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Book: Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: November 10, 2020
Source: Borrowed as an audio ebook from the library
Summary: Katherine May endured a winter of illness, job loss, and trouble with her child’s school. While that involved some wrestling, it also demanded rest and retreat. May grappled with the paradoxes of finding new opportunities wrapped in failure, warm companionship forged in icy plunges, and new ways of experiencing time while enduring timelessness.
Thoughts: When I reviewed Journal of A Solitude by May Sarton, I mentioned that it made me curious about Wintering by Katherine May. Wintering was recommended on Facebook by two different authors that I like, Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic, The Signature of All Things, Committed, and Eat, Pray, Love) and Karen Karbo (How to Hepburn, Julia Child Rules, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, How Georgia Became O’Keeffe). Both of them thought Wintering was particularly suitable for this winter of social distancing.
Given that I knew nothing about the book except for those short recommendations, I was in for a couple of surprises.
The first surprise was that Katherine May is British — as is Rebecca Lee who reads the audiobook. As you might guess from my recent posts about BBC Radio shows (The Archers 70th Anniversary and BBC Sounds), it enhanced my winter to hear this read by a British speaker.
The second surprise was that this is way more memoir than it is self-help. I might have been more clued in if I’d seen the British subtitle, how I learned to flourish when life became frozen, instead of the American one, the power of rest and retreat in difficult times. I won’t be the first to observe, however, that sometimes memoir is more helpful than self-help. Plus, there’s the added advantage that memoir, particularly this one, is more likely to be presented in beautiful prose.
I’ve been doing a lot of abstract art in the past year or so. I think this is the first piece inspired by a book, though.
This little book trail I’m on has at least one more step. Now, that I’ve been thinking about retreat, I checked out The Woman’s Retreat Book by Jennifer Louden. What other books would you recommend for someone (most of us?) who is making the best of winter and isolation this season?
Appeal: My Anglophile folks will enjoy walks along the cold English beaches and life in a village. This is also a terrific book for anyone who is experiencing more solitude than usual or looking for gentler ways to handle a stressful life.
Have you read this book? What did you think?