I have a few quick moments before the off-to-school drama takes off, so I thought I'd offer the love to a couple of wonderful books.
First, Momma Zen. The subtitle, Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, may scare off men. It should not. Anyone, with or without children, will benefit from the gentle lessons in mindfulness and peace this book provides. The author, Karen Maezen Miller, is a Buddhist priest, but thinking humans of any faith (or none at all) will find grace here.
And now we turn to a sadder place. The most poignant literary place I've been in thirty, maybe forty years...at least so far. Why so far? Because I can not make it past the first seven or so chapters without starting over or flipping back for selected bits. This fact, in and of itself, is astounding. After all those years of careful close reading in college and grad school, I now take my books at a quick clip. But Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is new country. I've been put off for two years by the back cover copy, which suggested a "look at me" extravaganza of mixed media and stunt writing; nothing could be farther from the truth. Some reviewers have compared him to Vonnegut but, so far, I find that comparison facile, at best.
Fall is not here yet, but those of you lucky enough to live where the air is crisping now have two excellent reasons to curl up in front of the fire.