December did not suck entirely. I was able to run 97 miles out of the 97 promised. The in-law holiday party was a lot of fun and I got to most of the books on my list:
- Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (DNF)
- Rainbow’s End by Lauren St. John
- Paul Revere and the World He Lived in by Esther Forbes
- On the Ocean by Pytheas (translated by Christina Horst Roseman)
- Geometry of Love by Margaret Visser
- Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre .
- River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (AB)
- Tu by Patricia Grace – I read this in four days because it was due back at a library that didn’t allow renewals.
- Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright. I listened to this on audio on my lunch breaks. It was a good way to escape for a little while each day. Confessional: I didn’t finish the whole thing but since it is a continuation of the series it doesn’t matter.
- Yoga for Athletes by Ryanne Cunningham – this was an October book that took me a little time to review because I was too busy using it to run!
- Disaster Falls: a family story by Stephane Gerson
Visser, Margaret. The Geometry of Love: Space, Time, Mystery, and Meaning in an Ordinary Church. New York: North Point Press, 2000.
Reason read: Saturnalia Solstice in Rome happens in December.
Author fact: Visser was born in South Africa.
The Sant’ Agnese fouri le Mura church is named for a twelve year old girl named Agnes who was murdered in 305 A.D. Her throat was cut after she refused to marry the son of a Roman prefect. The name literally means “Saint Agnes Outside the Walls”. In addition to a physical description of the church Visser supplies a mental and spiritual picture as well. She takes the reader on a journey back to the roots of Christianity with etymology lessons thrown in for good measure. My favorite part was the comparison of church to theater. Of audience and performance. Evocation of imagination and emotion in both arenas. Geometry of Love is for anyone with a good imagination and wants to “see” Sant’ Agnese fouri le Mura church for him or herself.
My one criticism is the etymology. Visser pauses to tease apart words to reveal their deeper meaning quite often. Words like remember, mind, theatre, nave, orientation, gospel, error, heresy, pilgrim, passion, orthodoxy (I could go on and on and on) are explained. It reminded me of trying to have a conversation in the woods with a good friend who happened to also be an avid birder. Every sentence was punctuated or interrupted with “Did you hear that? That was a female Hylocichla mustelina…adolescent, of course.” And then we would pause to listen to the bird that, to me, sounded like every other brown bird in the trees. Having a normal back and forth conversation was damn near impossible.
Quotes I liked, “…the sea is a major metaphor in Greek literature for fate and necessity, or circumstances otherwise beyond human control” (p 62), “Today, the lambs arrive at Sant’ Agnese’s by car” (p 120), and “For anyone who is not spiritually allergic to churches, to walk into a beautiful church is to encounter understanding, to hear echoes of the soul’s own experiences” (p 125).
Book trivia: Despite the fact this book focuses on a particular church there are no photographs of it in Geometry of Love. Bummer. I really would have liked to see the statue of Agnes since Visser describes it so lovingly.
Nancy said: Geometry of Love is “the study” of the Sant’ Agnese fouri le Mura church.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Roman Holiday” (p 189).
December is going to be a crazy month. I need to run 93 miles. I will be hosting my in-law’s Holiday party for the first time. I’m going to the Christmas Eve Patriots Game. What else? Oh. The books!
- Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming ~ in honor of December being the best time to visit Peru
- Rainbow’s End by Lauren St. John ~ in honor of Shangani Day in Rhodesia.
- Paul Revere and the World He Lived in by Esther Forbes ~ in honor of Revere’s birth month (I’m guessing since he was baptized on January first.)
- On the Ocean by Pytheas (translated by Christina Horst Roseman) ~ in honor of finally finding a copy of this book!
- Geometry of Love by Margaret Visser ~ in honor of Rome’s Saturnalia Solstice.
- Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre ~ in honor of December being the best time to visit India.
- Tu by Patricia Grace ~ in honor of New Zealand being discovered in December.
- Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright ~ in honor of finishing the series started in September in honor of Enright’s birth month.
- Yoga for Athletes by Ryanne Cunningham ~ for LibraryThing