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2021 Reading Challenge – February Recap & Purim

We’re basically 2 months done with 2021! There’s only 2 more days in February, so I’m just gonna do the February recap post today, on the 8 week mark. What can I say; it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to! I’ve read some really good books this month, and essays, too. First, I’ll tell you about the books I’ve started and finished this week, and then we’ll move on to February as a whole. Okay?


February 2021 Books

We’re gonna break this section up into 3 parts. First, I’ll tell you the books that I started but haven’t yet finished in February. Then, I’ll list the books that I finished last week. Finally, I’ll list all of the books that I’ve read this month, followed by a little bit about today, which happens to be the holiday Purim. Sound good?

Books Started in February

I swear I’m gonna finish reading these books eventually! The only reason I haven’t finished them yet is because my French is not great, and I’m not always in the mood to read non-fiction. As for Kaddish, it’s incredible so far but just far too sad for me to read at work! I’ll finish them all, though, I promise!

  • poΓ©sies choses de Victor Hugo
  • The Nature of Greek Myths by G.S. Kirk
  • Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg

Books Finished in Week 8

I’ve read 3 incredible books this past week. Two of the books both, oddly enough, discuss time in an interesting way. But I’ll get to that later! As for the third book, it’s a wonderful historical account of triumph over injustice.

I’ll list the books in the order in which I read and finished them.

  • The Sabbath: It’s Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • Pan by Knut Hamsun
  • The Book of Esther from the Tanakh

Time is the presence of God in the world of space, and it is within time that we are able to sense the unity of all beings.

The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel

Complete List of Books Finished in February

Because I’ve read more books and stories this month than just the ones listed here, I’d like to give a complete account of my February reading list. Short stories and essays will be included in this list, because honestly, why not?

I’ve provided links to purchase Solaris and The Sabbath, as those books aren’t available online. For Ta, I’ve linked to a review of this book. There are secondhand bookstores online where you can purchase Ta, although I myself have never purchased anything from any of them.

As for the rest of the books, they’re all available to read for free online! You can do so by clicking the provided links, or by just googling online versions of the books for yourself.

The Sabbath and Pan, and How They Discuss Time

The Sabbath is, of course, a book about Shabbos, a celebration of time. In it, Abraham Joshua Heschel discusses the ways in which Shabbos draws our attention to time, as opposed to space/materiality.

As a holiday, and Shabbos certainly is a holiday, the focus isn’t on the things that we have, or the work that we do. Instead, it’s a day to focus on our relationships with others, on our relationships with ourselves, and our spirituality. Each of these things is markedly different from any sort of tangible object; these aren’t things that we can just buy with money.

They take time to grow, to nurture, and to prosper.

The book Pan opens with the narrator discussing the flow of time. Throughout the book, the narrator reminisces on his time in Norway, and there are many passages where he describes specific moments in time where he was aware of the “unity of all things” that Abraham Joshua Heschel discusses in The Sabbath.

For the most part, Pan is about relationships between people, and the relationship that the narrator has with Nature. And The Sabbath is about relationships with time.

I found it a happy coincidence that I read these books one after the other, and think that they’re very complimentary towards one another.

Today is Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating escape from genocide. One of the underlying themes of the holiday is that God acts through coincidences, even if it doesn’t look like it. I absolutely love this idea!

Did you read my post about Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster? In it, I talk about how I’d wanted to read that book for years, but just never got around to it. I also talk about how glad I was that it was the first book that I had read for 2021, and how the timing worked out.

More and more, I’m seeing that things always happen at the right time. Just because we don’t recognize the timing as right and Divine, doesn’t mean that it isn’t!

Read a little bit more about coincidences and Purim here.

Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more Freshly Stale content ☺️

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