Collaboreads: A Circle of Quiet

Monday, August 31, 2015

Amber and Rachel have been hosting a book lovers link up on the last Monday of the month for months now. When I found out that the theme this time around was going to be "a book set in summer",  I knew I was going to take part! After all, I'm always up for a chat about books.

The book I chose is Madeleine L'Engle's "A Circle of Quiet".  For those of you who don't know, this book is the first in a series called The Crosswicks Journals. If I understand correctly, these books are made up of pieces L'Engle took from her journals and then expounded upon. That being said, this a book that is nonfiction and reads a lot like a memoir style blog. The entries are short and connected and yet each of them could also stand alone.

Below is my Collaboreads style review. You can learn more about that here
I loved reading about what L'Engle calls her "Crosswicks family". Crosswicks refers to the farmhouse she and her husband had in Goshen, Connecticut.  They did live there for 9 or 10 years of their marriage, but most of their time was spent in apartments in New York City and using Crosswicks as a summer home. During those summers, the house would be filled with all kinds of friends and family. Summertime living never grows old.

She couldn't write about Crosswicks without writing about writing. There's just something about reading about another writer's routine that is inspiring.

I've read a handful of L'Engle's books and as I read this one, I realized how much of her writing truly does come from what she knows. I could relate to everything she wrote about small town living. Whether you've lived in a small town or wondered what it would be like to do so, L'Engle describes them and the people that come from them so very well. 

A section was devoted to the time she spent at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and how she came to be the librarian there. Somehow I never knew she was a librarian, so I was thrilled to learn more about that! 

One of my favorite books to dip into every now and then is The Essays of EB White. This book feels very similar to that one except that L'Engle's entries are much more connected to one another than White's. Life in New England, especially back in the mid 1900's translates into essays so very well. 

Reading these books will make you stop and think and maybe write some pieces of your own! 

The cover of this book is what first drew me. As it turns out, L'Engle describes the place that she would head to when she needed to be surrounded by quiet. I'm not sure if the cover is a sketch of that exact place, but the peacefulness it depicts lines right up with what L'Engle's not so secret place provided for her. 

I gave this book 4 stars. 

When I snatched it off of the little cart outside of my favorite used book store earlier this spring, I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on me. This book about L'Engle's life and writing completely exceeded my expectations. Whether you've read any of her other books or not, this is one I definitely recommend! 

Did you read a book set in summer this month?


  1. Ive read L'Engle's childrens book A Wrinkle in Time when I was in elemetary school, it was so fantastical but I never did read any more of her writing. I enjoy getting that insight into the lives of other people (just call me nosy!)

  2. Now I'm convinced that I NEED to read this book! I loved A Wrinkle in Time series as a kid and have been meaning to reread it for a few years now. Have you read Walking on Water? It's a collection of L'Engle's thoughts on the intersection of faith and writing---it's absolutely gorgeous. If you liked Circle of Quiet, I'm guessing you'd love it!

  3. This sounds like a great book! I love learning more about various aspects of people's life. And I am in a quarterly book club all about writing. This might be a good book suggestions for that group!

  4. Okay so you basically just added this to the VERY TIPPY TOP of my To Read list. Like the VERY top, because there's literally nothing I love more than writers writing about how they write. I know, how freaking repetitive is that, BUT I have never been as inspired to write as I am when I'm spending time in those books and working through my own thick, hard process. So, YES ON THE TOP.

    Also, I just have to draw this weird parallel to my book which is SO NOT THE SAME, but deals with summer homes and that is something that is SO FOREIGN to me. It just makes me feel like I'm outside the house looking in on these lifestyles because it just amazes me in ALL the ways that vacation homes could.

  5. I've heard of L'Engle, but not this book. I like nonfiction books about people's lives - especially as it pertains to writing! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  6. OH MAN. I got SO excited when I saw you read L'Engle! I've been wanting to read more by her for MONTHS now and just can never ever find her books in stores (so weird). I read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid but I want to read more of her more adult writing and faith stuff too, so I'm so glad you liked this! It's definitely on my list now. AHHHHH :)

  7. I've never actually read anything by L'Engle! This sounds SO GOOD. Like seriously so great. I'm adding it to my list RIGHT NOW!


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