Friday, August 17, 2012

On Reading

In a conversation with a fellow book lover, soon after pleasantries, there is always the inevitable question, "So what are you reading?" This is old, familiar, comfortable ground. This is just what I wanted to talk about. And a true book lover is inevitably reading something I want to go and find myself. I leave each conversation with a library list.

Book lovers keep to another well-worn path. One, who claimed to be a bad reader (a claim I know to be false), told me he never read Shelby Foote's novels because he had learned Foote was good friends with Walker Percy and that launched a complete reading of Walker Percy. This is how it goes. Thomas Merton, who wrote The Seven Storey Mountain, comes recommended,in part, because he was a friend of C.S. Lewis.

I'm making slow but steady progress on my book list for the year. Reading Money Saving Mom the other day I was discouraged by the numbers, then tempted to turn up my nose. "Well, of course you can read more than twice as many books as me if that's what you read." But, aside from the Bible, it doesn't really matter. I have seven books on this year's reading list over 700 pages. As of August that seems too ambitious. Playing the comparison game I was tempted to count each as three or four books. But it doesn't really matter whether I reckon them as seven or 21. I chose Shelby Foote not for the 700 pages, but because I was interested, and his Civil War Trilogy was highly recommended. And if I read Foote, then I'll want a Walker Percy volume to go along with it.

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