Sunday, February 29, 2004

Gettin' "Religion"

I went and worshipped at the house of books this morning. I can think of nothing better to do on a Sunday morning then to spend time in the presence of something greater than myself. Bookstores and libraries are my churches and temples, they inspire in me a feeling of awe and wonder. The only time I have ever felt anything akin to religious ecstasy or the "presence of God" has been in the outdoors or reading a book. In fact the most transcendental experience I ever had was reading a book (I think it was The Mammoth Hunters of all things) outdoors in the backyard of my childhood home and finishing it just as the sun was setting. I was infused with a sense of wholeness and wonder, the sky was gorgeous and everything was right with me and the world. It lasted only a few minutes, my reverie interrupted by my mom calling me in to dinner, but it was long enough to cement forever my worship of books and nature. My dearest and I went to Half Price Books taking with us a few books but also two bags of VHS video tapes to sell. Who wants video tapes when there are DVDs to be had? With all those tapes we managed a sizable credit. And the fun began. I found a knitting book to add to my collection (I am a knitting book junkie. I have more knitting books than one person could ever possibly need but I can't help myself. I do knit in case anyone was wondering, so this habit is not entirely unfounded). I found a decent copy of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. The book "explores the relationship of fact and fabulation and the antagonism between history and love." Plus it has a revisionist account of Noah's ark, a sneak preview of heaven (the closest I'll probably get after writing this post) and a trial of woodworms for blasphemy in 16th century France. How can this not be an interesting book? Thanks to a passionate post about William Gaddis at The Reading Experience, I picked up a copy of JR, a "raucous look at money and its influence, at love and its absence, at success and its failures." And finally, the best kind of book there is, an interesting find. These are the books you don't know even exist and you just happen to find them. Today I found, or rather it found me, Paths of Resistance: The Art and Craft of the Political Novel edited by William Zinsser. This little gem is "five masters of the political novel explain[ing] how their writing is impelled by a sense of social responsibility." Who are the five masters? Isabel Allende, Charles McCarry, Marge Piercy, Robert Stone and Gore Vidal. This one goes on top of my teetering bedside pile. Gotta go, I've got lots of worshipping to do!