Need to take a break from constant forward motion? Here’s a list of the books that are helping us slow down, speak up and feel wonderfully small this month.
Charlotte: A Novel
Charlotte is a fictionalized account of the very real life of Charlotte Salomon, a young Jewish artist who lived and worked in Nazi-occupied Europe. Her life and career were brutally cut short in the Holocaust, leaving us with only a melancholy taste of the surrealist force she could have been. This novel is a quick read, but a perfect introduction to the endless sea of interest that is Salomon’s life. Foenkinos pours out his narrative in non-rhyming verse, creating a pulsing rhythm that matches his obsession with her story and leaves the reader equally in love.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Though written by one of the 20th centuries most respected Rabbis, you most certainly do not have to be Jewish to appreciate this text. The concept of the Sabbath is one that touches everyone—the importance of time. For Heschel, time is spiritual; man is preoccupied with conquering the things of space, but time remains beyond and a part of us all. In our busy and technology-filled world, carving out time for beautiful things can seem nearly impossible, but this book reminds us of how truly vital it is to be intentional with the moments we have.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Certainty is a drug—with packed schedules and Google at our fingertips, we approach our lives with maximum control. But, in this book of essays, Solnit explores the appeal, fear and curiosity of finding yourself in the unknown. This is essential reading for those need to be reminded that being lost isn’t something to be afraid of, but rather a mindset that brings immense wonder and growth.
Sonnets to Orpheus
Rainer Maria Rilke
Written in 1922 by the Austrian poet Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus is a collection of fifty five poems inspired by the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus. Poetry can be difficult to approach—it’s often esoteric or abstract, but not here. At fourteen lines, each sonnet is the perfect length for a quick, but inspiring read. We’re enjoying studying one a day, intentionally making space for good feels no matter how small.