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“Listening Below the Noise offers readers the possibility of finding grace and peace in the natural world and in ourselves. Elegant and honest… one of those rare books that finds its way into our hearts, and stays there.” — Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle A meditation on silence, the art of being present, and simple spirituality from critically acclaimed novelist An “Listening Below the Noise offers readers the possibility of finding grace and peace in the natural world and in ourselves. Elegant and honest… one of those rare books that finds its way into our hearts, and stays there.” — Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle A meditation on silence, the art of being present, and simple spirituality from critically acclaimed novelist Anne D. LeClaire (Entering Normal, The Lavender Hour), Listening Below the Noise offers a practical path to achieving calm, peaceful solitude in hectic lives. Practitioners of yoga and meditation of various traditions have long known the curative powers of stillness; in Listening Below the Noise, LeClaire offers her own unique, compelling version of this ancient wisdom tradition.


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“Listening Below the Noise offers readers the possibility of finding grace and peace in the natural world and in ourselves. Elegant and honest… one of those rare books that finds its way into our hearts, and stays there.” — Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle A meditation on silence, the art of being present, and simple spirituality from critically acclaimed novelist An “Listening Below the Noise offers readers the possibility of finding grace and peace in the natural world and in ourselves. Elegant and honest… one of those rare books that finds its way into our hearts, and stays there.” — Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle A meditation on silence, the art of being present, and simple spirituality from critically acclaimed novelist Anne D. LeClaire (Entering Normal, The Lavender Hour), Listening Below the Noise offers a practical path to achieving calm, peaceful solitude in hectic lives. Practitioners of yoga and meditation of various traditions have long known the curative powers of stillness; in Listening Below the Noise, LeClaire offers her own unique, compelling version of this ancient wisdom tradition.

30 review for Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Weinstein

    It may be because I read so many books about spirituality, but I found this somewhat dull and self-absorbed. I'm tired of books by privileged white women fussing so excessively about their inner lives that they seem to have no interest in the real world. Do we really need another memoir by a writer on Cape Cod who thinks that keeping her mouth shut four days a month is radical and revelatory? Monks and nuns have been doing it all their lives for centuries -- I recommend that you read their works It may be because I read so many books about spirituality, but I found this somewhat dull and self-absorbed. I'm tired of books by privileged white women fussing so excessively about their inner lives that they seem to have no interest in the real world. Do we really need another memoir by a writer on Cape Cod who thinks that keeping her mouth shut four days a month is radical and revelatory? Monks and nuns have been doing it all their lives for centuries -- I recommend that you read their works.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Listening Below The Noise By Anne D. LeClaire Once in a while, at a dollar book sale, I’ll find a treasure. This book is that and a heck of a lot more. Think of it as a quiet walk in the woods or a stroll along the lakeshore with the only company being you and the path ahead. Sure, you’ll encounter a root or stone along the way, but you may also find something you hadn’t considered. You. “Somehow we have become estranged from quiet and have developed not only a low tolerance for it, but an almost Listening Below The Noise By Anne D. LeClaire Once in a while, at a dollar book sale, I’ll find a treasure. This book is that and a heck of a lot more. Think of it as a quiet walk in the woods or a stroll along the lakeshore with the only company being you and the path ahead. Sure, you’ll encounter a root or stone along the way, but you may also find something you hadn’t considered. You. “Somehow we have become estranged from quiet and have developed not only a low tolerance for it, but an almost outright fear of it…Thus we spend moments and hours and days, weeks and months and years of our precious lives overworked, overbooked, and overcommitted, cramming more into every fragmented day.” The idea of silence, of having a cloistered place was initially inspired by author LeClaire’s love of the book “The Secret Garden” and how that walled in and neglected garden struck a chord and began her journey. “I was discovering the glorious paradox that deliberately claimed silence could serve as the bridge to finding my authentic self. It was silence, after all, that was leading me back to my center and serving as a path to empowerment and self-knowledge.” Throughout this book, the author struggles with finding not only the time to delve into an entire day of silent time, but also the courage to ask those around her to try and honor her practice. The most difficult person to get onboard was her husband, the fisherman, Hillary. Though he was gone most of the day and their children were grown and had moved away, they spent nights and weekends together. At first he shunned the idea and figured it was a temporary ‘new thing.’ Over time he came to respect it and learned to honor her need for a day of silence. LeClaire found that the more time she spent observing her motivation to engage in conversation with friends and family, the more she became aware of the subtle issues that lurked underneath the spoken words. It was by being silent and observing others as they interacted that she noticed how a key ingredient had fallen away from most everyone’s daily life, we no longer know how to listen. “We engage in chatter, not conversation, and our chatter reveals our ego’s needs: Love me, admire me, envy me, fear me, help me—see me. There is little space for truly hearing others.” My only minor frustration with the concept of silent time is that I didn’t feel it needed to be an entire day. One can find silence throughout the day. Small moments to reflect and turn inward, seem a more realistic practice for most. I did like the suggestion that by turning off life’s distractions and going within, creativity can be set free. “…Creativity always begins in the void: the empty canvas, the blank page. Springing out of and weaving through this emptiness blossoms art, music, poetry, literature. In the clearing we discover possibilities.” One of the most powerful metaphors LeClaire shared was how trees growing in forests are basically weaker and less able to weather wind and storms than ones that stand alone, because the solitary trees, without the shelter of others, develop stronger, deeper roots. What kind of roots do you have?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Philippe

