The Sunday Salon

The Sunday

It’s becoming easier and easier to wake before the sun, as the daylight hours have begun their gradual descent into the autumnal equinox.  And though I love fall, this aspect of the season saddens me, for summer’s long hours of daylight give me a sense of added hours in my day and make me feel I have more time to accomplish all the things on my long to-do lists.  But though it’s dark outside, the warm glow of my reading lamp illuminates the page, and I can savor this quiet time before the rest of the family wakes. 

Welcome to the Sunday Salon.

I’m still immersed in Bridge of Sighs, a book that continues to produce moments of epiphany not unlike those experienced in therapy, when a sentence, a paragraph, a description, strikes just the right chord and illuminates something about my own experience that I immediately feel as if I should have known all along.
When Tessa Lynch says to her grown son, “I never wanted you not to love your father…I wanted you to love me,” I recall perfectly the odd triumvirate that develops between parents and their only child.  When Lou explains that the reason he’s writing this “narrative journey” is because he “doesn’t want to be confused” and “needs to remember it all…our lives…what happened to us…why we’ve lived as we have instead of some other way…,” I want to grab my pen and begin furiously writing my own narrative timeline.  And when Sarah realizes that much of what draws her into the Lynch family is a need for stability – a “yearning for refuge, a small, safe place in the wider, hostile world,”  I think of my own husband and how, in the early days of our courtship, he must have been drawn to my family as a similar safe haven.

We read for all kinds of reasons, don’t we?  For entertainment, for insight, to escape our cares, to pass time while waiting or traveling, to obtain information or instruction.  When a book can so amply fulfill everyone of these needs, it is a rare gift.

Bridge of Sighs is such a book.  So I continue to read, slowly, savoring each beautifully written paragraph, immersing myself in each character’s life story.  And I don’t mind the extra darkness quite so much, while I have this book casting such a warm glow in my mind.

Now tell me, what books have illuminated your life, helped you realize things about yourself or your experience of which you were never before aware?


8 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Bridge of Sighs…I certainly did.

    Great question…and I’m looking forward to coming back and reading the comments.

    As far as me…hmmm….

    Maybe because she’s on my mind because I just finished her latest, but Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons comes to mind.

    It emphasized the great importance of early friendships in our lives and our personalities, and it made me realize how those relationships influenced the person I am today…and how free we are with ourselves as a child with our friends, something that we lose as we get older.

    Our adult friendships aren’t the same as our childhood ones, and there are lessons to be learned from those early bonds.

  2. Oh yes, I identified so much with that tension in a one child family. I was so lucky with my parents and we had a solid threesome friendship but there was still that uneasy balance at times as well. I do wish there were more Russo books; he is such an exceptional writer.

  3. I am so sad the summer is more or less gone – and cannot quite believe it. And as for only children: I don’t quite know what that would be like as I come from a really very large family and very much had to elbow for every inch of space I could get. I haven’t read this particular book, but your review makes me think I should put it on my ever increasing tbr list….

  4. I’m so glad you’re still enjoying it! I broke my book buying moratorium and picked up a copy this week…not sure when I’ll get to it, but at least it will be waiting on the TBRs when I’m ready.

  5. I’m wishing we could have a few more weeks (months?!) of this glorious summer we’ve enjoyed this week. I never would have expected to have vacation with weather so perfect that every day is like a gift.

    I’ve been thinking about books that inspire a lot lately, and for it’s Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “A Gift from the Sea.” It’s one I read over and always find something that resonates.

  6. Oh how I want this Richard Russo book! That’s a tricky question but a good one. I think just about everything I’ve ever read has illuminated some part of my soul, no matter how small or seemingly trivial. I guess that’s why I adore reading.

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