Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

06 March 2006

"New World in the Morning"

I was prepared to like this song, but the bad text on page two--both verses, the same different and badly written line--made it a bit challenging. Still, 'New World in the Morning'. It's cheery, like Aldous Huxley, but here in a good way, kind of.

I read Aldous Huxley in college, and at the time, it felt life changing (particularly 'The Genius and the Goddess', and 'Island'). I remember also feeling changed by M. Scott Peck's 'The Road Less Traveled', and incredibly altered by Robert Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. I've read all of these books since, multiple times, and they can still move me. But now I look at them and think, didn't I read anything by women in this time period that moved me as much?

I was reading books by women at this time, all fiction, mostly romances. I still cherish my favorite romantic authors: Nora Roberts, Mary Balogh, Diana Gabaldon, all of whom write in ways that transcend 'romance writer' in large leaps; this is particularly true of Ms. Gabaldon. I've tended to seek out books, and music, by women authors and writers, almost exclusively. A male author has to be very fine indeed to catch and keep my attention, and I know that I am biased. I've made some effort, recently, to try more books by men, and unsurprisingly, I've found some great books there, as well. (Orson Scott Card, Kim Stanley Robinson, Neil Gaiman: I am also biased toward Science Fiction by men, I suppose.)

I know that statistically women read more novels than men, though I don't know who writes more, these days. I am a woman, and a woman getting older, and what's the point of being older if I can't be forthright with my preferences? Give me Sheri Tepper's unabashed promotion of radical societal change wrapped thinly in a deeply imagined fantasy world, Judith Tarr's strong historically-based characters who just happen to breathe magic, Jennifer Weiner's depiction of modern life in heart-breakingly accurate terms, Elizabeth Berg's warm evocative prose that makes me want to weep. I want it all, all the fifty books at my bedside, fiction and non, if I could devour them all tonight and still be awake to enjoy it I would.

I was raised as a reader by my parents, and I am forever grateful to them for the deep pleasure and world-widening experiences that they introduced to me. I'm not sure that they planned exactly *this* for me, but I don't think that they would say that they regret it, either. I know that my daughter's reading will eventually take her places that I will never go, and may never understand or appreciate. I can be glad of that, as well.


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