    Most books on silence deal with the beneficial effects of spending prolonged time in quiet places, such as deserts, mountains, polar areas or retreats and dwellings in remote countryside. This is a memoir by someone who over many years has developed a returning practice of refraining from speech. For this author, nonspeech is an exercise in self-discovery and cultivating an aware, grateful attitude to our environment and to life. Inevitably it also is (or grows into) a spiritual practice. It see Most books on silence deal with the beneficial effects of spending prolonged time in quiet places, such as deserts, mountains, polar areas or retreats and dwellings in remote countryside. This is a memoir by someone who over many years has developed a returning practice of refraining from speech. For this author, nonspeech is an exercise in self-discovery and cultivating an aware, grateful attitude to our environment and to life. Inevitably it also is (or grows into) a spiritual practice. It seems to me that, ideally, exposing oneself to noiseless environments and refraining from talking coincide. It seems artificial to remain silent in a busy social or media-saturated environment. Yet, this is what Anne LeClaire at certain points chose to do. Inevitably this led to frictions, misunderstandings and conflict. Obviously one can also learn from these unpleasant experiences. But it’s not the way I would approach this, and reading about her rather self-conscious behavior I could feel my irritation mount. I can’t really put the finger on it, but on the whole, the tone of the book didn’t please me. A little too smug, too glib, too wishy-washy. I don’t know. Not a book that I’m likely to revisit. I rather recommend Sara Maitland's A Book Of Silence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda Tuplin

