Underneath it all, I think each of us has our own self-image of who we are on our best day, or at least who we would like to be. In my mind, (other than being stunningly beautiful—lol), I fashion myself to be a scholar. In my mind, I read voraciously and have higher-order conversations over dinner about all kinds of things, much like Benjamin Franklin described in his autobiography. The truth is that as a child, that is who I was, and who I tried to be—with several fits and starts—into my early adulthood. But, as life and work and family came with increased demands, the sad truth is that many of my “higher order” conversations are based upon an engaging Facebook thread or some snippet of news that I caught while completing work on the laptop. And of course, there is always the sometimes lively, sometimes not-so-much status report that follows the question, “How was your day?”
While any of those discussions can be entertaining (if not downright hilarious), I desire that occasional feast of ideas that can only come from reading good books. So…what did I pick up after I recommitted to reading for myself (outside of work or school)?
There is always my Bible. After that…
My first selection was Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I know, I know. Yet, I have always been drawn to classic literature; in the fits and starts that I mentioned previously, I always delved into classics—Silas Marner, the works of Faulkner, etc. There is a level of cultural literacy, as I
often explain to our children, that is derived directly from the reading and understanding of certain books. Dostoevsky’s works are the focal point of so many discussions (if only mentioned as a joke about long they are). A brief amount of internet research suggested that Crime and Punishment might be a good place to begin. As I said previously, I have always had the desire to indulge in these books; I just never made the time.
My other selection, after my memory was triggered by a comment from Michelle, was The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. As promised, the book is even better than the television series, although I continue to hear Jill Scott’s voice as I read the adventures of Mma Ramotswe in beautiful Botswana.
Having spent a moment with both of our older two in Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, my approach to consuming these books has been completely different. After all, I’m not looking to read for reading’s sake; I want to think.
What am I thinking, now that I kicked off this reading campaign? I am excited to share it, but this post would be waaaayyyyy too long. I will save that portion for my next post.