Page-a-day books

Are you a page-a-day person? I’m into these kind of books. I don’t read each one every single day, though, it depends on my mood. They all provide guidance but in different ways.

One of my favorites is Hal Borland’s Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal was a staff and editorial writer for the NY Times, but he was also an outdoorsman and wrote ‘nature editorials.’ This book is a compilation of his essays, one for each day of the year. Reading his thoughts and observations on the changing seasons is soothing, illuminating, relaxing. The entry for September 10 is called Harvest Moon, and in it he says

With reasonably clear skies, it will be a moonlit week, for the Harvest Moon is not a hasty moon. It comes early and stays late.

My stack of page-a-day books changes each year, but The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday is a constant. When I first read his book The Obstacle is the Way I realized that I’ve always been a Stoic. I took philosophy in high school and Epictetus was my guy. There’s something logical about the stoic philosophy that’s appealing. I truly and highly recommend this book!

I heard about Year of Wonder on NPR. The author was on with another guest and they talked about classical music and opera. They were both so passionate and engaging! I enjoy but don’t know very much about classical music, so I decided to try this book. It’s wonderful indeed. The author is an enthusiastic classical music geek. For each day she wrote a short essay on a single piece that she encourages the reader to seek out and listen to (thank you YouTube). She’s completely inclusive as well, so it’s not just the Mozarts and Beethovens, but women, all races and periods of time. This is a joyful and eye-opening book.

I think I learned of A Calendar of Wisdom from the aforementioned Ryan Holiday and his monthly reading list newsletter. Apparently Leo Tolstoy spent years compiling the quotes for this book. Each day has a theme of sorts and a set of quotes, mostly by other people but some by Tolstoy. April 4th was all about joy and Leo himself wrote the quote below. Which, by the way, is as stoic as it gets (accepting things the way they are).

Life could be limitless joy if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us.

Leo Tolstoy, joyful stoic

My dad collects Lincoln books and I’ve given him quite a few over the years, but not Lincoln’s Devotional with it’s introduction by Carl Sandburg. It’s not that I’m particularly religious, I just like it. It’s old, blue and was a library book before I found it in a thrift store. It still has the little pocket on the inside back cover with the card in it! (No one ever checked it out.) I use the card as a bookmark. Just knowing that this is a copy of a book that President Lincoln carried with him and studied is cool. He really liked this book. Each day has a bible verse and a short poem to go with it. This is the poem from June 10th that goes with Rom. xv.2 (“Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”)

May I from every act abstain,
That hurts or gives another pain;
Still may I feel my heart inclin'd
To be the friend of all mankind.

The slim Children’s Prayers for Everyday is the one thing here that’s not like the others. Not a page-a-day book, but just one I like to flip through, enjoying the simple drawings and poem-prayers. How sweet is this one called Outdoors?

Busy squirrel
Up the tree;
My gray kitty
Lives with me.

In the grass
Nod at me
When I pass.

Robins singing
Flowers growing,
Blue and red.

We thank you, God,
For things that grow;
We stand still
To tell you so.

So, what do you think? Feel the same or are you ready to turn the page on this post? 🙂

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