    Reinforced what I have been feeling lately -- too much external noise and not enough silence to hear the world or myself think. I guess that's why I so cherish early mornings on my swing in the backyard, listening to the birds and hearing the world wake up. Reinforced what I have been feeling lately -- too much external noise and not enough silence to hear the world or myself think. I guess that's why I so cherish early mornings on my swing in the backyard, listening to the birds and hearing the world wake up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    When I read non-fiction, I can tell whether I am doing some deep learning by whether or not I have to read with a pen/pencil in hand to underline and take notes. I found the first half of this book to be a lovely, gentle read, but not especially deep or challenging. No underlining or note taking there. However, the second half really surprised me. My pencil was busy marking some of LeClaire's discoveries and revelations, and my mind was busy thinking about how I can integrate more silence into m When I read non-fiction, I can tell whether I am doing some deep learning by whether or not I have to read with a pen/pencil in hand to underline and take notes. I found the first half of this book to be a lovely, gentle read, but not especially deep or challenging. No underlining or note taking there. However, the second half really surprised me. My pencil was busy marking some of LeClaire's discoveries and revelations, and my mind was busy thinking about how I can integrate more silence into my life. I ended up loving this book and know I will return to it to refresh my memory on her wisdom and growth in hopes of inspiring more of my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    I loved this book. Anne LeClaire tells how her years of observing a day of silence on alternating Mondays has transformed and enriched her life. She details the heightened awareness to her own inner life, as well as the more acute listening to the world around her, that practicing "stillness" has brought. And she doesn't just tell us of the wonderfulness of this; she also describes the times that this observation of silence becomes troubling, causes resentment in both herself and those close to I loved this book. Anne LeClaire tells how her years of observing a day of silence on alternating Mondays has transformed and enriched her life. She details the heightened awareness to her own inner life, as well as the more acute listening to the world around her, that practicing "stillness" has brought. And she doesn't just tell us of the wonderfulness of this; she also describes the times that this observation of silence becomes troubling, causes resentment in both herself and those close to her; she also discusses times when "silence" is not benign. This is a great memoir, and beautifully written prose.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    ”In silence I had found a place where I could hear the voice inside. I could sit in the sum and sip the sweetness of its cup. I slowed down, reflected and rested. And I wanted more.” p. 91 I could have picked almost any page in this book to quote from. LeClaire is willing to share her own thoughts and actions and she has a way with words. I found lots to think about. LeClaire made me feel like this book was a conversation between the two of us. Deciding to not speak for a whole day, LeClaire put her ”In silence I had found a place where I could hear the voice inside. I could sit in the sum and sip the sweetness of its cup. I slowed down, reflected and rested. And I wanted more.” p. 91 I could have picked almost any page in this book to quote from. LeClaire is willing to share her own thoughts and actions and she has a way with words. I found lots to think about. LeClaire made me feel like this book was a conversation between the two of us. Deciding to not speak for a whole day, LeClaire put her whole way of life on the line. She didn’t realize what she was getting into, but amazingly she has stuck with her spiritual practice for more than nine years. Each chapter is begun with beautiful pictures taken by the author’s son. The chapter titles are mostly from nature and are designed to reflect the gardening theme of the book. I really like the way LeClaire ties her story to one of my favorites, the children’s book The Secret Garden. Someone once said that a good critic is trying tell you what she learned about herself from a good piece of literature. As I write my reviews for this site, that quote is often in the back of my mind. I learned from Listening Below the Noise that I am still not the listener that I want to be. I want to fix things; I want to move them forward. Sometimes, listening is just listening and that is the way it should be. I am grateful to LeClaire for that reminder. If you have concerns about the amount of noise in the world or in your head, you might want to pick this up. You may not choose silence as a practice, but this book will help you see why one woman made that her spiritual discipline.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I was hoping for something new here. I'm not sure what. But I cannot be impressed by the way someone with such a privileged life is able to incorporate contemplation into her life. She already works at home, in a separate studio, no less. She can walk to the beach. Or even move into the family's rental cottage to extend her silence into a week's length. I would love to find the writings of someone who managed a meditation practice in a life less custom-designed for it. Plus, can I beg the writers I was hoping for something new here. I'm not sure what. But I cannot be impressed by the way someone with such a privileged life is able to incorporate contemplation into her life. She already works at home, in a separate studio, no less. She can walk to the beach. Or even move into the family's rental cottage to extend her silence into a week's length. I would love to find the writings of someone who managed a meditation practice in a life less custom-designed for it. Plus, can I beg the writers of the world to stop using that hackneyed story of the frog in the boiling water? I don't want to hear it ever again. Nor do I want to hear of the nun/monk with the vow of silence who complains every year on the one day s/he can speak. The frog has been debunked. And the nun/monk story clearly never happened. Beyond that, those metaphors, along with too many others in this book, long ago lost their power in overuse.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This was a re-read for me, and I loved it as much this time as the first! I appreciate her premise that she had mistaken “a busy life for a rich one,” that instead of human beings, we “have become human doings.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Janeene

    really liked this book - so much so that I will be buying a copy so I can highlight and re-read over time ---and will definitely be doing my own days of silence.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    The first half of the book reconfirmed a lot of what I've learned at AA. The second half gave me a new perspective on my own personal need for silence. The first half of the book reconfirmed a lot of what I've learned at AA. The second half gave me a new perspective on my own personal need for silence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katie Ringley

