14 July 2014

The Virtue of Unread Books

"...the array of books in our home is intended for ongoing, well-rounded usefulness. They're there to show us what's possible, not venerate what's already been. Even the history books, which are expressly about what has already been, are there to light an inquisitive fuse and point us forward into new exploits."

-Scott James

Although we didn't have a terribly sophisticated home library growing up, I can remember countless hours sprawled out on the floor, or in a chair, or on Mom & Dad's bed, paging through whatever 'looked interesting' on the shelves in various corners of our house. I spent a lot of time paging through our illustrated children's dictionary, our large family bible, and the many chapter books left behind by older siblings at college (A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, etc. ). There were also times where I picked up something that turned out to be less than interesting. And we must not forget the old, worn, copies of Fulton Sheen on the end tables that sewed the seed for a life-long reading adventure. Or the subconsciously comforting notion that the presence of Catholic books on marriage exuded-that they lined the head-board shelves in my parents' bedroom sent a clear message that Mom & Dad were focused on being Mom & Dad. (The same thing went for magazines-thankfully our house only subscribed to the 'family-friendly' ones...I now laugh when I think back on how miffed I was that other kids at my Catholic school were totally clueless and grossed out about things like NFP when I had been leafing through old copies of CCL magazine for years. Ha.)                                  

We keep books around as reminders both of what's been and the unknown to come. It's true that browsing is still one of the best ways of discovery. I'm delighted whenever a friend visits and finds something that intrigues them on one of my shelves, after which I usually insist that they borrow it. While not the bibliophile that I am, I was so tickled that my parents automatically took part in this great pastime on their recent visit, each picking out something that looked good, and then promptly reading themselves to sleep.

Read the whole thing here.

07 July 2014

Bibliotheca: The Bible Re-imagined on the Page

Courtesy of Julie, I heard about this remarkable Kickstarter project today. Adam Lewis Greene, an intrepid book designer, has set out to produce an edition of the bible free from all the numbers and footnotes, fresh and pure like any other story in print. I've seen many neat Kickstarter campaigns before, but this is the first that I've felt compelled to directly be a part of. Bibliotheca looks like a truly awesome project, and I can't wait to see the beautiful results. As someone with a very marginal book-making hobby, I can attest to the sheer amount of work that goes into the production alone, not accounting for the truly ambitious design, type design, setting, and editing that Adam has set out to do. There is a lot of truth in his remarks about our modern bibles being very 'encyclopedic.' We typically experience the text in a very quantifiable, analytical fashion, with verse and chapter marked, asterisks everywhere. Although I've been reading scripture and hearing it proclaimed at Mass my entire life, I just remember the time a couple years ago when a change in my commute led me to begin listening to the daily readings, instead of just reading them on the page-and it was surprisingly striking. I am very excited to embark on a fresh reading experience when my copy arrives in a few months!