Saturday, July 11, 2009

in search of reading material

It is a quiet Saturday afternoon. My wife is doing some design work at a home across town. Our younger daughter is shopping with a friend, although, due to modern technology, I know the balance of her bank account, so I have little worry. Call it a social activity. The three of us had lunch at Azteca, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Charlotte (it is located on Independence; order the homemade Guacamole; as my friend Bob Tuttle would say, I just did you a favor). I then stopped by to visit friends who are in the latter stages of a chronic illness.

My Saturday morning tasks had been to 1) complete the sermon 2) catch up on a week's worth of e-mail and 3) go through the mail and voice mail. It is obvious that the volume of email (358 messages) is swamping the mail (one personal letter, two form letters, three publications) and voicemail (four phone calls, two of whom had tracked me down later on the cell phone). The sermon is mostly there. It is basically finished, but needs a deletion here and an expansion there. I also wanted to stop by to see one of our associate pastors and her husband; she gave birth to a baby this week, and Pam and I peeked in. It was a good visit. Ours are now 23 and 20. It seems a blur.

Then to Azteca. We are at the stage where a meal with more than the two of us is rare, so it is a treat. And then, after another visit, home.

One of my mental "to-do" items was to go through our older daughter's book collection, in search of something to read during the latter part of July. I have been on something of a fiction binge lately: Cormac McCarthy's All The Pretty Horses, Ron Rash's Serena, Clyde Edgerton's The Bible Salesman. I cannot quite bring myself to take on the next volume in McCarthy's Border Trilogy, and IOur daughter Liz was a voracious reader in high school; she had read all of Faulkner prior to graduation, and she also got me into reading Murakami, the Japanese novelist. Sure enough, I found all of these works. Sadly, I am reaching the place in life where our family book collection is more substantial than that of most bookstores; I am not exaggerating, and, before you express the thought, I have given thousands of books away (to younger seminarians, to the libraries of Huntingdon College and Hood Theological Seminary, to our church library, and to friends). I am not attempting to magnify any kind of altruism, simply confessing publically our inability to restrain ourselves in the purchase of books.

So many books, and yet, what to read? I will settle on something, maybe the short stories of Alice Munro, and Robertson Davies' The Cunning Man, which I have not completed, and perhaps Wallace Stegner's The Spectator Bird, which I also began years ago, and need to return to.


Blogger foxofbama said...

Stay with Cormac McCarthy.
Find Hal Crowther's essay on him in Cathedrals of Kudzu, and Crowther on Marshall Frady in Gather at The River.

About page 331 of 2nd of the Trilogy, the Crossing McCarthy says:
"For the enmity of the world was newly plain to him that day, and cold and inameliorate as it must be for all those who no longer have cause except themselves to stand against it."

Tim Tyson has an essay on Gaffney you must read in Jumpin Jim Crow.
I have had those days with no longer cause, and I imagine you and Tyson have as well.
Tell your folks at church about Satchel Paige, Joe Dimaggio and Yaz.
Great stories from the new Larry Tye book.

6:47 PM  

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