So, do you remember back in the fall when I asked what you all would think about a book-on-books for women? A book to celebrate the kinds of stories that shape a woman's soul, companion her life in all its dark and bright richness, a book to explore what it means for a woman to have a mind - and an imagination - of her own? Well, the dream has grown itself into a radiant reality. I've just signed on with with the lovely folks at Tyndale House to write a book (tentatively) titled Book Girl.
This project comes to me like a gift, the exactly right progression from, well, a decade spent thinking about the wonders of reading and imagination, and then three crammed Oxford years studying theology and spiritual formation and what it means to become a creature 'fully-alive'.
Because that's what I want to write about, how books, how language, how story itself is meant as a gift to 'stab our spirits broad awake' and make us 'thoroughly alive' indeed (to quote two splendid authors - Stevenson & Eliot).
What I hope this book will be is not merely a guide to reading the right stories or having a literary education. Rather, what I want Book Girl to be is an exploration and celebration of the way in which we have the chance to become more fully alive to the world, to each-other, and to God by engaging with story in all its challenging beauty, and with words in all of their formative power. I want women who read this book to discover an ever-widening joy in the capacity of their imagination to show them truth, to feel their view of the world expanding with the words they encounter, to feel themselves companioned in struggle by the comrades of story, and to know themselves growing stronger in wisdom, word by word, as they face a difficult and confusing culture.
But Book Girl will also just be sheer celebration. It's my chance to take you by the hand and introduce you to the wonders of the book world, to characters and worlds that help me daily to find the charm in the ordinary, the grit to endure, the hope to strike the music of friendship up again. I get to talk about Miss Prim, Aragorn, Dorothea, and Mr. Tryan. I get to introduce you to Hannah Coulter, my quiet heroine friend, and Lila, the wise and earthy and mysterious wife of an old country minister. I get to revel with you in poetry, in passages that gleam with the promise of eternal things, in chapters that sparkle with wit.
A book on books is a little like the 'the wood between the worlds' in the Narnia tales, with each pool opening onto a new world, a different adventure, a new self. And oh friends. I am so very excited to share this adventure. I cannot wait to write this thing.
I'll be working on it as soon as I finish my degree (this June), and hope to see it published sometime in 2018.
In the meantime, as I move toward a new phase of creativity again after a glorious period of study, I'll be updating things around here, changing some design, theming things toward this new project. I'm thinking about several possibilities: a series of podcasts or webinars on reading (which would mostly be me delightedly telling you about my favourite stories and why they're my favourite - I may even read aloud), imagination, theology, etc. I'll be culling quotes and I'm always on the hunt for new favourite tales (so send me any beloved books I should know).
For now, I just had to share the good news and excitement, with you, my Book Girl world. Have a lovely day. (And go read something good. And tell me about it if you do.)