    A book that could add value to literally every persons life, is short, concise and yet I bet not a lot of people would pick it up or give it the respect it deserves. Huge fan.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Thoughtful and wise book on the value of silence and stillness in our lives. The importance of carving out time for quiet and solitude.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Sullivan

    I bought this book Tuesday at the American Association for University Women book and author tea. Very pleased to share that Anne LeClaire was one of four local authors who spoke at the event. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her speak and although she didn't talk about the initiative with this book (silence) I really liked her stories and messages. I picked up the book to read at the beach as my non fiction book this week (I alternate between fiction and non fiction). Pleased to share that this book I bought this book Tuesday at the American Association for University Women book and author tea. Very pleased to share that Anne LeClaire was one of four local authors who spoke at the event. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her speak and although she didn't talk about the initiative with this book (silence) I really liked her stories and messages. I picked up the book to read at the beach as my non fiction book this week (I alternate between fiction and non fiction). Pleased to share that this book was a perfect read today. After my hour walk along the shore this morning, I sat at the beach to read and essentially read this in one sitting. The author's writing is beautiful and warming. I enjoyed the short chapters that shared her journey to stop talking. Long story short-she ended up doing this every first and third Monday for 18 years!! I liked reading about her thoughts on what is important in life through her own marriage and family stories and even humor. I'll take away many ideas and some of the suggestions at the end of the book are helpful, too. May just have my own story soon too! Can't wait to pass this book onto family and friends. Eager to read another Anne LeCalire book now.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Felicity

    This should probably get about a 2.5. It's not as if Anne LeClaire tells us anything we don't already know, namely that our senses in the modern world are constantly--and it's certainly constantly where I live--assaulted by noise. LeClaire's response to this was to begin practicing silence--literally. For at least the past ten years, she has devoted the first and third Monday of every month to silence. She doesn't speak to anyone (including members of her family), she doesn't answer the phone, a This should probably get about a 2.5. It's not as if Anne LeClaire tells us anything we don't already know, namely that our senses in the modern world are constantly--and it's certainly constantly where I live--assaulted by noise. LeClaire's response to this was to begin practicing silence--literally. For at least the past ten years, she has devoted the first and third Monday of every month to silence. She doesn't speak to anyone (including members of her family), she doesn't answer the phone, and she doesn't turn on the radio or the TV. She doesn't even listen to music. It hasn't mattered what the day (birthdays or holidays) or the location (a party), she has followed this practice rigorously. Her conclusion? That it has enriched her life enormously. This doesn't surprise me, but I kind of like the idea of silence and meditation. Basically, I read this book because the practice of silence appeals to me. I'm not a big fan of TV, I hate the intrusion of the telephone, and I never listen to the radio. I do love my music but I wonder if I would appreciate it all the more if I had to do with it two days a month. I hate leaf blowers with a vengeance--they are the most odious things ever invented. What is their purpose other than to make a whole lot of noise? So you can see why I appreciated this book. One small problem: LeClaire is a writer. It's fairly easy for her to set aside the first and third Mondays for silence--and it is particularly productive for her work (as it might be for someone like me finishing my dissertation!) But for someone with a "regular" job (as in an office), some a practice might prove more challenging. But if you could encourage others to respect your practice in that environment (even for one day a month), that would be an achievement worth reading about.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Jueds

