Dog-eared Books

June 23, 2005
Title: Gilead
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 256

What did you take from this book?

First, Gilead reminded me to take joy in the precious things of this life, particularly people you love -- to notice, for example, their unique facial expressions and their particular posture. The writing is almost like poetry -- it helped me notice the simple glories of the world around me. At the same time, it also reminded me of how profoundly we separate ourselves from each other, sometimes through a few shocking actions, and sometimes through a gradual accumulation of smaller deeds or neglect, and how difficult it is to bridge those gaps once they have been formed.

What did you tell your friends about this book?

I told them it's a really good book that offers a lot to ponder, but that it's not a page-turner. It moves at a more reflective pace. In other words, it's easy to put down but worth taking up again. Also, the most interesting part is at the end, so don't get bored with it and give up halfway through.

Brief summary:

The book is a letter written by a minister in his 70s to his 7-year-old son. The minister has a heart condition and believes he will not live to see his son grow up; he hopes his son will read this letter as an adult. In the letter, the minister-father reflects on a lifetime of ministry and on his relationships with his father and grandfather, brothers, friends, wife and son. In the latter half of the book, he particularly focuses on his relationship with his godson, his best friend's son, who has been a bit of a prodigal.

- Ashley Thornton, Director of Professional and Organizational Development
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