once again, i have the philly free library podcast to thank for this one. i was floored by the talk and had it on my list for a minute. it caused a stir when i had it in tow at the play reading group that one tuesday that dance was on break. it may be the second most important religious text that i’ve ever read, the first being the last testament of the holy bible by james frey. physically, i was noting the feel of the paper, and towards the end, a discussion arises about books being worth the paper they’re printed on. huh.
“Our favorite secular books do not alert us to how inadequate a one-off linear reading of them will prove. They do not identify the particular days of the year on which we ought to reconsider them, as the holy books do-in the latter case with 200 others around us and an organ playing in the background. There is arguably as much wisdom to be found in the stories of Anton Checkov as in the Gospels, but collections of the former are not bound with calendars reminding readers to schedule a regular review of their insights. We would face grave accusations of eccentricity if we attempted to construct liturgies from the works of secular authors. At best, we haphazardly underline a few of the sentences that we most admire in them and which we may once in a while chance upon in an idle moment waiting for a taxi.” (135)
“If we lament our book-swamped age, it is because we sense that it is not by reading more, but by deepening and refreshing our understanding of a few volumes that we best develop our intelligence and our sensitivity. We feel guilty for all that we have not yet read, but overlook how much better read we already are than Augustine or Dante, thereby ignoring that our problem lies squarely with our manner of absorption rather than with the extent of our consumption.” (139)