13 Responses to A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland

  1. It sounds like a very sound start to your project, Belinda. At a time when so many people set themselves impossible, punishing goals ‘not moving away from something but towards something, I am not denying myself but giving myself something’ sounds a much more realistic and healthy aim.

    • bookbii says:

      Thanks Susan. It feels pretty healthy so far, though it’s only been a week so there’s always that honeymoon period about it. But so far I feel pretty positive or even better than usual, more focused and clearer about what I want. Perhaps it will stick (in a good way) after all.

  2. 1streading says:

    Although this is not the kind of book I normally read I am very drawn to it. I have found the Christmas holidays quite stressful as I am almost never alone!
    I’ll be really interested to see how this year of reading more slowly works out for you.

    • bookbii says:

      Thanks Grant, if this first week is anything to go on I think it could be an interesting experience. I’d definitely recommend A Book of Silence, it’s an unusual but wonderful book.

  3. JacquiWine says:

    I like the way you’ve combined the commentary on the book with a discussion of your own personal experiences as it puts everything into context. Sounds like a very enriching read for you.

  4. A moving piece, Belinda. Years ago I did academic research on medieval hagiography, and so was immersed for a time in the literature of the desert saints, the monastic impulse and its consequences, etc. The problem of anomie was a big factor – how to overcome the breaking-in on silence of otherness, even of boredom. I guess it’s a zen thing, too. A worthy project you seem to be undertaking: good luck with it. We could all do with more silence and stillness in our lives.

    • bookbii says:

      Thanks Simon. Were there any writers that were particularly interesting in your research? It sounds a fascinating subject; Maitland has obviously read extensively but focuses on a handful of the hermits and orders that focused on a silent life. I imagine the subject is much deeper than is covered in the book.

      • Authorship wasn’t really valid in the Middle Ages: devotional lit was anonymous. Stand-out seminal works were Lives of sat Anthony, Jerome & other desert hermits. I worked on Lives of St Mary of Egypt.

      • bookbii says:

        Ah, I see. Maitland writes quite extensively about St Anthony, but St Mary isn’t mentioned. I’ll look her up, thanks 🙂

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