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Forest Bathing--Sabbatical Day 1

On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times

On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark TimesOn Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times by Michael Ignatieff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"To be reconciled we must first make peace with our losses, defeats, and failures. To be consoled is to accept these losses, to accept what they have done to us and to believe, despite everything, that they need not haunt our future or blight our remaining possibilities."

I got a head start on my sabbatical reading with Michael Ignatieff's latest book. I felt after two years of pandemic and divorce that this would be a good place to start as I begin this season. Months ago I had read an excerpt of the book and was impressed, plus I really liked his previous book, Ordinary Virtue, which I read near the beginning of the pandemic.

Ignatieff is not a religious believer, so he searches the intellectual and literary tradition for consolation, sharing the stories of key individuals who coped with the various crises of their lives. People like Paul, Cicero, Montaigne, Lincoln, etc. One goal of these stories is to realize that we are not alone in our distress, that our suffering is part of the human condition.

The book is a rich exploration of the theme with profound and helpful thoughts drawn from each story (I'll have more to write about individual chapters and ideas when the sabbatical free time truly kicks in next week). Plus, Ignatieff is a very engaging, eloquent writer.

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