This week my Sarah launches her solo book, Book Girl. I know many of you will love this book. We made a really fun and funny podcast for you last week--we have so much fun talking together about all aspects of life, past stories and memories and of course books. Be sure to get your copy to be lifted up in spirit at the beginning of this new school year. Fall is a great time to read.
Sarah tells a story at the beginning of one of her chapters about how Tolkien truly saved her faith through Lord of the Rings. Here is a bit of that chapter so you can take a peak into her book.
I was seventeen, and it was actually, in the words of so many mystery novels, “a dark and stormy night.” Oh, I felt the drama of it with all my teenage intensity. I was wrestling for the first time with real pain, with the reality of circumstances I hated and could not change. In many ways, the world I knew was coming to pieces around me. After a terrifying two months of anxiety, I had been diagnosed with obsessive- compulsive disorder. I felt that my mind was broken; I could not control the images or thoughts that intruded upon my consciousness. In the same time period, I watched our church experience a painful and bitter split that made me question the whole concept of Christian integrity. And my family decided to move across the country and away from the starlight and mountains we all so deeply loved. I felt a sense of bitter vulnerability as the things I considered immovable—a controllable mind, a beloved home, my lifelong faith—revealed them- selves as frail and faulty. I had the comeuppance we all must face, the smack of my heart against the fallenness of the world as I discovered that what I best loved could be harmed, broken, lost.
My reaction was outrage—a grieved sense of betrayal, com- pounded by the drama and shifting identity of my teenage years. I was hopeless on that stormy night, and my faith felt very frail as I reached for my current book, The Fellowship of the Ring. It was distraction I was after, but ah, it was a challenge I found as I was swept into a story about dark lords; evil powers intent on destruction; and the good elves, the wise wizards, the small but courageous hobbits who give the whole of themselves to fight for beauty and health and kindness. I stumbled across Frodo’s grieved wish that such things “need not have happened in my time” and nearly wept in agreement. But I was also gripped and almost mercilessly challenged by Gandalf’s gentle rebuke that such wishes are not in our gift; rather, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The words seemed to be aimed directly at me, confronting my undisciplined bitterness so that I felt myself begin to wonder, What must I do with the time given to me? In that moment, with Gandalf ’s challenge ringing in my imagination, I encountered the reality that a girl who reads is a girl who understands that she has a part to play in the drama of the world. A woman who reads is a woman who knows she must act: in courage, in creativity, in kindness, and often in defiance of the darkness around her. She understands that life itself is a story and that she has the power to shape her corner of the drama.
Book Girl, Sarah Clarkson
e sure to plan on joining Sarah, Joy and me on Tuesday for a cup of tea and time to chat. I will be trying to put up a facebook live event on my facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/therealsallyclarkson/
Be sure to join us for the launch party and be entered to win a really fun prize--12 of Sarah's favorite books.