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A Circle of Quiet

(Crosswicks Journals #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  5,491 ratings  ·  577 reviews
This journal shares fruitful reflections on life and career prompted by the author's visit to her personal place of retreat near her country home.
Paperback, 246 pages
Published January 1st 1971 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
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Open Road Media They have yet to be published as ebooks...but we're fixing that this fall! Look for all the Crosswick Journals on ebook in late November.
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I’d be surprised if the majority of readers have not read “A Wrinkle in Time.” It is undoubtedly her most loved book, although the road to a publisher was a rather long journey. Nevertheless, she did, and the rest is her story, part of which is contained in this part memoir / journal, part love story, part spiritual journey, and also in part advice for writers, her teachings and observations as Writer-in-Residence. Reflections on her family, both the
This is a perfect use for a reissue...republishing the memoir/journal of a woman who truly thought about her life, her family, her writing, teaching, and her place in the world (and not in any grandiose sense). And there is careful thought here, about not only her family, her writing, her life, but also about the major questions of all life: good and evil, the presence or absence of God, how should children be taught meaningfully, how should one try to live a meaningful life.

Within these pages
I picked this up on a whim – for a quarter – from a library book sale, and I’m so glad I did. If, like me, you only knew L’Engle through her Wrinkle in Time children’s series, this journal should come as a revelation. I didn’t know she wrote any nonfiction for adults. The Crosswicks books cannot be called simple memoirs, however; there’s so much more going on. In this journal (published 1972) of a summer spent at their Connecticut farmhouse, L’Engle muses on theology, purpose, children’s education, ...more
Cindy Rollins
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Timing is everything. I was ready for this one at this time. Nothing fancy, just a long summer’s afternoon discussion with a friend. I just listened.

While this book could be considered dated, I found it strangely prescient and relevant.
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, memoir
I've grown up reading Madeline L'Engle's writing. I don't remember exactly when I first read A Wrinkle in Time, but I think it's safe to say I was in elementry school, both exhilarated by life and by learning, and uncertain of where I fit into anything, especially with my peers. I'm just now realizing that for most of my life until the past few years, I've felt like my existence in this world was somewhat of a mistake.

I've turned to Wrinkle and the other books in the Time Quartet over the years
L.P. Logan
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That's what this book gave me.

Not the kind that comes from seeing someone else's life and contrasting it to your own, but instead the sort that comes from deep introspection.

Whew. It was exhausting.

Five stars. Totally a five star read.
Anne Bogel
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous, insightful, fascinating. Mothers and writers and thinkers should all read this first installment of the Crosswicks Journals.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, favorites
I read this after visiting a great friend who gave me a copy, and fell in love. I loved that she is a writer and a "normal" person at the same time. The unashamed honest humanity of it. And the beautiful musings on being, and being happy. The passion for ontology. Good for anyone trying to feel peaceful or normal or just wanting to share in someone else's life for a while.
Madeleine L’Engle, beloved author of such Newbery winners as A Wrinkle in Time and A Ring of Endless Light, begins her series of four memoirs with A Circle of Quiet.

About : Wife-mother-writer. This is how Madeleine refers to herself, and it’s just one of many things that make this book feel so relevant. I can hardly believe A Circle of Quiet was published almost half a century ago; and I am so glad Open Road Integrated Media is republishing it as an ebook.

L’Engle is an irresistible study in contradictions: episcopal and agnos
Jennifer King
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book so much, I read it in small pieces so I could savor it. A Circle of Quiet is one of my favorite books of the year, maybe even of my lifetime. Ms. L'Engle's voice speaks so assuredly, winding bits and thoughts that seem somehow unrelated into a profound yet simple point over and over again. I especially love her shared experiences about her writing career, her family life, her quiet solitude, and her faith. A beautiful, much-treasured book.
Silvia Cachia
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#1 in the 4 of her Croswicks Journals
Published in 1971, ★★★✫