    I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did. It's a wonderful topic and one that's close to me personally, so I was happy to find it at the library--I had high hopes. But Listening Below the Noise is disappointing. For one thing, even though Anne LeClaire gives lip service to the idea that practicing silence, like any spiritual practice, is a circular path, the structure of the book is relentlessly linear. Each chapter has a well-defined subject, begins with a problem or question I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did. It's a wonderful topic and one that's close to me personally, so I was happy to find it at the library--I had high hopes. But Listening Below the Noise is disappointing. For one thing, even though Anne LeClaire gives lip service to the idea that practicing silence, like any spiritual practice, is a circular path, the structure of the book is relentlessly linear. Each chapter has a well-defined subject, begins with a problem or question, and by the end of the chapter... magically!... the problem is solved, the question is answered, and then never returned to. Which, to me, makes the book feel shallow, emotionally flat, simplistic. I was incredibly bothered (I actually wanted to reach into the book and shake the writer, or her editor) by the mangled Mary Oliver quotation another reviewer mentioned. It leaped out at me, too, and I felt (maybe unreasonably) annoyed--partly because it is such a sloppy error, partly because that quotation (the real one) is a favorite of mine. Listening Below the Noise is also over-written--filled with rapturous and somewhat cliched descriptions of Cape Cod beaches that I started skipping over pretty quickly. The metaphor of the garden, which the author returns to at the beginning of every chapter, feels over-used, and I quickly got sick of that, too. LeClaire also fails to deal in any sort of depth with the shadow side, the difficulties, of practicing silence. She touches on some of them, but seems to come to a pretty quick (and to me, false) sense of resolution. OK, so apparently I liked this book even less than I thought I did. I'm not quite sure why I actually finished it... I think I kept hoping things would look up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    This book was recommended by someone while I was on retreat. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed in it. The author gives her account of feeling the need for silence in her life and designates every first and third Monday as days of silence. What I found a little disturbing is that she does not fill the silence with God. It is almost like silence for silence sake. She quotes many good sources- the saints, Thomas Merton. She also quotes a lot of Sufi and Hindu teachers as well which sent up This book was recommended by someone while I was on retreat. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed in it. The author gives her account of feeling the need for silence in her life and designates every first and third Monday as days of silence. What I found a little disturbing is that she does not fill the silence with God. It is almost like silence for silence sake. She quotes many good sources- the saints, Thomas Merton. She also quotes a lot of Sufi and Hindu teachers as well which sent up my New Age red flag alert. In the opening chapters she also gives her feelings about organized religion and God Himself. She seems to have some issues here~ perhaps angry with God for whatever reasons, and her view with organized religion is that she has not always felt welcomed. While I can agree with her on that to some small degree, I would also remind Mrs. LeClaire that religion, perhaps Christianity especially, is not about us, but about Christ. She separates religion from spirituality. On that I can only repeat with St Joan of Arc: "About Christ and His Church, I only know they are one and the same, and nothing else needs to be said." (paraphrased) My prayer for Mrs. LeClaire is that she will see that the reason for silence is so that we can fill it with God and listen to His voice. She does begin to allude to the fact that "empty silence" is not good, but in my opinion, she still does not quite get it. If you really want to read some good, solid material on silence and solitude, I would recommend Thomas Merton (Thoughts on Solitude, and Entering into Silence), as well as any number of the saints.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cielo

