Monday, January 2, 2012

Small Wonder...random thoughts...

Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver.

Why have I not read anything by her before? Why? Why? Why?!!! It's not like I've never heard of her. It's not like I didn't know how much some of my dearest friends love her Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. *waves to Chris and Heather* Heck, it's not even like I don't have easy access to her books, as many of them are residing right on my own shelves.

Alas, I can't go back in time to change it, so I shall just rejoice in the fact that I finally discovered for myself the beauty of her writing. And beautiful it is. Understated and gorgeous. This essay collection covered a variety of subjects, but the beauty of her writing was an unbroken thread throughout.

But it wasn't her lovely writing that made me fall in love with her. It was her heart. As it was straight from there that she wrote. And in a very unsettling, yet very pleasant way, it felt as if she were writing from *my* heart. If I had the talent, these are the essays I would write. She covered so much ground in these essays, from war to the environment, from food sustainability to evolution, from reading to motherhood. And oh so much more. I admit that I can find myself feeling depressed, feeling angry, feeling hopeless when I ponder some of the issues she so eloquently writes about. But that's not how I read her essays. Instead, the feelings I came away with were awe and reverence and hope.

Ms. Kingsolver simply doesn't seem the type to dwell on blame. Instead she focuses on what can be done. Especially on what can be done in her own life, with her own family and community. Don't get me wrong, I shed tears on more than one occasion. But it's not the tears that will shape the way I remember this's the love and the hope that will.

(Project Progress: 50x50, #45--Read 50 short story or essay collections, item 7)


Amanda said...

I've really been thinking of reading Animal Vegetable Miracle lately, especially since I loved The Omnivore's Dilemma so much!

Megan said...

I've been floating along in your boat, too. I've got several of Kingsolver's books on my shelves and more than enough recommendations to make me want to read them, but I haven't read one of hers yet. This one is new to me, but it sounds really excellent. Sounds like one to acquire and *actually read*!

Andi said...

I fell in love with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and this collection has been on my wishlist since then. Thank you for the reminder! I need to dig it up for 2012.

Trish said...

I haven't read this one!! But I do really want to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle--which I own. Also, loved Poisonwood Bible. Though that's fiction.

Somer said...

One of my favorite books ever is Prodigal Summer. If Ihad to name a favorite author, I think it would have to be Barbara Kingsolver!

Care said...

You DO have a beautiful heart. I can vouch for that. :)
I wish for you a peaceful, love-filled, soul-fulfilling, life-enriching year.

Carl V. said...

I love a good essay collection. I can completely understand what you are saying about feeling she wrote from your heart. I feel variations of that with some other essay authors. I feel like Anne Fadiman writes the essays I wish I could write. C.W. Gusewelle wrote many essays that felt like they came from my heart even though we don't have the same political leanings. Wil Wheaton's essays also have a kindred spirit quality to them.

Eva said...

I had such a bad reaction to The Poisonwood Bible that I wrote Kingsolver off completely, but maybe I just need to give her nonfic a go instead! Very convincing post lady. :)

Debi said...

That's the next book of hers I want to read! I just know I'm going to love it. :D

Glad I'm not the only one who does that--you know, the collecting of so many books by an author we've never tried. Glad to say in this case, I think it's going to pay off. :D

Ooooh, yet another trusted recommendation for Animal Vegetable Miracle! I definitely think I need to squeeze that one in this very month!

I'm really eager to try out her fiction now, too! I do have a couple of them, though not The Poisonwood Bible. But like I just said to Andi, I think next up from her is definitely going to be Animal Vegetable Miracle!

Wow!!! Now that's strong praise indeed! And I think I actually own Prodigal Summer, so you've just got me really excited!

Sheesh lady, you sure know how to make a person feel good. :) I hope you know that I wish the same for you, from the bottom of my heart!

It's an awesome, if somewhat unsettling, feeling, isn't it? I'm just so happy that there are people out there who can put the things I feel into words.

I do think you should! Not that I can guarantee you'd like it, of course...but I do think you'd relate to what she has to say on many a topic. :)

Carl V. said...

I think you do a fine job of putting the things you feel into words all by yourself. :)

Heather said...

Um? About freaking time? :D

Now get on that AVM already! And I'll get on this. I have a copy. Don't know what the heck I've been waiting for!