Since writing the first entry about summer reading projects, I’ve made a little progress. The Imperial Eunice garden has its first planted bed, I wrote an article about it (forthcoming in the American Community Garden Association’s Community Greening Review 2013) and drafted another one about what we know from books in libraries. During the move to the green cottage in Eunice, I seem to have lost a book I promised to review for the fall.
But I ordered several more, in my ongoing life of learning, following Joni Mitchell’s famous line “Life is for learning” (if it’s not famous, it should be). She forgot to say how fascinating the journey is. Recently I discovered the writer Alberto Manguel, whose title The Library at Night convinced me to order it. Yet the first line almost made me put the book away, as it assumed that theology was a minor blip in the history of human thought and that everyone knows that the universe seems to have no meaning nor purpose.
But rather than hurl the book across the room,* remember that “learning” involves studying what one disagrees with. Relaxed with cats and a book before going to sleep, still I could drop my own limits and meet the author Manguel in his book, in his own library (of which he provided a picture), and reaffirm the value of paper books to provide the connections he discovers as he meditates on the mingling of authors in the library at night.
How do you know who you are if you don’t know anyone else? Books allow that knowledge.
*Texas concealed-carry fans, take note:
“on Sept. 2, 1921, in Los Angeles: Standing at the corner of American Avenue and East Ocean Boulevard, R. L. Grant was approached by his estranged wife, who proceeded to “pull an automatic pistol from the folds of her dress.” The Los Angeles Times reported: “As he saw his wife about to shoot, Grant hurled a book at her hand. His aim was accurate and probably saved his life.” Yet another reason, I suppose, to carry a concealed book at all times.”
James McWilliams, in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, July 5, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/books/review/clunkers.html?nl=books&emc=edit_bk_20130705