    Edited Review: Original review still included at the end. Okay... So I definitely reviewed this book incorrectly. I read the book with the intentions I would have if I were reading "Quiet..." by Susan Cain. This book and that book are not the same kinds of books, so I will re-rate this and re-review looking at it from another angle. (The angle I should have had!) This is a very good memoir. LeClaire's "days of quiet" seriously turned her life around, and she illustrates that in great detail. She al Edited Review: Original review still included at the end. Okay... So I definitely reviewed this book incorrectly. I read the book with the intentions I would have if I were reading "Quiet..." by Susan Cain. This book and that book are not the same kinds of books, so I will re-rate this and re-review looking at it from another angle. (The angle I should have had!) This is a very good memoir. LeClaire's "days of quiet" seriously turned her life around, and she illustrates that in great detail. She also describes how her choices and her actions affected the people and the world around her. There's a lot of quotable material in this book. I found myself pressing sticky notes almost on every other page. Along with her personal words of wisdom, there are quotes from other people all throughout the book. She ends the book with tips and suggestions to trying to have your own moments or hours or days of silence or quiet. She does a wonderful job portraying the change that was brought about when she decided to take some days to spend in silence. - - - - - - - - - - Original Review: There is a good amount of quotable material in this book, but to me it felt like a journal trying to teach you how to stop talking, riddled with metaphors and stories of the author. It was not bad, but I felt that the book could have been half as long and just as effective. The content was a bit dry, in my opinion. If you're interested in how silence has helped the author and changed her life, read on... but if you're looking for something to open your eyes or deeply help you learn to practice inner peace and solitude and explore yourself, this is the wrong book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I came across this while browsing aimlessly in the newly opened reading room on the top floor of the local library. The way it was shelved, its cover was visible, and that's what drew me, in addition to the fact that I had stalled in A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland, and this book was shorter, thinner, more compact, possibly more easily read. LeClaire got a mysterious prompting to be silent, so she tried it for a whole day. Then for two Mondays a month. Then she kept that up for 17 years. [Her I came across this while browsing aimlessly in the newly opened reading room on the top floor of the local library. The way it was shelved, its cover was visible, and that's what drew me, in addition to the fact that I had stalled in A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland, and this book was shorter, thinner, more compact, possibly more easily read. LeClaire got a mysterious prompting to be silent, so she tried it for a whole day. Then for two Mondays a month. Then she kept that up for 17 years. [Here, my own silence as I consider and reject various sentences describing various parts of the book.] As in many books that might be termed spiritual autobiographies, she quotes others fairly often, and I will admit she loses a whole star for misquoting one of Mary Oliver's more well-known poems. She writes, "There is a line in a poem by Mary Oliver that haunts with its question: 'This one and glorious life you have. How will you spend it?'" No, that's not how it goes, and I know this because the lines haunt me too -- have from the day I first read them -- which is why I have had a copy of "The Summer Day" on my fridge for more than 20 years. It's "Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?" It would have been simple enough for the author to Google and get right, and later for copy editors to verify. That weakened her cred on all other quotations. Even so, I DID finish the book. One takeaway: You learn difficult, humbling, valuable things about yourself when you keep silence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Having already so many books on this topic, but a big proponent of silence, I expected to quickly (and quietly?) breeze through this one and write it off as just another flaky new age treatise. But I was pleasantly suprised when it turned out to be more than that. The author is not some self-appointed guru but instead a writer who inhabits an ordinary world wrought with activity and noise who chose to explore her inner life by being silent every other Monday. She herself is suprised by all that Having already so many books on this topic, but a big proponent of silence, I expected to quickly (and quietly?) breeze through this one and write it off as just another flaky new age treatise. But I was pleasantly suprised when it turned out to be more than that. The author is not some self-appointed guru but instead a writer who inhabits an ordinary world wrought with activity and noise who chose to explore her inner life by being silent every other Monday. She herself is suprised by all that it brings up, both in her and in others, but she welcomes the fear, discomforts and familial dysfunctions that arise and finds herself sustained and invigorated by silence and solitude. She writes that Americans too often suffer from the illusion that nothing important is happening unless it's accompanied by a great deal of noise. But in reality, as the Swiss philosopher Max Picard wrote in 1948, "Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence." A wonderful study on the idea that if you can sit still, so much comes to you....

