Sunday, August 07, 2011

Stacks of books

On our coffee table at home, J and I each have a stack of books we're currently reading. The two stacks often are wildly different from one another. Curiously, at the moment, the top books on both stacks are lovely Penguin Classics editions of novels written in the 1800s: Austen's Pride and Prejudice on J's stack, and Bronte's Jane Eyre on mine.

Such gorgeous (and very wordy) descriptions abound in these novels, and in the dialogues, characters take a long time to say what they mean. We don't write or speak like that anymore; reading Bronte has made it impossibly funny to interpret text messages I've begun to receive as people gradually make their way back to campus from summer vacations.

Underneath the Penguin Classics, we have other wonderful books:
Martin Geck's biography, Johann Sebastian Bach: life and work
Robert Greenleaf's Servant Leadership
Mary Oliver's poems, Blue Iris
Katharine Jefferts Schori's The Heartbeat of God
Stephen Prothero's Religious Literacy
Wendell Berry's Leavings

Many of these books came from our recent visit to Elliott Bay Books in Seattle, the biggest independent bookstore I've ever seen. I visited it most every day we were on our trip, and successfully lost myself in the abundance.

This summer, I'm having some tough headaches, along with lack of concentration -- especially in the evenings. And then there's the matter of older eyes. To think I used to stay up reading till nearly midnight! It's hard to make it past 8:30 now. Yet why dare I complain? We do, after all, have the gift of our sight.

If I ever get to retire (!) maybe I should find a place where I might read aloud to those unable to read themselves. That, too, would be abundance.

Good night, gentle reader.