Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Passion for Books

We use books like mirrors, gazing into them only to discover ourselves
. - Joseph Epstein

When I get a little money, I buy books; and if there is any left I buy food and clothes. - Desiderius Erasmus

I found a fun book at Goodwill a few days ago: A Passion for Books, by Terry Glaspey. It's a collection of quotes on books, and musings by the author on the love of books. It isn't very long, and I promptly devoured it in one reading :). It was a delightfully light read, and only other bibliophiles can understand reading a book about books, probably. Some of my friends would give me a confused look if I explained the contents of the book. There's no plot? It's just about books? But I figured some of my blogging, bibliophile friends could relate :).

I have to take issue with Goodwill, though. I remember a time in the recent past when all their paperbacks were 50 cents, and Mother Dear recalls when they were only a quarter in my lifetime. Now their paperbacks are $1.50 and their hardbacks are $2.50! It makes me all the more careful when choosing books to buy, though Father Dear would say not careful enough ;). He doesn't quite understand my desire to constantly add to my library. Hehe.

If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying. - John Ruskin

Yesterday Hannah had to drive down to UGA (an hour SE of us) to buy books for the coming semester, and I tagged along. Now, I would like to truthfully say that the only reason was to keep her company, but while that was part of the reason, I did have a few ulterior motives.

There is a thrift store halfway to Athens that has paperbacks for 25 cents and hardbacks for 75 cents :-D. I always seem to be able to find some theological books there, as well. Unfortunately Presbyterians (or other reformed folk) don't seem to be frequent donors at the store ;), but I love to learn from my Baptist brothers as well. Yesterday I found a set of 1950's Baptist hardbacks that were designed for Sunday School teacher trainining. Some of them were topical, while others covered books of the Bible. I also found a copy of Rabbi Kushner's infamous book Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, which should prove an interesting read. I found a hardback Miss Read book also. I've found one other one before, and I know someone has recommended them, but I can't remember who. Anyone care to review Miss Read for me?

The other reason I tagged along with Hannah was because a few months ago she and a few friends found a used bookstore in Athens that she knew I would love. It was filled mainly with older hardbacks, of every subject known to man. I would have drooled had it not been unladylike. The books at the store were higher priced than Goodwill, which I expected, so I came mainly to browse and just spend time with the books, rather than actually make purchases.

I did end up buying one book, though: a 1902 copy of The First Christmas, by Lew Wallace. The First Christmas is the first section in Wallace's more famous work, Ben-Hur, which believe it or not, I have not read yet. *ashamed look* Lew Wallace originally wrote just the story of the Wiseman, stopping the tale in Bethlehem, but later extended the story - and aren't we glad he did! I'm already a good bit of the way through the book and quite enjoying it; I'm sure I will have to continue and read Ben-Hur next! The copy of The First Christmas I bought is beautiful. The binding is a pretty shade of purple, and the lettering is embossed in gold, as is a beautiful six-petaled floral design on the front. Inside there are also four plates of paintings, each covered delicately by a tissue for protection. On each page are border sketches that embellish the words on the page. I thought $10 was actually a decent price for such a treasure :). Of course, Blogger is once again not allowing me to upload pictures, but notice that it did work long enough for the apron picture and for a profile picture change ;).

School starts tomorrow, which means less time to read and less time to browse bookstores. The latter is probably best; the former rather sad :(. I have been better the last few weeks about reading more swiftly, though. Sometimes I can take forever to read a book! And though my reading time may be limited, I'll still be reading because it is part of my livelihood.

Thoughtful minds make little use of this expression: the happy and the unhappy. In this world, clearly the vestibule of another, no one is happy.

The true division of humanity is this: the luminous and the dark.

To diminish the number of the dark, to increase the number of the luminous, there is the aim. That is why we cry: education, knowledge! To learn to read is to kindle a fire; every syllable spelled sparkles.

But whoever says light does not necessarily say joy. There is suffering in the light; an excess burns. Flame is hostile to the wing. To burn and yet to fly, this is the miracle of genius.

When you know and when you love you will still suffer. The day dawns in tears. The luminous weep, be it only over the dark ones.

- Les Miserables. Saint-Denis. Book Seven. Chapter One.


Ashley said...

You should come to the Goodwill near me. I'm pretty sure the softback books there were only 75 cents. I have started to build my Narnia collection (in the correct order).

I love books, but I see that love has faded a bit these past couple of years. It hasn't been practical at all to have many books when I have been in transistion. I think also having to read so much for classes in college kept me from spending a lot of time in books for pleasure.

By the way, I am still waiting to see pictures from my wedding. :-) You can use my web server if Blogger is still being annoying. You can use my web server for any pictures, actually. Let me know.

Jessie said...

(I haven't read your whole post yet, but I wanted to tell you that in addition to reading When Bad Things Happen to Good People, be sure to check out Asaph's When Good Things Happen to Bad People. ; ) )

zan said...

Ben-hur is a good read. Very different from the movie.

Anna Naomi said...

I really like your new picture! So pretty!

Susan said...


Are you collecting a certain edition of post-wardrobe orderology books? I know of two printings that have the correct order :).

Mother Dear just e-mailed you pictures, but let us know if you'd rather us give them to you another way, be it through your web server or whatever. You will have to walk us through anything else, though ;).


Very good scripture reference! Really the issue comes down to our view of the basic goodness (or depravity) of man and also our view of origins and the fall, does it not? Ken Ham and AIG do such a good job expounding on this subject!

John Dekker said...

Well, I certainly recognise the name Terry Glaspey. He also wrote Great Books of the Christian Tradition, which I have found to be both useful and enjoyable.

Jessica said...

The books at the store were higher priced than Goodwill, which I expected, so I came mainly to browse and just spend time with the books, rather than actually make purchases.

I can entirely relate...that's mostly what I use Barnes & Noble for too since their books are usually SO expensive! Fun post!

Sherrin said...

I like your new profile picture - although I liked your last one too! You look more sophistocated in this one. I want to change mine soon.

I enjoyed reading of your book adventures. I actually get physical thrills up my spine when I go to book stores, which seems strange to me. Do you have the same thing happen to you?

Susan said...

Yes, I get thrills down my spine as well! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

I know I haven't been around much, so you can (perhaps grudgingly) welcome me back. ;-)]

Anyhoo. I can recommend Miss Read. Mom read some of it out loud to me, and it has that perfect British humor that she likes so well.

Liked your Les Mis quote, too. Great book.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I know I haven't been around much

That was the understatement of the year ;). Okay, I agree to welcome you back. I'll even do it non-grudgingly, since I'm so nice :).

It's nice to know that someone recommends Miss Read, since I now have two of her books. I still cannot remember who first recommended them to me, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't you. Ah well.