  21. 4 out of 5

    Suzie Q

    I NEVER say this, but this is a gift book we all should give to ourselves and OWN sort of book. It explores taking a day or two a month for complete silence to just slow down, focus on the task at hand, while being one with the world, not overburdened with multitasking, technology and endless pointless noise all while doing everything at a whirlwind pace. This paired with a Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg is a bookie's dream come true. I have really learned a lot in getting older in just I NEVER say this, but this is a gift book we all should give to ourselves and OWN sort of book. It explores taking a day or two a month for complete silence to just slow down, focus on the task at hand, while being one with the world, not overburdened with multitasking, technology and endless pointless noise all while doing everything at a whirlwind pace. This paired with a Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg is a bookie's dream come true. I have really learned a lot in getting older in just taking time to be....no ear buds....no email....no tech....no background noise. When I weed my garden, or pick blueberries it's just that, not music or thinking of what I have to do next. One line that stood out in the book was something like, Just because we can always be reached and accessed with email, phone, voice mail, call waiting, texts, Doesn't mean we have to be. It's ok to take small doses of personal vacation time just by unplugging for a while.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erika Nerdypants

    Overall I really liked this book, but I do have a few quibbles. It may seem minor, but it seriously bothered me that my favorite line from Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese" was misquoted. Having said that, I appreciated the author drawing on many other inspirational sources, which in my opinion made the content richer. And while this wasn't really meant as an in depth exploration on the role of silence in life, I did find it a little too pat at times. As a memoir, it was beautifully written in des Overall I really liked this book, but I do have a few quibbles. It may seem minor, but it seriously bothered me that my favorite line from Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese" was misquoted. Having said that, I appreciated the author drawing on many other inspirational sources, which in my opinion made the content richer. And while this wasn't really meant as an in depth exploration on the role of silence in life, I did find it a little too pat at times. As a memoir, it was beautifully written in descriptive language that was evocative and drew me in. It certainly made me question the "noise" in my own life, and gave me a place to explore from. She suggests that we ought to ask ourselves three questions prior to speaking: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Good advice that may eliminate much chatter. On the whole a satisfying read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    Anne D. LeClaire's book on silence truly spoke to me. I had been thinking about the amount of noise in my life for some time--TVs, computers, people, cars, radios, iPods, etc. and when I saw this book at the library I was drawn to it. The book talks about LeClaire's almost 20 year practice of silence and how the practice has transformed her life and the lives of those around her. There are so many nuggets of brilliance that I wanted to underline, highlight and make notes about that I am planning Anne D. LeClaire's book on silence truly spoke to me. I had been thinking about the amount of noise in my life for some time--TVs, computers, people, cars, radios, iPods, etc. and when I saw this book at the library I was drawn to it. The book talks about LeClaire's almost 20 year practice of silence and how the practice has transformed her life and the lives of those around her. There are so many nuggets of brilliance that I wanted to underline, highlight and make notes about that I am planning on purchasing the book for myself so I can reread it whenever I want and highlight those sentences that speak to me the most. I also just finished my first 24 hours of silence and loved it . . . planning on having a day of silence every other week.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a thought provoking book. The author has practiced silence 2 days a month for over 15 years and wrote about the experience. She references Ann Lindbergh's, Gifts from the Sea, and I felt the same reading both books. Silence is used for all different reasons and provokes much thought when used in my life. Reading it created some angst when I realized how silence has shaped my life for both positive and negative ways. Although I am not going to adopt her exact practice, I have turned off t This is a thought provoking book. The author has practiced silence 2 days a month for over 15 years and wrote about the experience. She references Ann Lindbergh's, Gifts from the Sea, and I felt the same reading both books. Silence is used for all different reasons and provokes much thought when used in my life. Reading it created some angst when I realized how silence has shaped my life for both positive and negative ways. Although I am not going to adopt her exact practice, I have turned off the TV and CD player more often since reading this and I am going to try a 2 hour block of silence each day while I attend to daily home tasks. I still have not processed all the feelings this brought up for me but I love that it has gotten me to think about silence in my life!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    For the past 17 years the author, a novelist and former reporter, spends 2 Mondays a month being silent. During her silent days she concentrates on being aware of things around her and aware of her own thoughts and feelings. She has expanded beyond the two days a month to occasional weeks of solitude and she teaches the concepts at seminars now. She has some interesting points, and spends a fair amount of time figuring out why silence is so unusual in our culture today...and why so many people a For the past 17 years the author, a novelist and former reporter, spends 2 Mondays a month being silent. During her silent days she concentrates on being aware of things around her and aware of her own thoughts and feelings. She has expanded beyond the two days a month to occasional weeks of solitude and she teaches the concepts at seminars now. She has some interesting points, and spends a fair amount of time figuring out why silence is so unusual in our culture today...and why so many people are unable to accept it, including sometimes her own family members and even once in awhile herself. It would be an interesting experiment if I were brave enough to try it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a book club book and so often I buy them and then don't finish them, so this time I got it from the library. Now I wish I had purchased this book. There were so many things i wanted to underline. I don't know if it is the timing of this book at a time when I am alone during the day more but something in it really spoke to me. I am realizing the need for more silence in my life. LeClaire talks about our hectic, overscheduled lives and noise in our s I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a book club book and so often I buy them and then don't finish them, so this time I got it from the library. Now I wish I had purchased this book. There were so many things i wanted to underline. I don't know if it is the timing of this book at a time when I am alone during the day more but something in it really spoke to me. I am realizing the need for more silence in my life. LeClaire talks about our hectic, overscheduled lives and noise in our society. Now I am inspired t find ways to reduce noise and spend moments in solitude in my own daily life to contemplate and restore and heal.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Neale

