The Faithful Reader's Favorites

The books that inspire my thought, laughter, prayer, reflection, work, or creativity. For the most part, they don't fit easily into other categories on this list.

The Modern Japanese Print by James A. Michener. First published as a limited edition in 1962, this book holds up as a good introduction to ten Japanese artists. Beautiful prints and well written commentary.

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle. Anyone intrigued by the nexus between Christianity and art might like to take a look at this book. Pick it up anywhere, not necessarily at the beginning.

In the Heart of God: The Spiritual Teaching of Saint Paul of the Cross translated into English by Martin Coffey, C. P. and Paul Francis Spencer, C.P. A little book, really more of a pamphlet, that contains bits of insights gleaned from letters of a saint and mystic. What was fresh almost three hundred years ago retains its edge and its challenge today.

The Iliad of Homer translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore. Yes, there are newer translations, but none more graceful and yet modern than this work, first published in 1951. The Faithful Reader, even on the cusp of middle age, still imagines and hopes someday to learn Greek so that she can appreciate Lattimore's genius--as well as Homer's, of course--even more. Plot outline, if you feel you need a review, but for inspiration perhaps take a look at the Perseus Project Homepage, which is dedicated to study of classical Greece.

Hyacinth Bucket's Book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate published by BBC. Covering everything from comportment at home to mental hygiene, this is the book that demonstrates conclusively that no situation is too important, difficult, tragic, or trivial for a determined show of unfeigned pomposity and self-absorption. If you've any doubts on how to carry this out, or if you simply need a guaranteed giggle, here's your book. Don't know Hyacinth? Check out a review of the show, Keeping Up Appearances. Don't know Hyacinth? You must meet!

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene Beautiful, spare, intense--so many adjectives, and all unfit to describe the novel's achievement. Sorry: if you want a description of this one, read it for yourself and then you try to write one.

Delights and Prejudices by James Beard (a fine source of his recipes online) Whether folks not born and reared in northwest Oregon will appreciate this memoir-cum-cookbook is a bit of a cipher to me. The delicious recipes are uniformly out of range for my regime these days, but the reminiscing evokes an older Portland and a less crowded seaside that I remember and miss. Earl Thollander's drawings add much to my enjoyment of the text. Quotations from James Beard

With Apparent Ease...Henri Matisse by Lydia Delectorskaya, translated from French by Olga Tourkoff. A complete record of Matisse's paintings between 1935 and 1939, put together by the person who was most often at the artist's side--or in his view as a model--during that period. Matisse speaks for himself in Jack Flam's collection of Matisse on Art, but ultimately to me it is the art itself, rather than the artist or his beautiful collaborator, that speaks in this book. See Nicolas Picoh's Web Museum Page on Matisse and Matisse Gallery

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Copyright 1996 Anna Read-The Faithful Reader. This page last revised on 4 October 1996 at 16:49 PDT.