Spiritual Direction and Science Fiction


I’ve been reading like Martha Alston. She’s a sister bibliophile whom I met a dozen years ago when we were both working at Central Carolina. I had just started teaching there and was getting to know everyone. A friend of hers asked what she had been doing all summer, and she said, “I read 23 books.”

I stood there staring at her as if she said she’d taken a trip to Mars and back. Awestruck, I decided on the spot that one of these days I was going to do that too.

I’m working on it.

A persistent theme of this blog has been that good readers make good writers. As Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools ) to write. Simple as that.”

That said, I have a number of books that I’m currently reading. What I read depends a lot on the time of day (or night), where I am, and what I’m in the mood for. Do I want to be inspired, informed, or entertained? Like King, I read in “small sips as well as in long swallows.”

I’m listing these books just in case anyone is looking for suggestions.

Currently Reading:

The Shy Reader by Hope Clark. This is my evening book, the one I read on my iPad at night. I’m 76 percent of the way through it and have learned a wealth of helpful information, especially about blogging. More on this later.

The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch. This morning I read a short section in which he’s pulled over by a highway patrolman for speeding, and after Dr. Pausch shows him his surgery scars, the officer tells him to slow it down and walks away.

Living the Good Long Life, Martha Stewart. I couldn’t resist buying this at my favorite retail establishment, TJ Maxx. Well-written with nice photographs, I’ve picked up several tips from Martha. I’m thinking of starting yoga.

When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd. Purchased at the Friends of the Library sale a few weeks ago, it’s a book about spiritual direction and soulmaking.

Books I’m Studying:

You Must Remember This, Writers’ Group of the Triad. Our local writers’ group is putting together an anthology, and I’m using this book as research.

A Foxfire Christmas: Appalachian Memories and Traditions, edited by Eliot Wigginton and his students. Ditto to above.

The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Book,  Angie Cheek, Lucy Hunter Nix, and Foxfire students. Another ditto.

In the queue:

The In-Between Hour, Barbara Claypole White. Ms. White is a member of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, and when I saw this book offered through Amazon’s Vine program, I clicked “Select this item” right away and am anxious to begin reading it.

The Year She Left Us, Kathryn Ma. Another Vine selection about three generations of Chinese women. I’m wondering if it’s anything like Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.

Acrux Landing by G. R. Hinkle, a former colleague of mine. Although I don’t usually like science fiction, the first 30 pages of this novel have pulled me in.

The Quaker Café by Brenda Remmes, a member of my writing group and SCWW. Brenda’s opening sentence reels the reader in: “Where you decided to bury a body in the South is not a matter to take lightly….”.

Reading Lolita in Tehran. I ordered this book because of reviews by friends and my interest in gender issues.

That’s it, Folks. I hope something in the above list strikes your fancy. I also hope my reading group will cut me some slack if I don’t have a chance to reread A Walk Across the Sun before our next meeting.

What are you reading? Please share.

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
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5 Responses to Spiritual Direction and Science Fiction

  1. Hi Jayne! A great list of books, will add some to my ‘To Read’ list. Just finished Quaker Cafe today~you’ll enjoy it. The In-Between Hour was last week lol You’ll love that one too. And thank you for affirming – If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write. Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ is one of my favorites. Might be time to put that back on my re-read list…


  2. Jayne: We both must have huge bedside tables to keep all our parallel book-reads in one place!HA! 🙂
    I just finished ‘Joy Luck Club’ (Amy Tan) & ‘my sister’s keeper'(jodi picoult). Amongst a host of other tomes, I’m currently reading ‘When Women Were Birds, fifty-four variations on voice’ (non-fic-Terry Tempest Williams) but I’m savoring this one as I already know I don’t want it to end quickly! And re-reading a fav-classic ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ (Betty Smith).
    Add my endorsement to ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ an excellent book for both personal and bookclub reading.
    Thanks for reminding me of Brenda’s book, it’s in the queue for me too!


    • jayne bowers says:

      Missed you last night! My books are all over the place–except for my bedside table. Why? Because I read my iPad at night; it has a backlight and makes reading easier for these “mature” eyes. I recommend that you see The Joy Luck Club. That’s at the top of my favorite movies, and I can still remember many of the scenes and how poignant they were. We read My Sister’s Keeper in my book club, and wow…what a surprise ending! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn–sad but so true to life (or what I imagined it to be at that time in history). I have ‘Lolita’ on the table upstairs and am saving it for a day that I need my consciousness raised some more. When Women Were Birds sounds tempting. Will have to check it out.

      Sent you an email earlier about last night’s meeting.


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