Monday, July 03, 2006

For the love of books

Oooo, had a lot of fun over the weekend with a new Web widget recommended by Kindli. (I must have missed the Christian Science Monitor article last November.) It’s a site called LibraryThing, and it allows you to amass your own bookshelf, and then see who else has the same books you do.

This is a dream come true to me. The site is incredibly well-designed and so easy to use, I got up and running in about two minutes, but then spent the next two hours on it. I love books, love to talk about books, love to collect books. And to look at this site, I’m not alone.

What is it about books? I know there was angst about the computer and Internet making us lose interest in books, but walk into any Barnes & Noble and you can see there’s no problem with the variety of books still being published. And I’m still a big buyer. Amazon is my favorite source—when I can afford little else, I still get a quarterly shipment of new books. I’ve got to own the things. I tried the actual library for a while, but when I liked a book it was physically painful to have to part with it.

So this Website allows me to indulge my obsession a bit more, and to go on record with my selections. You’ll see a new feature in my right navigation powered by LibraryThing: images from my own bookshelf appearing randomly (sometimes it takes a second to download). I love it!

I think books will never go out of style because they are still the best way to share ideas on a large scale. I may spend a lot of time online, but I’m not going to read a biography or novel by computer screen. For that, I have to curl up on my couch and forget the rest of the world. Books remain the best way to do that.

I love this sentiment by Mary Baker Eddy, woven into her larger discussion about the spirits of the dead communicating with us:

Chaucer wrote centuries ago, yet we still read his thought in his verse. What is classic study, but discernment of the minds of Homer and Virgil, of whose personal existence we may be in doubt?

Reading the author’s thought. That’s what we’re doing when we read books. The author could be long gone, such as Jane Austen, or just an ocean away, such as J.K. Rowling. Yet their books give us just as present a picture of their imagination, their values, their conclusions about humanity. And where else could we glean the wisdom of the ages than from books such as the Bible, Augustine’s confessions, John Donne’s poems?

Of course, the art of articulating what’s on one’s mind verbally, otherwise known as “writing,” is an art close to my heart. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and apparently there’s no stopping me. One of my dreams would be to have a book of mine join the LibraryThing shelves some day.

Here in the US, it’s a holiday weekend, and for once beautiful weather in New England, so I may tear myself away from screen and page to take a walk. I hope you’re all having a great Monday.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 7/03/2006 06:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, I understand well where you are up to in your desire to read lots. I have been there myself. But now it is different:

When I first started to read Science & Health about eight years ago because my need was very great, I gave away my whole library because I understood that only into empty vessels could Truth enter. I wanted to be really receptive and let go of the old.
Now I find when I am reading something else (anything not of God), it doesn’t really ‘taste’ good! So I have naturally let go of it, like maybe an alcoholic of his bottle. I know that mortal mind likes entertainment. If nothing else is available, it is happy enough if I read spiritual journals and articles superficially and lots of it. The main thing I don’t stop and enter the inner stillness where God resides and His Voice can be heard clearly. Amen.

At 7/04/2006 08:47:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Veronika,

yes, I know what you mean. I too spent a phase on just spiritual literature, it was just before and in my early years in the practice. that lasted about 3-4 years I think.

then I began to work with people who were earnestly trying to heal the world, and I found I was grossly uninformed! so I picked up my love of reading again.

I find reading broadens my mind and helps me to understand others. it's beyond entertainment to me, it's about deepening my commitment to helping the world.

At 7/07/2006 11:28:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

thanks for recommending this cool site! I'm on it as well.

Books to me represent the thoughts of mankind. I can connect with worlds of people through books and because of that, I think, I can become a more compassionate pray-er for the world.


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