I’m a blog stalker. It’s true.
A ton of my favorite bloggers post monthly about the books, music, TV, and links they’ve been loving. I love lists. I have ever since my high school days, when I cut out the “Modern Library’s Top Books of the 20th Century” list from the newspaper and started highlighting books as I read them. (Not a nerd. Ahem.)
Since I’m blogging every day during the Fifty Days of Easter, I decided to summon up my courage, stop blog stalking, and actually write my OWN “What I’m Into” post. Here’s what I’ve been reading, listening to, watching, and doing in March.
Oh, audiobooks. How I love you. I know you weren’t specifically made for divinity school graduates who drive around delivering pizza 15 hours a week. But every time I turn the keys in the ignition and get to hear Susan Cain’s thoughts on introversion or the latest exploits of the Starks and the Lannisters, I feel a little bit giddy.
I finally got around to reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I loved it. I test slightly on the extravert side of the Myers-Briggs, but I was always an introvert as a child. Even now, if I don’t get my Quiet Reading Time, I am not a happy camper. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of groupthink and do my best work on my own, so I wanted to cheer out loud at Cain’s words that constant class discussion and group work in school might not be the best way for all kids to learn.
I’m listening to A Storm of Swords, the third book in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series, right now. It’s just as good as the first two, with battles between kings, broken alliances, zombies, romances, and dragons. I’m 24 discs into the 39-disc set, so I’m going to have killer library fines, and I don’t even care.
My read for Lent this year was Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, which was a lovely companion through my Lenten fast. The book itself was pretty good, but the premise–a challenge for readers to eat like the poorest people in the Two-Thirds World–was life-changing.
I am dependent on the good graces of the San Diego Public Library, so I just got The Fault in Our Stars this month, and oh, how I loved Hazel and Augustus and even the horrible Peter Van Houten. I read these cheesy books about kids with cancer when I was in middle school, but I wish I had read this book instead. I kept laughing and reading lines aloud to my husband. Okay? Okay.
I started reading both Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and The Big Truck That Went By by Jonathan Katz. The first is about the treatment of women globally. The second, about the earthquake in Haiti, the mess made of the relief efforts, and the state of Haiti right now. (Spoiler alert: not good.) “How can you read such depressing books?” Josh asks. It was a little much even for me, so they’re back-burnered for a while.
To be honest, with the audiobooks and listening to March Madness games on staticky AM radio, there hasn’t been much music playing around here.
I found this gem of a website, where Hilary Golden posts playlists themed to each season of the liturgical calendar. I listened to Lent: In Shades of Death a lot while washing dishes. I’ll be downloading Eastertide: Alleluia Is Our Song very, very soon.
March is for one thing: basketball. Thankfully, my Blue Devils didn’t lose in the first round like last year’s disaster versus Lehigh. The first two rounds of the tournament, with four games going on simultaneously for four days, are always my favorite. Even when my team’s out, I love cheering for the upsets. Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet Sixteen? Wichita State in the Final Four? Yes, please.
We still have cable for another couple weeks, until after basketball is officially over, so I’ve been watching Criminal Minds like it’s going out of style. (Is it in style? Probably not.) I have nightmares about freaky movies, so I have no idea how I can handle watching a show about serial killers every day. But I do love my formulaic television sometimes.
Ahem. Well, not much here! But I did preach my first sermon in over a year while the pastor was away on vacation. I preached on the parable of the prodigal son (though it could just as well be called the parable of the loving father), and it’s proof that I’m a storyteller, not a systematic theologian. If you’re one of those people who likes to listen to sermons, you can listen here.
March was the season of Lent in the church world I live in, which feels like its own bit of March Madness. But it is beautiful–with our sung confessions and sung Communion liturgy in church and the spare, stripped-down feeling of life. On Maundy Thursday, our church shared a soup and bread meal, then Communion around our tables, and on Good Friday, different congregation members wrote and shared first-person reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ. (My hubs was one of them.)
We have been playing tourist recently, too, to show around a new friend who is a visiting Chinese scholar. We took her to La Jolla Cove to see the sea lions and seals and the water crashing against the rocks. Last weekend, we went down to the Embarcadero on San Diego Bay. She snapped a photo of us in front of this oh-so-classy statue of a drunken sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day. As Ron Burgundy would say, “When in Rome…”
On Easter, I cooked my first turkey, and it was a success, if excruciatingly slow. We ate turkey and our friend Brooke’s potatoes in cream (a proper gratin recipe that she learned in France. We sat around the table and talked forever, then ate some cake, then played games and drank some wine and talked some more. It felt like the Sabbath of Sabbaths, which it should. “Christ is risen,” we said.
He is risen, indeed.