I saw that my friend Anne White read and recommended this book, and when I saw it at the last book store sale, 6 months ago or so, for $1.00, I was excited. This book and  Flannery O'Connor's Complete Short Stories were the major hits that sale. Which reminds me that I truly have many exceptional great titles I need to read. This reminds me of a title that has mixed reviews among my friends and acquaintances, 1971, I
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elisabeth by: Maribeth Barber
A Circle of Quiet is a rambling quasi-memoir on various aspects of life in general, but with a significant amount of musings on writing and artistic life. The latter was the element that I enjoyed the most. The broader philosophies that L'Engle wades into I didn't find quite as satisfying, probably because the brand of "faith" that she describes doesn't seem solid enough to base a clear worldview on. L'Engle identifies as both Anglican and agnostic, but while she affirms belief in a loving God as cre ...more
Marina Sofia
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The kind of book that I will never consider fully read, as it will be constantly re-read. A book to dip into and quote when things get tough. A book to inspire and guide, whether you agree or disagree with all that she says. A book all women writers, especially mothers, need to read.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just read this book again and it is still at the top of my list of favorite books. I needed this little jolt to jump start my reading again. I have not been reading as much lately and needed something to change that and this book did that for me. I guess I just needed a refill of greatness to fill my tank and get me back on the right track.

I really wish I knew something flowery and wonderful to say about this book. I cannot. All I can say is Maldeleine L'Enlgle just has a way of to
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published in 1972, this meandering journal has sections that are definitely dated, even obsolete. And like much of Madeleine's work, especially her non-fiction, it is overly mystical and in-your-face Christian for my tastes. (She doesn't even get the number of days of Chanukah right!)

Nonetheless, it is a lovely, sweet read, about parenthood and marriage and communities both large and small. About our responsibilities to those who came before and to those who come after. Ab
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Library. Want to own.

Another memoir for the year. Based at least partially on her journals and the writing of A Wrinkle in Time, L'Engle writes about her own journey to faith, ontology, time, love, writing, and joy. She writes with such beauty and honesty about her life during this period: her life as a person and what that means.

I can't wait to read Summer of the Great-Grandmother.

Commonplace entries here.
Read my full review at

I loved this book so much! And reading this reminds me of how much I love Madeleine L'Engle and how much I want to read (and re-read) everything she wrote!

I shouldn't really be surprised given how much I love L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time books. And this book gives us her thoughts on everything from theology, writing, children’s education, writing books for children vs. adults, and more.

There is also encouragement here for those who want to see their
I've loved reading for as long as I remember. However, I do remember two books that my second grade teacher read aloud to our class that would affect the genre I would love for the rest of my life: (until present day anyway!) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and A Wrinkle in Time.

So when I saw this book written by the author of A Wrinkle in Time, I was eager to read it and learn more about her.

Crosswicks is the name of her New England farmhouse. As she writes this "letter" she describes it, sh
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the second work of nonfiction that I've read by L'Engle, and her nonfiction confirms her as one of my favorite authors. I love her style, her sense of humor, and the way in which she expresses her beliefs, simply yet profoundly and beautifully.
I read this book aloud with my dad, and we both loved it. We got into some good discussions about life, society, and God while reading it together. It's the first book that I've read completely with him. Usually, I just read to him whatever I
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I've heard of L'Engle, I don't recall ever reading any of her books, even the more famous Wrinkle in Time. I got this book on a whim and now it's one I won't part with.

Circle is book one of the Crosswicks Journals. I had, wrongly, assumed this was fiction but found that this series of books are pulled from L'Engle's personal journals. Judging from the journals alone, what a fascinating, intelligent, and insightful woman! I ended up writing in this book quite a bit and have a
Zen Cho
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
This book is about teaching children, writing, family and community, the modern world, love, religion and some other things. I don't agree with L'Engle on lots of things, but I agree with her on lots of other things, and I came away from the book feeling refreshed, revived.

