Let’s be honest, neither of these got me quite as fired up as Just Mercy, but they are pretty darn good. I spent most of the month working on an iBook for our students to use in my classes. Last summer I wrote years 1-500, and this summer I tackled from Charlemagne through St Francis. I kept a few books on rotation to read when I was getting ready to write, to refresh my memory and fill in the gaps, and these two were tops. The newest, Medieval Christianity, was particularly readable.
A Purposeful Path: How far can you go with $30, a bus ticket, and a dream?
I had known the author of this book, Fr. Casey Beaumier SJ as an acquaintance and occasional colleague for almost ten years, and I like him very much. So it’s no surprise that his likability leaps off the page in this memoir recounting his pilgrimage as a Jesuit novice. It’s a charming book.
Alice’s Piano: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer
If you, like I, struggle with staying positive in the face of hardship, this book might inspire you to keep the grumpies away. Alice Herz-Sommer was a thriving concert pianist in Prague when Hitler invaded. Her family was eventually transported to Theresienstadt where Alice gave concerts and her young son participated in the musical life of the camp. Her efforts to shield her son from the horror of the camp and to persevere in spite of the lost of her husband and mother are truly heroic. Music lovers will get a special thrill from this book.
Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World
Everyone who saw me reading this rolled their eyes at me, but that’s too darn bad. Italians rule! Neatly divided into short chapters, Sprezzatura will teach you more about some folks you thought you knew (Julius Caesar, for example) while introducing you to some unfamiliar geniuses.
When I’m not reading books…
Mel’s Paintings by Melanie Houlihan
I met Melanie through music – she is an insanely gifted pianist – but quickly learned that she is also an insanely gifted visual artist. She loves the beach and uses colors in really exciting ways. I have a few of her pieces in my house and you should too. The link above takes you to her etsy page.
Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones
I think we can all agree that is not the most inspiring name, but beggars can’t be choosers. As I rack up the milage coming up on my half-marathon, I needed earbuds that stay in. These do. ‘Nuff said.
When the Levees Broke
Since moving in with my husband I have cable for the first time in my life, so I missed this Spike Lee HBO documentary on Katrina and its aftermath when it first came out. You can find Parts I & II and Parts III & IV on YouTube. I was so moved by this wrenching history that I wrote a bit about Katrina this month as well.
Since transitioning into the leadership of Boston Singers’ Resource as Interim Administrative Director, I have had a lot of tasks on my to-do list. I am learning quickly what I need to do to get it all done. For instance, I am pretty impressed with myself right now because I don’t have 400 tabs open in my browser with email and social media. I am focusing! You may be seeing a list of my time management tips on the blog shortly. My goal for the blog as things ramp up this fall is to give you one quality post a week, on either Monday or Tuesday. Hold me to that!
Where we went
As soon as my show closed in August we headed south, literally transitioning from curtain call to road trip in the time it took to clean the dressing room. We hit Wilmington, Annapolis, Rehoboth, DC, and College Park in a whirlwind five days full of old friends and new memories. We visited the basilica, the White House, and the Newseum while we were in our nation’s capital and I am already dying to go back.
We took our bikes over with a few friends and trekked all across the island. A highlight was leaving our bikes in West Tisbury, jumping on the bus and visiting the cliffs in Aquinnah, which I had never seen. It was definitely worth venturing off the beaten path for that one.
Ogunquit, Goose Rocks, Nantasket
My husband loves the beach. Not much more to say about it than that. As summer winds down I am sure I will have fewer traveling adventures to share.
What’s coming up…
School starts, I’m singing in the chorus of Le Cid with Odyssey Opera, and I’m going to tackle Infinite Jest. I think that’s more than enough for September, don’t you?
What were you into this month?
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Leigh Kramer says
I’m so glad you enjoy this linkup! I always love reading about what you’ve been up to. I seriously want everyone to read Just Mercy. The world would be a better place or at least the US. I love your friend’s paintings! Beautiful. Your trips look and sound amazing- glad you had a good time!
Margaret Felice says
Thanks! The trips were good but I fear they will be fewer now that September is upon us…
My friend worked at a summer camp at Marthas Vineyard. She says it is beautiful. 🙂 I love Washington D.C. It is cool. 🙂
Margaret Felice says
I hope you’ll get to visit the vineyard sometime! Even though I grew up in New England I only started going there a few years ago. It’s a really special place.
Hmmm…this month was my first full month as the officially official church sexton. I’m rocking the job, but have not always been successful in figuring out a work/life balance with two jobs and no car. The job has, however, provided me with the perfect platform to minister to the local homeless community with opportunities for table fellowship especially.
I’m enjoying watching the little guy I take care of in the mornings grow and change in fun ways (he’ll be 19 mo this week).
Haven’t been reading much, but did just finish Jack Hitt’s book about the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. The opening credits of “The Way” cite this as inspirational source material. Emilio Estevez’s screenplay is MASTERFUL and very much its own (much better) story.
Margaret Felice says
That sounds like a great job for you and I’m so glad you found it. Keep letting me know what’s going on in your neck of the woods!