Book Talk

13 Feb

I found this interesting article http://harvardmagazine.com/breaking-news/orhan-pamuk-norton-lectures-report

The writer concludes by saying a book can become a part of one’s soul. I agree.

But I have another proposition. Academics, like me on Sundays 😉 , are taught to read and re-read, to write and revise – and revise and revise and revise. To deconstruct, to compare, to contrast, to parallel, to liken. Still, I think – yes, even with the sentimentalisch side of me – that it is possible to ‘recognise’ a book. That even before a book becomes a part of one’s soul, one recognises a part of one’s soul in the book.

The first time I read an excellent work, it is to me just as if I gained a new friend; and when I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting of an old one…

That’s Oliver Goldsmith on books. When I was in school, I decided to write about reading as my favourite thing to do, for a composition. I remember writing then of what I still enjoy experiencing now in my reading rambles, of the joy in

… recognising the germ of your idea, having taken root and grown in someone else’s mind.

And there is that almost kinesthetic subsumption of the reading material. Like you have done that before, and you know the perceptions, the senses, the feelings that correspond to that thing you encounter in the book. More present than déjà vu.

Most often, for me, this is an idea, a worldview, a framework of analysis of a certain action, emotion, interaction – and I instinctively recognise where the author is coming from. I am tempted to say it is a comfortable feeling – but it isn’t, always. Sometimes it is distinctly uncomfortable. C.S. Lewis, for instance, can have that effect on me. An old, familiar ideal that I have forgotten to uphold. Or a new, yet-strangely-familiar ideal that I wonder why I have not thus far espoused. So I cannot relinquish this feeling to familiarity merely.

Bible study, Bible, the word of God, soul-searching, conversation, friendship, books, literary criticism, book, books, reading, read, favourite books, favorite books, God, Bible reading,

But in fact, C.S. Lewis acknowledged this hankering in us for books ‘on our side’. This kindred spirit process in our reading choice. He wrote that

We read to know we are not alone.

For in this ‘inside’ interaction that some books manage to have with you, there is that essence of true conversation. It is almost hard to pretend that the book with which you are having the conversation in your head is not present in the room. Some novels do this to me. I found this fantastic – and telling – quote that Anne Frank scribbled, in her diary:

If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.

It makes me laugh :D. It is so true… But then again, there are some books you do not want to ‘take yourself in hand’ about. You know the product of your conversation is not only a better you, but a more real you… a you that is more yourself, than any other. In that light, as books go, the Bible is my biggest source of ‘conversation’. I want it to be, and I wouldn’t change that. That is the best conversation I’ve had and it isn’t over yet. But hey, I think that book was designed to be.

Bible, quiet time, Bible reading, Bible study, conversation with God, conversation, God, hearing, faith, the word of God, the Word, Rhema, logos, Word, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Spirit, listening to God, taking time off,

I love this moment

Now – before you begin to think my mind is rather queer 😀 – go ahead! Go have some fantastic ‘conversations’ yourself 😉 – and I would be honoured if, some day, you tell me about them.

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2 Responses to “Book Talk”

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  2. Obedience | eccedominus - February 26, 2011

    […] poetry today. This little treasure:  http://lucishaw.com/poetry_obedience.html. It is always such a delight to find soul that one can befriend in writing. I have had moments like Luci Shaw’s in that […]

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