book bliss

Books, books, books!
I had found the secret of a garret-room
Piled high, packed large,–where, creeping in and out
Among the giant fossils of my past,
Like some small nimble mouse between the ribs
Of a mastadon, I nibbled here and there
At this or that box, pulling through the gap,
In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy,
The first book first. And how I felt it beat
Under my pillow, in the morning’s dark,
An hour before the sun would let me read!
My books!

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

After living over a month in Carrollton, it was high time I secured a library card for the Carrollton Public Library.  I hoped for the best selection possible, but I found out it will be hard to beat Fort Worth’s massive inter-library loan system.  Tapping into Dallas’s undoubted motherlode of public books would be the ultimate treat, but I’ve been told only Dallas residents are allowed to get a card there.  Something about the people who pay the taxes benefiting from the city’s resources.  Blah, blah, blah.  I know now I’ll have to contrive some way of getting a Plano library card, with which I think I can tunnel my way to Dallas’s shelves as well, because, if you haven’t guessed, Carrollton just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

However, I came away from my local library with five books that were not on my “Soon to be Reading…” list:

How Reading Changed My Life (Anna Quindlen) — Anna Quindlen can be a lot of fun to read, and who can resist a book by that title?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard) — Since the library had it, I figured I better read it, since it’s Dillard’s most talked-about book.  Annie Dillard is just so brilliant.  I loved her autobiography, An American ChildhoodFor the Time Being was a little over my head at times but still intriguing.

Teaching a Stone to Talk (Annie Dillard) — Our pastor has quoted incredible passages from this book a time or two, so I thought it was worth a read.  I always like to know the context of those Sunday-morning quotes.

A Man Without a Country (Kurt Vonnegut) — I’ve never read Vonnegut, but when I stumbled across this… autobiography, I think it is, I had to take it home.  People seemed to really praise Vonnegut’s work up and down when he died a little while back, so I thought I should know what all the hype was about.  I doubt it’s his most well-known book, but the first couple pages drew me in without any trouble.

The Soul of Politics (Jim Wallis) — God’s Politics was a great, insightful read; I wanted to know what else Wallis had up his sleeve.

I know very little about the books I brought home today.  They were mostly author-based choices.  But my poor books are burning a hole on my kitchen counter while they wait to be read because I told myself I have to read The Power of One before I read library books!  I’ve been lending that novel from a friend for way too long, and I need to get it back to her.  The first chapter was good, though, so I hope it won’t take me too long to get through it.

My library books are due in three weeks.  The toughest goal I’ve ever given myself is to read one book a week (although on some binges I’ve read more).  And now six books to get through in three weeks?  Aiyayay!  I had no business getting myself in such a predicament.

  1. Oh, Carrie. All of those books sound so good! Will you please let us know how you like them? 😉 I just noticed that The Irresistible Revolution is listed as one of your favorites. I love that book, too. So challenging and convicting. I need to read it again, I think.

    We suffer from a dismal library system, too, although I use ILL a lot.

    It was a pleasure having you stay at our house over Christmas, and it was lovely to finally meet you and your family. Feel free to get caught in a snowstorm in Wichita anytime.

    • clbeyer
    • January 9th, 2008

    Jill, I have you to thank for listing _The Irresistible Revolution_ on your old blog profile. The book has got me convinced I need to find a socially just church like that!

    I’ll try to remember to post some reviews when I finish my books. Remind me if I forget!

    And we are so grateful for you guys hosting us the other weekend! It was an inconvenient (or convenient?) blessing.

  2. I really enjoyed Vonnegut in my late high-school years. I should probably refresh myself with him. His style is completely uniquely all his own, and it’s crudely wonderful in it’s cynicism.

    • clbeyer
    • January 10th, 2008

    Luke: Are there any of his books you’d particularly recommend?

  3. Luke, did you read the story “Harrison Bergeron”? I love that one! I have read a couple of other books by him, but not the most well-known. He _is_ good.

    • Betsy
    • January 16th, 2008

    Happy Reading Carrie! Can’t wait to hear how you like them.

    • karmenl
    • January 22nd, 2008

    I love reading! Chiaroscuro just loaned me God’s Politics. I’m a little buried in books that I want to read, but intend to get to it sometime. I’m a interested in Annie Dillard. Donald Miller makes reference to her books throughout his writing. Is she difficult to read/digest.

    • clbeyer
    • January 22nd, 2008

    karmenl: Oh, I love Donald Miller! Some of the stuff he writes just makes me laugh out loud.

    As far as the difficulty of Annie Dillard’s books, it kind of depended on the book for me. She just writes beautifully, I think, and maybe it’s just the subject matter that sometimes makes me go “huh?” _An American Childhood_ was a warm and easy read for me, but _For the Time Being_ was sometimes hard. I haven’t started these two I listed in this post, but I’ll try to give an update when I finish. 🙂

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