Moving toward the end of the Year of Sept. 11, my favorite things are books and music with insight into life's big picture, the meaning of the journey that we're all on:
My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. Wisdom passes from generation to generation. That's the concept behind this collection of anecdotes and insightful stories from physician/counselor Remen. The granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi with Kabalistic, or mystical, leanings, Remen looks back through her life and—in easily digestible pieces—allows her grandfather's patient instruction to shed light on issues from growing up to illness to death. Also worth reading by Remen is her best-selling Kitchen Table Wisdom (Riverhead Books).
Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This past summer, I kept a long-overdue promise to myself and took a full month's retreat to my family's small home on outer Cape Cod. Picking up Lindberg's slim 1955 classic recently, I felt the same refreshing breeze that I had breathed all summer wash over me. Lindbergh's gift to modern readers is a reminder to take pleasure in simple things—a shell or a fleeting swirl of cloud. And, poignantly, she reminds us to think in terms of "the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much." Fifties-style Feng Shui (Pantheon Press).