Other favourite books on living I'd tag as self-help:
The Importance
The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (a book about writing is basically a book about living)
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran -- this one's a bit embarrassing, but I did like it, and it would be unworthy to exclude a book from a list for fear of appearing naive or obvious or uncultured. That would be behaving like that silly LJ community that made you list your top 20 books and then judged whether you were elite enough to join them, and never did anything else.
Kim Elder
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I read this with high expectations because it is loved by so many of my friends. I did enjoy reading about her writing especially regarding A Wrinkle in Time, a beloved book for me when I was a child. I suppose I was disappointed in the thoughts on her faith. At some places she describes herself as Anglican and at other times as agnostic (and it is not a progression of going from being agnostic to becoming Anglican). I have always heard her touted as a “Christian author” but in reading this book ...more
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction

L'Engle speculates on life and love and the nature of the universe, not to mention writing. Oh, the writing! It's fascinating to hear from a Newbery-winning author, someone whose work I've loved and whom I've looked up to since I was a child, and realize how similar we are in our quirks and fears and insecurities.

But what a hilarious, beautiful, intelligent woman she was! I'm anxious to get the rest of the Crosswicks journals, and I'm severely put out that her n
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L'Engle is currently one of my favorite authors, and this book pretty much sums her up. A Circle of Quiet is a book about ontology, the study of the world from a bigger perspective in a bigger sphere ( as defined by me, not Webster.) Enough said, I suppose. This book came at the most perfect time for me, and I definitely was deeply impacted by her journal-like writing that takes the reader through L'Engle's mind as she shares her insights and thoughts.
I experienced conflicting emotions reading this. I grew up reading and thriving on both the fiction and essays of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Charles Williams and recognised the echoes in this book. While some of her wisdom resonated, too much of it came across as grumpy , opinionated and rambling.

I admired her honesty and boldness in approaching her local clergyman to explain she did not accept Christian belief but needed to live as if she did and request that he accept her as a church mem
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to explain what this book has done for me and to me. Madeleine L’Engle was my favorite author as a child and I have always desired to read more of her works. What this book did was gave me direct insight into the brilliant brain and mastermind that makes her the artist that she is.

From reflections on nature to the importance of imagination to the reminiscing of failures and moving forward to talk of maturity and allowing to be moved no matter our age, L’Engle kept taking m
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time quintet, A Circle of Quiet is so much more. More meaningful, contemplative, thoughtful, and just what I wanted to read when I felt the need to envelop myself in a circle of quiet. I enjoyed her thoughts on theology, writing for both children and adults, children’s education, and more. Her meditations on love, joy, creativity, and awareness record her fears, self-doubt, failures, and successes, and serve as a guidepost to our own questions and questioning.
Jan 21, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I've finally decided to abandon this one. I've dipped in and out of it for a while and although I enjoyed some of it, I just wasn't usually excited to pick it up. It seems that maybe I'm not yet at a stage of life to appreciate it, so I might revisit it in the future, especially because I love much of her fiction and liked some of these essays. Also, our religious beliefs are different enough to make it hard to connect with her philosophical essays. I can appreciate that it's well-written, but i ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L’Engle points to many issues which still are valid today: American anti-intellectualism, the pursuit of pleasure over happiness, the stark divisions between people of different generations and political persuasions, our abuse of the environment, and of course the education and initiation of our children. There are many gems to be found in her book, even for those whose perspectives are secular like mine.
I wrote a nice review for this book, explaining my thoughts as well as could be expected. And somehow it got deleted. Well I guess this book just doesn't need to be reviewed because I am completely out of time. Maybe I'll have time to attempt to rewrite the review later, but the words never come as well the second time!
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Trinity Episcopal...: A Circle of Quiet (discussion) 1 10 Jul 02, 2013 04:20AM  

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Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her young adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regeneration in The Arm of the Starfish, and ...more

Other books in the series

Crosswicks Journals (4 books)
  • The Summer of the Great-Grandmother (Crosswicks Journal, #2)
  • The Irrational Season (Crosswicks Journals, #3)
  • Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (The Crosswicks Journal, #4)
“A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming.” 1995 likes
“I'm apt to get drunk on words...Ontology: the word about the essence of things; the word about being.” 136 likes
More quotes…