Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

December 01, 2004

Books, Books, Books!

I’'m a reader, as you may have noticed by now. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of times spent with good books. I can remember sitting on the rocker of my back porch on fine summer days and reading Dickens, Bradbury, Wells, Verne, and Shakespeare. Those are fond memories that only another reader can truly understand.

Sometimes, even these days, people tell me I read too much. Every reader has heard this at one time or another. All that "book-learnin" addles the brain, ruins the eyes, and turns into an anti-social loner.

To which I say with deep regret, "Oh well . . ."

My lovely friend, Carol, who is as sweet as any person I’ve ever met, laughs whenever I buy a new book. Haven’'t you got enough books, she asks. As if books were like spoons or cars, and there was a certain number of them it was reasonable to possess, and to possess more than that is absurd or perhaps even fetishistic.

I’m usually reading several books at once, which also amazes my friends, although I’m not sure why. Right now I’m slowly making my way through William DeArteaga’s Quenching the Spirit, which is an historical examination of "centuries of opposition to the moving of the Holy Spirit." That’s a topic not often dealt with by historians, and it has enlarged my understanding.

The Long Truce is a heady book of philosophy examining the idea of toleration in Western thought. It’s author, A. B. Conyers, who died in the past year or so, is intensely well-read (no doubt and anti-social loner, him) and I have to admit that this book deserves a closer reading than I am giving it, but I just don’t think I want to go too far down that aisle marked "Philosophy," for fear I should never return to daylight and whimsy.

And I’ve just begun reading The Call, by Os Guinness. This one is ostensibly about purpose (the subject of another recent book, I seem to recall– -- heh heh!), or more precisely, "calling." I think I’m going to like this book. Scratch that. I think I’m going to treasure this book. This is one I do want to engage with on a deep level, and so I expect "calling" to be the subject a more than a few posts here at Mr. Standfast. Expect copious quotations.

Finally, a book arrived in the mail yesterday from This came as a surprise to me, since I haven’t purchased anything from them lately. Lo and behold, it was a gift from my dear brother, way out there in Nebraskaland. Brent knows how much emotional investment I've made in the Boston Red Sox over the years (did I mention they won the World Series this year?), and sent me Stephen King’'s Faithful, which is a chronicle of the momentous 2004 season. Ah, that’s enough to drive away the chill of a Maine winter for sure. I have a good a brother, don’t I?


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