December 30, 2006

A Circle of Quiet

A Circle of Quiet (The Crosswicks Journal – Book One) by Madeleine L’Engle
Nonfiction – Spirituality/Autobiography
Finished on 12/18/06
Rating: C- (2/10 Boring)

Maybe next December I should plan to limit my reading to thrillers and fluffy romances. Three disappointing books in a row makes me wonder if the fault lies in the book or, rather, in the distraction of the holiday season. Whatever the reason, I doubt I’ll be reading any more by L’Engle. I read A Wrinkle In Time a few years ago and didn’t think it was nearly as good as did some of my friends. This past summer I read Two-Part Invention (another Crosswicks Journal – Book Four) and it took well over 70 pages before I became interested in that. I think the main reason for my appreciation (and high rating) of that particular book was due to the subject matter. Dealing with my own grief this past year, I found comfort and validation in L’Engle’s words. Unfortunately, A Circle of Quiet failed to deliver the same emotional insights and I wound up skimming the majority of the book.


  1. Les, L'Engle is one of those writers I want so badly to love, but I just don't. I have tried book after book, and the only one I truly care about is her children's book, The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas. I can't get through her adult books, or her non-fiction pieces. I admire the woman, but not her writing. I actually feel much the same way about Stephen King. :<)

    I wouldn't blame the holidays. Sometimes it is just the books we pull off the shelves. I'll start a book I bought years ago, and wonder why I put money down for it.

  2. Sorry you had another disappointing one. Hope the next one is good!!

  3. I never quite became a huge fan either. I'm not sure why...

  4. Oh dear, I recently purchased an adult novel by her. Your idea to read thrillers during the holidays sounds like a good one. I probably would have read more and enjoyed it more if I'd have been reading a mystery or a thriller.

  5. I remember having a really hard time with Two-Part Invention; it seemed that she glorified (to an extreme) her relationship with Hugh. Of course, that was just my perspective looking in from the outside. Who am I to judge? But, when I read Circle of Quiet many years ago, I loved it. I think it has to be the right time for such a read, and as you suggest, NOW is not a quiet time. I think I read it in the summer. I've got to agree about reading a thriller: sometimes you just need the action of a good plot. I breezed through Whiteout by Ken Follett when I first came back from surgery and loved it for only engaging me in action, not emotion.

  6. Nan - You said it just right. She's "one of those writers I want so badly to love." Oh, well. I've given her a good try. Having said that, Book 2 (The Summer of the Great-Grandmother) sounds a bit intriguing. Maybe I'll just listen to it on audio...

    SuziQ - The next book was good! I should have a review up for it in the next few days.

    Jenclair - I'm not sure why I'm not either. I can't point to anything specific.

    Booklogged - The thriller I just finished was excellent! Now if only I can remember to follow this plan (of reading thrillers during December) next year.

    Bellezza - I read most of book to and from Texas for my daughter's graduation. I'm sure I was distracted, but I was also stuck in a plane with nothing else to read. Who knows why it failed to entertain me. Off to see what Whiteout (Follett) is all about. Sound like a perfect read for today, as we're FINALLY getting some snow!!

  7. Oh! I am sooo sorry to hear about that. My New Years wish to you is that ur year be filled with great books. Best of luck.

  8. Anonymous11:18 AM

    I'm almost done with this, and I must say, L'Engle is certainly not for everyone or on a whim. She's from a different time, if you know what I mean, and writes very intelligently, heady stuff. You can't have the TV on and read her. lol. With this book, I've enjoying learning about L'Engle as a person and her ideas about writing, creativity, etc., etc.


  9. Nessie - Thanks. I'm off to a good start so far. At least Circle of Quiet wasn't too long. ;)

    Monica - I know what you mean about reading L'Engle in a quiet atmosphere. That's why I thought taking the book on a plane would be helpful. Maybe she's just not one to read cover-to-cover. I'm glad you're enjoying it! Have you read Two-Part Invention? I really liked the second half of that one.


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