    I was visiting Chatham and found this book at a quaint new and used bookstore. The timing was perfect because I was seeking some quiet. The author writes of her journey to set aside one day a week to be completely silent. In this deliberate endeavor, she finds solace, healing, and also struggles with truths about her life that swim to the surface of her conscience. There are poignant quotes about silence, spirituality, and nature throughout the book, as well. At times, I heard the certain refrai I was visiting Chatham and found this book at a quaint new and used bookstore. The timing was perfect because I was seeking some quiet. The author writes of her journey to set aside one day a week to be completely silent. In this deliberate endeavor, she finds solace, healing, and also struggles with truths about her life that swim to the surface of her conscience. There are poignant quotes about silence, spirituality, and nature throughout the book, as well. At times, I heard the certain refrain of the whine of a privileged middle-class woman writer who lives on the Cape, but her writing is lyrical and she shares her vulnerability in giving us this important message of being still.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rita Ciresi

    I read this book while on a retreat, and I could identify with the author's desire to block out the noise of everyday living and find herself in the practice of silence. Le Claire describes her personal journey to embrace silence and the challenges she faced from her family and friends who did not always understand her desire to remain quiet. After reading this book, I am inspired to go on a silent retreat, and I can't wait to dive into some of the books that Le Claire recommends (there is a ver I read this book while on a retreat, and I could identify with the author's desire to block out the noise of everyday living and find herself in the practice of silence. Le Claire describes her personal journey to embrace silence and the challenges she faced from her family and friends who did not always understand her desire to remain quiet. After reading this book, I am inspired to go on a silent retreat, and I can't wait to dive into some of the books that Le Claire recommends (there is a very valuable reading list at the back of this memoir). I highly recommend Listening Below the Noise and think it would make a great book club selection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Sevigny

    After choosing silence every second Monday for 17 years, Anne D. LeClaire shares her thoughts, experiences and frustrations about the practice, and something that will be prepare me for my own experimentation with silence. "My experience​ was intensified because my silence was by commitment, not by accident of circumstance." -- LeClaire. Beautiful words, vulnerable insights. After choosing silence every second Monday for 17 years, Anne D. LeClaire shares her thoughts, experiences and frustrations about the practice, and something that will be prepare me for my own experimentation with silence. "My experience​ was intensified because my silence was by commitment, not by accident of circumstance." -- LeClaire. Beautiful words, vulnerable insights.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna Kafel

    I borrowed this book from the library but will be buying it as I will refer to it from time to time. In simple heart-felt language Anne Leclaire shares her experience of what the impact of practicing intentional silence has done to her spirit. Through sharing how soul-feeding her experience has been, Leclaire has moved me to regularly practice intentional silence.

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