The Vast Library of the Female Mind and other favorites lately

It’s yet another rainy day here in midsummer Vermont. I hardly visit our garden these days, as all the plants are waiting for their expected hot sunny days before they look happy. But yesterday was hot and sunny and all of us were outside–reading and lolling while the bugs buzzed the sun down. Our favorite ice cream place and local market are still rebuilding after the recent flooding. Many roads are under re-construction, and the work to get back to what was sometimes seems endless. But the you-pick blueberry fields are open, and Lux is planning to make nutella crepes for the family tomorrow. The two older girls are in three weeks of theater camp, they come home tired but humming and dancing every afternoon.

Three recent favorites for you…

a documentary: I really enjoyed The Vast Library of the Female Mind when I got to see it this spring, and now it is available to watch for free on PBS. It is the story of a Ruth Stone, a poet who lived in Vermont. It is tightly edited and full of many wonderful moments: watching her write on the porch with a grandchild sprawled at her feet, her bemusement in picking up a scrap of a poem from the counter, the way her children seem to have inherited a love for the arts from her very fingertips, when she remarks that the mice who ate her poem scraps from her drawers probably said to themselves, “that was a good poem!” The dilapidated old cabin she adores and lives-in serves as contrast her incredibly brilliant mind. And her voice is not to be missed–Vermonters still remember hearing her on the radio waves, reading poems.

a series: I was floored by the beauty of Growing Floret season two (available on many streaming sites, including Max). While Season One seemed to struggle to comprehend Erin and not accidentally make her look crazy (not to mention just getting in her way all the time), this season seemed to really understand her intensity, vision, genius and focus. I loved every episode but in particular the opening one about the aging rose garden connoisseur was amazing.

an audio bookMy Knotted-Up Life by Beth Moore. Beth Moore has been writing devotionals since long before I began attending women’s Bible studies, and they are well known to be a lot of work–pages and pages of Scripture study. I’ve never done one myself, but when I saw she had written a memoir I thought I’d give it a try. The audiobook of her reading with her accent going from Tennesseean to Texan to modern is wonderful, the writing is clever and lively, and the story is wild. Blessed surely, but fraught, broken, bound back up and beautiful. I laughed out loud throughout as I listened, driving up down Michigan’s highways in July, particularly at her wry integration of Southern expressions, most of them gathered from her grandmother. (The audiobook was a free download for me on Hoopla, a library app)

And here are two recent posts from my substack that you might enjoy…

Reading the House of Musicreviewing a fascinating and fun book about a family of seven classical musicians. In this review I remark on KMM’s comment that one can never be too obsessed with their children. My way of understanding this remark is to reflect on how often parents of young children feel driven to court other interests and pursuits, while parents of grown children becomes steadily more focused on their offspring. I am curious if you have any thoughts on this–comments here or in the post or my email.

Feeling Like Both the Rose and the Rain: thoughts after a day of reflection on our last school year.

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