18 April 2012

Review: Whatever is Lovely by Marsha Maurer

Based on the product description, I was expecting a themed 'how to' book looking at our spiritual values (“design for an elegant spirit”). Instead, Whatever Is Lovelyis a compendium of musings, stories, and quotations from throughout history, divided into 52 chapters taking us from Anticipation to Wisdom. It can be read from cover to cover, or it can be dipped into in random order, a subject at a time, as each chapter is complete in itself.

When I read a novel, I tend to read it over a couple of days (the more I am enjoying it, the faster I tend to read). Books like Whatever Is Lovelycan't be read in the same way. It needs to be read slowly and savoured a chapter or two at a time. The passages are meant to read slowly, and savoured to relax and open our senses to the beauty that surrounds us. Whatever Is Lovelyis not a page turning thriller. Rather, the evocative language invites us to be calm and at peace (and I was). Maurer has a beautiful way with words that both illustrates and echoes the beauty and simplicity she seeks in life and relationships.

It is apparent that Marsha Maurer is widely read across a range of writers, and her education and experience is that of a life lived, not merely books read. As well as having the expansive worldview that comes from having lived in different countries and cultures, the author also has the authenticity and authority that comes simply through age and experience.

Whatever Is Lovely would make a lovely gift book, something to browse through as a pick-me-up, although the format means that I think it would work better in the hardcover edition than as an e-book – the black-and-white pictures disrupt the flow of the text and don’t show to their best advantage on a Kindle screen.

Thanks to Carpenter’s Son Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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