52 books in 52 weeks

by Edie Wadsworth on January 29, 2009

I’m on a quest to read 52books in 52weeks this year.I just finished ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ by Neil Postman: a great read about the powerful and denigrating influence television has had on our culture.  I heartily agree with his assertions and yet I full well intend to watch “Lost” tonight instead of engaging in  other more scholarly exercises.  And while I’ve started St.Teresa of Avila, our bookclub book for February, I haven’t gotten very far. I have a serious literary crush on C.S.Lewis, who I and all his close friends affectionately call ‘Jack’.  This drove me to jealousy when I saw Stevie reading ‘A Grief Observed’, so I read and finished it today…in one sitting….for the third time.  It’s not that long but it is profound.  He wrote a series of journal entries after his wife, Joy Davidman, died, and they were later published into this short jewel of a book.  You must read it.  Here are some of the ideas that will be swirling around in my head after reading this giant of christianity and philosophy:
1.  Our ‘realities’ are likely not reality at all.  The house of cards we often build and stake our very lives on will likely need to be torn down, over and over again, so that all we are left with is Him.  I personally have had my house of cards smashed to smitherenes…..more than once.  I have wondered how many ‘epiphanies’ it will take until I finally ‘get it’.  And no sooner than the “I need some time for me” HOC’s is torn down,  I’m busy building the “My children are now my everything” HOC’s.  One may seem less selfish than the other, but either way, He will tear down the idols we make.  He is an exacting surgeon in our lives and in His design to make us like Him, he will not shy away from tearing down the temple to rebuild it.  He will do what it takes to drive us to foot of the cross….where our suffering can finally and only have its true meaning…..and where the very temple of God Himself is ‘torn down’ for our redemption.
Lewis says, “ The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness.  A cruel man might be bribed-might grow tired of his vile sport–might have a temporary fit of mercy.  But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good.  The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting.  

2. This book cannot be read without the tightening of the chest that accompanies the ‘what if’ question.  How would I ever learn to live again if my spouse died?  It has a way of making every moment seem like a gift.  I dare say that I will never meet someone again who knows me, sharpens me,   teaches me, and encourages me to fully use my gifts, as Steve does and has.  And it’s not perfect, I know.  But I needed the reminder, as I suppose we all do, that our marriages and spouses are a gift from God that should be nurtured and guarded and protected.  Our enemy will use anything to separate us…..and sometimes that separation is death.  I’m hanging on extra long to that hug tonight.
3.  Lewis does the equivalent of asking the ‘why’ question at the beginning of the book.  Actually, he seems to be yelling the why question while shaking his fist toward heaven. And although even Jesus asks the why question on the cross (My God, why have you forsake me) the answer is ………….silence.  We don’t get the luxury of ‘why’.  But the Surgeon knows what we need.  And is painstakingly making us over.  Our stance toward him should be one of surrender and repentance.  Whatever it is that brings us to repentance has been good for us.  And shaking our fist at Him doesn’t change one iota of who He is or what He is up to in our lives.  The sooner that house of cards falls, the better.
Won’t you join me in 52 in 52?  It’ll be fun and keep us reading.  And yes, Goodnight Moon counts, if you need it to.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather January 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm

That is such a great idea! I don’t know if I could do that at the moment unless I could count Goodnight moon about 40 times.

Hopefully you will keep posting your great books so I can read them as well (when I can squeeze in time!)

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2 patty January 29, 2009 at 5:40 pm

so, i humbly submit that i KNOW i can’t read 52 in 52, but after reading your blog, i know i’m going to have to squeeze in at least one more than what’s on my list this year… dear “jack”‘s book! thanks for -again-inspiring, edie. hope you’re having a great day.

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3 EVN January 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Outside of reading to my children each night I am not sure that I can do 52 bks in 52 wks, but this “A Grief Observed” looks like it will be my next. The HOC idea brought back to memory a devotion that hit me a couple of weeks ago: By demanding that we seek his glory Alone, God is calling us to overcome the natural temptation to seek our own. Can’t wait to read it…Thanks Edie!

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4 Jessica January 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Great post. I need to amp up my reading too, not 52 in 52 though. Processing great books takes me longer than you! Keep us posted on all your reads/thoughts. Love to soak it all in.

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5 Sally Pepper January 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Yeah, I’m in. I actually just picked up The Screwtape Letters from the library yesterday. Reading Twilight right now…but my daughter’s bday party is getting in the way of my reading….

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6 Jessica January 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

OK, I just reread your post and I’m even more drawn into C.S. Lewis’ books. I think I’ll have to order me some right away. Jaxon is currently reading Screwtape Letters, he’s having a hard time understanding it but since he’s only 10 I’ll cut him some slack. I’d better read it so I can help him out. Thanks for the inspiration and I’d love it if you’d give a little ‘heads up’ of the list your going to read and the order so we can order them ahead of time. Thanks Edie!

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7 *Keli* January 29, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I love to read! I’m a mess if I don’t have a book in my hand! But, I’m not much of a “real life” reader. I like chic lit, mystery, etc. I need to be taken away from real life! You know, be in NY at the 21 Club, shopping, oh and buying new handbags! LOL! xo

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8 Hi! I'm Kirsten... January 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Lewis is very much the sort of author whose books I never get sick of no matter if I have read them 5 times or 30. My copy of A Grief Observed is dog eared, evenly worn, ripped and well loved [ok, abused] but I cherish his perspective on grief and I have needed it much over my “short” life. And while it saddens me that you’ve had cause to relate to his words, because no one should experience loss in my ideal universe [hah! wishful thinking I know] I agree with your take on it and am glad to find yet another common ground with you!

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9 Do it yourselfer January 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I am so sorry…i cannot join you in the 52 in 52. I could probably do 12 in 12. 1 book a month. I am a slow reader and need to process. I just finished a good book…called ‘so you don’t want to go to church anymore’ by Wayne Jacobsen. I absolutely loved it. I think you might like it! Don’t judge it by it’s title…it really was good…for me anyway. BTW, I’m linking you tomorrow.

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10 Denise January 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Did you say 52 in 52? Totally read–cover to cover? YIKES! I am quite certain that I will buy close to that amount this year–at least I have for the past ten years or so. Read them all??? I could try! Should be finishing book four to be on track. Let me check my stack so far and get back to you!

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11 Meme January 29, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I want your reading skillz. I can probably do 24 in 52. And I would re-read “Jack” until Jesus comes back, have a crush on him too. Have you read the Abolition of Man? It is my personal favorite. I have to re-read it four, five times a year. His words are like a delicious meal, rich and satisfying.

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12 KS January 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I can’t read 52 books and actually process them in 52 weeks. This year I’m looking forward to the release of Eric Metaxas’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His biography of Wilberforce was great.

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