WALKING ON WATER, Blogging for Books Review

 

 

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Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water, a book about the intersection of faith and creativity, is a must read for any artist (especially writers) of religious persuasion. Finally, here is a work that thoughtfully explores the relationship between faith and art, and what it means to be a Christian artist.

While L’Engle writes from a Christian perspective, I think that a lot of her ideas and conclusions about the nature of creating art and the meaning within would be useful and interesting to anyone who finds art and the creating of it to belong to some higher order. Still, it will hold the most meaning for readers who share the faith base from which L’Engle is writing.

L’Engle is careful and methodical in her work, laying out logical arguments about this relationship in beautiful language that never loses heart and passion. For writers/artists like myself who have often struggled with whether or not to create “Christian art,” L’Engle offers insightful ideas not only on what this vague concept of “Christian art” is, but direction for those of us who are seeking.

Although assembled as a book, the essays in Walking on Water are easiest–and perhaps best–to read individually, giving the reader time to process and consume the content.

I marked dozens upon dozens of quotes from this work, finding myself at times inspired and at other times finally provided with the language to express my ideas about what I see as my place in the intersection of Christian and writer. In lieu of rambling on any longer, I will leave you with a few of my favorites:

“…all art is cosmos; cosmos found within chaos.”

“Stories, no matter how simple, can be vehicles of truth….”

~Teresa

**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Make the Scales Fall

The world does not look the same.

To be honest, everything seems flat and a little pointless. Updating a blog to try to gain followers to levy into a future career in writing seems… I lack the word. However, I do not want to add to “the chorus of despair.”

So here’s the thing. I’m taking a step back. I need to regroup. I need to look at this new world I’m about to be thrust into and find the work that needs doing. I will still write. I will always write. But personal platforms seem silly now, in the light of this different world.

What I need, what the world needs, is less focus on the self. Less internet. More books, which I believe broaden our perspectives, challenge our thoughts, and teach us empathy and compassion. So I’m going to read and write and survive and pray and do the best I can to do the work that needs doing.

For me, it is creating. But perhaps now I turn my efforts not solely to the creation of written words, but to the creation of relationships, to the forging of empathy.

I leave you with this excerpt from this post on The Paris Review.

Friends, I am off to write something to make the scales fall from our eyes. I am off to love someone fiercely. I am off to be quiet and listen, that my perspective may be broad and my empathy unending.

~Teresa

Blogging for Books Review — “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”

Besides reading and writing, baking is my passion. In my book, you haven’t really mastered baking until you’ve mastered bread. It’s a simple staple, and yet iconic. Nothing else in the world calls up quite so many warm feelings, does it?

Of course, it’s not entirely fair to say you can only master baking after you’ve mastered bread, since there are so many types of bread. Over the years, I’ve gotten better and better at making bread — but coming across The Bread Baker’s Apprentice was another turning point.

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In addition to recipes and step-by-step process pictures, the book, written by Peter Reinhart (a leader in the artisan bread movement) includes very important tips that typical home bakers might not come across. For instance, I’ve read hundreds of bread recipes and baked dozens, and not until this book had it been pointed out to me that the surface tension of the loaf is important. Ever since taking in this fact, it seems obvious–but still, many of my loaves in the past have suffered from a lack of surface tension.

The recipes in this book range wildly, and it’s completely appropriate for novice or expert bread bakers. I definitely wish I had been in possession of this when I started making bread.

Reinhart includes descriptions of the distinctions of different loaves, instructions on how to contort bread dough into different shapes, fascinating anecdotes as to how he learned these recipes and techniques, and in-depth insights for each of the 12 stages of baking bread. I love the insight and history given for each type of bread–for instance, the varying butter ratios in brioche recipes.

A note on edition: Reinhart reiterates that he is constantly honing and improving these recipes as he goes along. To my understanding, most of the recipes (or formulas, as he calls them) remain the same. Still, I would recommend getting this latest 15th anniversary edition if you want the most up-to-date recipes with any recent tweaks and changes he has made.

This is not a book to miss if you’re looking for an extremely well-rounded book on bread. Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice belongs on the cookbook shelves of every home.

~Teresa

**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.