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Faces on Faith: So many books, so little time

By Staff | Jun 17, 2015

Maybe you have the same problem I have. Too many books, too little time!

My good wife is constantly wondering why I take books out of the library on a regular basis when I already have several piles waiting to be read at home and at the office. (Truth be told, I am a regular patron of two libraries, and a card holder at two more!)

My stack at home is largely fiction. Novels I have been given (or occasionally have purchased for myself) waiting for the mood to strike. Which doesn’t mean I don’t read much fiction.

I do. Lots of it. Most of those books checked out from the Sanibel Library or the Lakes Regional Library in Fort Myers are novels.

I have three of them at home right now. Sara Gruen’s latest, At Water’s Edge, Jodi Picoult’s most recent volume, Leaving Time and a real gem that I’ve almost finished, Marilynne Robinson’s Lila. (Robinson is such a fine writer!)

Here at work I have three stacks. The books are mostly ones that have been given to me.

Some have been written by parishioners or their offspring. I’ve got one by a parishioner that I keep intending to get to called A Nation of Sheep. He’s a lovely fellow, and a thoughtful human being.

I may not agree with some of what he has to say, but I suspect it will be very well thought out. I’ve got one by the son of other parishioners called Far Away.

He’s a good writer–I’ve read one of his other books. I keep stalling though on this one as it’s about human trafficking. I suspect it will be tough sledding.

The stacks also include a variety of things I want to read for professional reasons.

Parker Palmer’s healing the Heart of Democracy, for instance. I’ve dipped into it a bit, and as usual, Palmer is extremely trenchant.

“When we hold our suffering in a way that opens us to greater compassion,” he writes at one point, “heartbreak becomes a source of healing, deepening out empathy . . . .” (22)

Good stuff! But wait, there’s more! Aging Well, by George Vaillant, The (Un)common Good by Jim Wallis, and the list goes on!

And then there is the stack for my upcoming sabbatical.

Books related to my work on the abolition movement. I’ll be focusing especially on John Quincy Adams and his role in the anti-slavery movement, so Harlow Unger’s biography of Adams is on the pile.

But so is Frederick Douglas’ autobiography.

One of the greatest pleasures in life, for me, is reading. In fact, I can’t imagine life without books. And maybe that’s why I have so many stacked up waiting to be read.

Maybe subconsciously I believe that as long as I’ve got at least one more book to read, I’ll live to see another day.

Instead of the fountain of youth, I’ve got a bookcase of youth.