Jubilee… for your soul

WinstonA breeze is kicking up a melody through my porch chimes, and a light rain pattering, as I glance up and out my picture window.

“I shan’t go out after all,” I think, then burst out laughing, suddenly realizing I am talking to myself in the voice of the latest D.E. Stevenson I’m ensconced in.   Mrs. Tim Flies Home.

Have you ever done that?

And this little lapse into English tones reminds me of how, often,  when I’m around someone I really enjoy… like close buddies from college days laughing and being silly … it’s so easy to fall into their fun mannerisms or phrases… and that maybe that old axiom about imitation and flattery isn’t so far off… (I wonder what others might pick up from me…)

Or…Maybe in this book moment  it’s that I can almost feel myself walking with Mrs. Tim through the doorway of a sleepy English village cottage she’s rented  for the first time, seeing the drawing room lined with windows as she is, following her eyes over to the cheery chintz curtains and a glass door overlooking the garden… and smiling at her description of it’s welcome…

“You’ll find Old Quinings a terribly boring place,” a coy old woman has just told her on the train in.  Though after flying from Kenya (where her war-Colonel husband is stationed) to Cairo to Rome to London…being whirlwinded by family through London rush…Mrs. Tim is oh so ready for boring…it becomes delightfully anything but.  And I’m right there with her… on holiday…

I can’t remember when I went somewhere for a real vacation.  But how I love stealing an hour for a book that is like stepping hand up into a drawing room with your name on it, finding yourself among so many others who seem pleased to have you join their sojourn across the pages, and often getting to know them so intimately, they step off the page and into your thoughts…handing you a stage pass behind walls not everyone gets to see…

And… when the rain outside your open windows suddenly sets up a soft whiffling sound,  transporting you deeper into the story where it is doing the same…just how obliging can it get? 🙂

Taking me back to pillowed days of childhood Sundays, prone with my book…

And I consider again how I don’t understand those who turn up noses at fiction, for – though true stories also entrance — I can’t help echoing Anne with an “e”…

  O, Marilla, how much you miss!


Also echoing these musings, Eric Metaxas of Breakpoint (nee Charles Colson’s daily commentary spot) woke me the other morning to his distinctive voice and caught my ear with this penetrating question (to which I later thought, how incredible that these should be the exact words when my radio went off, when it could have come in anywhere on the middle):

Does reading a good book make you a better person?

I whipped over in bed, the better to hear.

“It’s a great question,” Metaxas went on, “one that has sparked a big debate recently among academics…”   Citing author Annie Murphy Paul’s response in Time, where she referred to a Canadian psychological study, he says the study asserts “individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.”

What else does reading great literature do, he asks?  According to a University English professor, Karen Swallow Prior (quoted by Metaxas),  reading a good book well makes us more human…  it touches the human soul…  (If this intrigues you as it does me, go immediately to Read a Good Book and Read It Well  to take in the entire Breakpoint message – or see Karen Swallow Prior’s article.)

It is a great question, isn’t it?  And I love their answer.   Something I’ve long believed myself.  I think of characters I’ve wept or commiserated or gotten the inside joke with – in books, in television shows, and movies.  How I gained insight into how someone who seems standoffish is most likely shy.  And conversely, how someone who never stops the hilarity can be hiding insecurities behind brash persona…   Yes, windows into souls.

And into lyrical or fun or clever authors who have an enviable way with words.

I’ve been marking pages in the books I’m reading lately… thinking, oh!  I want to share this on my blog.  And this.  And this

I wonder… are you bored with me mentioning D.E. so much lately?  It’s only because I’m delving into her stories, in wonder at how she could write 50 novels and so far each one of them is completely different from the other.  No cookie cutter formulas.

But… if you aren’t…  I just may post a few quotes that ring like chapel bells to me, and maybe will to you.

This weekend… as you take moments of Sabbath… a bit of literary fiction might just be jubilee for your soul.


©   Pam Depoyan

“Reading is an immense gift, but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul — eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight.”

~ Eugene H. Peterson, in Eat this Book

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Pen & ink artwork: mine, under my copyright  (please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar.  🙂  )

photos:   http://www.fotosearch.com

About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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9 Responses to Jubilee… for your soul

  1. MaryLou says:

    Hi Pam, oh how I do love to read. I can remember when I was much younger going to the library and I would check out as many books as I could and then my pop would check out more on his card for me. In those days it was oh so much time and so little books…. now sadly it is oh so little time and oh so many books. There is nothing like sitting down in the quiet of the evening perhaps with some instrumental music playing softly in the background with a cup of tea and enjoying a good book. I always do so enjoy all that you post. It amazes me how you put these blogs together the wonderful words and beautiful pictures. I wonder if we will be reading books in Heaven? 🙂

