Photo Prayer 2021-28 -- Read A Book

“Have you ever read a book?” That was the question O.K. Bowsma once asked his philosophy students. The ensuing discussion made us feel we had not, not deeply, and I still wonder what it would be like to really get to know a book, even just one book, very very well. It could take months, even years. I wonder what book it would be? My wife’s choice may surprise you — the trilogy by Mary O’Hara, beginning with “My Friend Flicka”, a book she says is not so much about horses as it is about what goes into making a marriage. What about you? What book would you choose?

Photo of the artist’s wife at Cupboardmaker’s Bookstore, Enola, Pennsylvania.
Photo and text copyright 2021 by Danny N. Schweers.

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Stephanie wrote:
I love this picture. it says "sooooooo many books, and I can read any of them." What joy. If I had unlimited time, I would spend a lot of it on You Are The Universe by Deepak Chopra and physicist Menas Kafotos. Maybe I would find out it's pop science/psychology but it is certainly stirs the mind and asks more questions than it answers. I'm a life-long reader and lover of books. I used to keep them all until the bookcase shelves bowed. Now I believe they should be in the hands of readers, not on a shelf. Fortunately, my Kindle shows no signs of sagging under the weight of obsessive book acquisitions. This is a wonderful picture, Danny.

John wrote:
The Bible. I have been reading it for many years, sometimes casually and sometimes intensively, and every time I read it carefully I find something I did not see before.

Connie wrote:
I have been following you for years now. I really just love this reflection and will choose a book or two to get to know intimately. Thanks for your ministry through image and word!

Bernadette wrote:
I read My Friend Flicka when I was about 12 ... didnt realize it was a trilogy! Will have to check out the other two. I guess my book would be Lord of the Rings. Good vs. evil and Doing the Right thing. Read it six times ages 11-13. Another is Jane Eyre, which I read at 12, 18, and 26, thoroughly enjoying each time. Love, persistence & devotion. Thanks!

John wrote:
Great one Danny — very provocative. Until 5 or 6 years ago mine would have been Updike’s Rabbit quadrilogy (actually quintilogy if you count the novella that checks back on the Rabbit characters 10 years after Rabbit’s death). But reading a very good bio of Updike kind of dulled my enthusiasm to read it again for perhaps the fourth time (mostly listening on books on tape). (My reasoning on that is complicated but your provocative photo prayer will cause me to ponder it with a fresher perspective.). Perhaps a good choice for the years I have left would be Paul’s letters — Romans if I had to pick just one I suppose—because thats where his theology is most prominent and systematic. It occurs to me now that Rabbit might have done well to have spent more time on it. Rabbit’s foundational sin was, I have come to think, selfishness and I have a sense that focussing on Paul’s letters might provide a path for “salvation” from that particular sin pattern.

Craig wrote:
Good question! I think the book you're looking for is the Bible. If you're Muslim, the Koran... Personally it might be Eliot's Four Quartets... These really start to gain momentum and heft as one grows older... And, ultimately, old… Nice job on aligning the verticles in the photo... You old pro you.. I think most people take this for granted... I don't…

Hugh wrote:
What a great question. I pick Wind in the Willows.

Cookie wrote:
Love the pic. I am more moved by short stories than novels. Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” Stands out for me. Also Annie Proulx short stories (Brokeback Mountain) are also a favorite read, though not for the faint hearted. She inspired me to write a short story during lockdown. It’s a Delaware story called “Catapult. “ Would you like to read it?

Jim wrote:
Danny you surely do get around!! What a store! Right now a book on my mind is The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, but in the morning it could be something else. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is provocative!

Love those names of much-loved books. Lord of the Rings, Eliot’s Four Quartets, and Wind in the Willows are favorites of mine, as are The Odyssey, the Tao Te Ching, and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. That said, the book I keep re-reading again and again is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, especially the annotated version by Patricia Meyer Spacks. And now I see there is another annotated version by David M. Shapard. Oh, frabjous joy! — another chance to read Pride and Prejudice in a new context! And, of course, I should read those books you love that I have not even opened.

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