Copyright © 2009 by Raymond M.
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Praise for Rambles Through My Library:
new book Rambles Through My Library is a “gem.” Thank you for
providing me with many ideas to ponder. In this brief note, I’ll just
mention a few before I have to return the book to the Haines Falls
was a section that completely overwhelmed me; I say “overwhelmed”
because I have “thought” it many times. I cannot find the words to
express the effect it had on me to see it in print. I refer to the section
on Samuel Johnson, page 52, the passage that begins “It is not easy to
make allowance…” When my daughter was being operated on for breast
cancer I wrote in my journal of a feeling of complete unity with suffering
in the world. The strange thing was that this feeling was not
oppressive…I seemed to be O.K with it. It is part of human nature, I
guess, to push these things away in good times but I sometimes yearn for
that feeling of solidarity with all suffering, inasmuch as I felt most
human then. The biggest danger we face in this regard is becoming inured
to human suffering and that’s easy in this society.
enjoyed all your references to book collecting. I just collect randomly
what interests me and have discovered several wonderful used book places
not too far from here. I know what you mean when you speak of one book
that references another. It’s a little like a treasure hunt, isn’t it?
I felt that way when I read May Sarton’s journals and she spoke of
Florida Scott Maxwell. I immediately purchased The Measure of My Days
and loved it, which reminds me, I am due to re-read it…again!
a lighter vein, I was particularly happy to find a passage which I intend
to cite emphatically and often to my adult children: It’s the one about
having your books surround you, especially where you sleep and reaching
for them whenever. I sometimes also enjoy misplacing a certain favorite
and having to “hunt” for it. When I find it, it is as though I have
never had it in my hands before and I have discovered the greatest
treasure. I may even do this
subconsciously. It’s fun!
family is constantly berating me for my excess of books and the casual way
in which I “store” them, that is to say that I don’t have any
pattern, they are all over the place. They land where they may and they
stay there until they again get my attention. I read your passage over and
over again, happily visualized it and took utter delight in the phrase,
“play with the books.” On many a sleepless night, that is exactly what
I do! Thanks to you, I now feel utterly justified in my haphazard and
illogical storage methods.
an overabundance of books (is there such a thing?) leads to the
guilt-producing question of ever being able to read them all. But that is
the most seductive part of collecting. You never know when you will just
by random browsing happen upon that one little passage that speaks to your
soul, maybe a passage that you formerly read but never properly heeded or
maybe an old familiar passage you can never forget. From browsing in my
father’s books, one sentence comes to mind, namely, “There are no
punishments, there are only consequences.”
My father was a lifelong admirer and collector of the books of
Robert Ingersoll, the post Civil War freethinker and orator. This sentence
shaped my adult perceptions of “cause and effect” and I believe it led
me to the belief system I hold today. It took a long time to get there
though... I’m in my late 60’s! It’s curious, though, how some things
we read in our youth do not manifest until later... sometimes “much”
later. Today my practice is the Buddhist Five Remembrances.
closing, I like what you have to say about idleness. It reminds me of
Pascal’s quote that “all the troubles of man stem from his
inability to sit quietly in a room.” I think the older I become, the
more I understand the wisdom of those words.
Smullyan, even though the Bible says you cannot be a prophet in your own
land, in your case, an exception should be made for Elka Park Land. There
are those of us in Elka Park who read you and love what we read!
Elka Park Neighbor,
Tel (610) 524-0304 Fax
Copyright 2009 by Praxis