    • Somehow, I think we will be reading in heaven… 🙂 I used to do that too, going to the library and taking out stacks of books. I’m so grateful that libraries are able to order from one another these days and get me these books I just discovered. The only downside is the grimy pages (sometimes I wonder, are people reading with pizza in both hands? 🙂 ) But yes, I am trying to fit in just a bit of reading at the end of the day. I still dream of ceiling to floor bookshelves! Love your image of the tea and soft music too… Thank you, MaryLou. I’m glad you enjoy these posts! I couldn’t believe when I heard that Breakpoint the other morning (it was also earlier than I usually set my alarm) and knew I’d have to incorporate it somehow…

      I love those photos too… all of England…

  2. Lynn Morrissey says:

    I so love this suggestion to read Pam and the beautiful photos, which I immediately recognized as being in England, from whence I have just come!!!!! Soooooo beautiful. You and I had mapped out a reading plan for my trip…….Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier for starters (forgive me if I have misspelled her last name–Im abysmal at that w/ no time to look it up!). But traveling , esp. w/ other people, is not always condusive to reading. I did finish Keller’s book on Ps. 23, b/c it’s short (though deep), and I was able to read in snatches of time. It seemed an appropos choice, whilst traveling in the land of sheep. But now that I have more leisure (well, not exactly…….but longer snatches of time), I hope to be transported (as you suggest) to the beauty of Manderley. Reading can truly take us to places we might not have opportunity to visit. Granted, I was really privileged to see much (including Highclere Castle–translation: Downton Abbey!!), but there are other places were great books and a fertile imagination will take me where time, $, and opportunity will never afford. I LOVE this post and your passion for reading!

    • Oh, yes, take that trip to Manderley… especially after you’ve just been there! (And you have the name right 🙂 ) I may never get to many places like that, but it is wondrous that through movies and books I have clear pictures in my mind of actual places I’ve never seen firsthand. It is an amazing time we live in, when you consider past centuries… I love your kindred feeling about reading too! And sometime, I hope you get to that novel written around Charlotte Bronte’s real life diaries… Thank you, Lynn! (P.S. Did you see Mary’s last comment question to you on the previous post?)

      I hope your comment means you do enjoy hearing quotes from D.E. ??? 🙂

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        Pam, I truly do hope your sojourns will take you to England one day, and in the meantime, you are living it via literature and art. I think it starts there–instilling a passion…..oh and movies too. I love the Jane Austen movies, and more! And I love the quotes you are using–yes. Hope I’ll get to read theose books about Bronte’s diaries. Just so much to read and love and so little time. We actually visited the Bronte parsonage in Haworth years ago–such a thrill. And this time Shakespeare’s wifes house and his burian place. Very special.

        I did answer Mary; was there something more? Thanks for keeping up with us all. That is so special how you accommodate each and every reader, like honored guests in your home!! I so appreciate you.

  3. Hi Pam,

    Oh, I am a book lover too, and am working my way through a few right now too. My husband and I have just started reading aloud a sci fi book together in the evenings too. That’s a fun together time.

    Smiling at Anne of Green Gables with you,
    Jennifer Dougan

    • Oh Jennifer, I think you would love some of these D.E. books sometime (see my review recently if you haven’t already…) Love that you and your husband read together like that. Lynn Morrissey told me once about how she and her husband and daughter have traditions of reading together. My mom used to read novels to me when my eyes were too heavy from schoolwork. Thanks for sharing. And with Anne, I knew you were a kindred spirit. 🙂

  4. Kel Rohlf says:

    Pam- I love this post, but especially the serendipitous radio comment…My husband and I wake up to our local talk radio and I love some of the snippets I catch because we wake to voices rather than a buzzer…I love reading and agree fiction makes us a better person…I would love to hear more about your reading lists and how you decide what to read…I hadn’t heard of D.E. before but would be interested in how you found these stories. Take care and thank you for your recent encouragement over at Nourishment for the Soul and via email…God is answering your prayers…He led me back to the Psalms for a season of renewal and words to chew on…

    • Yes, and what was even more incredible about hearing that radio msg, was that I had set my clock to go off earlier that day than usual… 🙂 If you read my post of a review of two D.E. books (see book reviews on my side bar under categories), I tell there about how I randomly came across two of her books at Barnes and Noble recently. After reading those, I checked the library and discovered she wrote 50 books or more. I’ve been asking the library to order them for me from other libraries and reading several…I’d never heard of her before either… but now I’m hooked. Just classic, sweet, uplifting and clean stories…written and set in England and Scotland of the ’30’s, ’40’s and up…

      So glad to hear how God is ministering to you in the Psalms, renewing you and answering prayers! Thanks for sharing here Kel! We all must keep “chewing” 🙂

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