Recent Pick-ups for Winter Reading

I have recently collected a few books for winter reading that I thought I would share with you. A couple I have already started, while the others will have to wait for later.

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I am always on the lookout for books relating to local (Grand Rapids, Ottawa County) and Michigan history, and a while back I found this one in a thrift store – White Hurricane: A Great Lakes November Gale and America’s Deadliest Maritime Disaster – by David G. Brown (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 2002). I really wanted to read this one last month (November), but it will have to wait. If you want to watch a video presentation by the author on this incredible storm and the havoc it wreaked on the Great Lakes, go here.

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Another recent purchase ($5 for the hardcover at Ollies discount store in Wyoming – a treasure trove for new books – and Bibles – and children’s titles!) is noted historian Nathaniel Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Viking, 2016). The publisher gives this summary of the book:

A surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution, and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.

Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.

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Did you know Christian author Douglas Bond has a brand new title out?! The Resistance is his latest historical novel and it looks to be another great read.  I am looking forward to delving into this one – and hopefully getting my older grandsons into it too.

Here’s the description and one blogger’s description:

Lt. Eli Evans, B-17 bomber pilot, is shot down over enemy-occupied France in 1944. Surrounded by Resistance fighters, a licensed-to-kill SOE British agent, and Marxist sympathizers, Evans and his navigator must evade a ruthless Nazi manhunt if they are to survive. Resistance sympathizer Aimée hates war but is forced to act with courage, risking her life for others. Amidst ambush and sabotage, the combatants will debate broadcast talks by C. S. Lewis, heard as they listen to the BBC for coded messages from London.
“True to form, Douglas Bond delivers yet another historical novel sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of both the young and the old. Readers will thrill at the high-stakes, fast-paced cat and mouse game …tension hovering above an 8 on a 0-10 scale. From the moment the B-17 crashes, until the invasion of Normandy; time (and pages) seemed to fly by.”
AMANDA GEANEY, book blogger at Shelf Esteem

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Speaking of children and grandchildren, I also just bought a copy of the “Coloring Book of Church History” titled A Colorful Past, by William Boekestein and Naomi Kamphuis (Illustrator), published by Reformation Heritage Books (2018). This brief description will give you an idea of its contents and purpose:

This coloring book introduces children to important characters from church history, focusing on at least one person per century. The basic timeline illustrates how God has woven humanly flawed characters into a single living story. And this story is not over. As children color these pages and see God’s unfolding plan in church history, pray they will learn to praise God for the “wonderful works that He has done” (Ps. 78:4).

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And, finally, one I found at a recent Baker Books sale and have started to read is They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims by Jay Milbrandt (Nelson Books, 2017). I have always enjoyed early American history, in part because of its Christian – even Calvinistic – character (at least some aspects of it), and the story of the Pilgrims has always intrigued me. This is my first exposure to this author, and so far I find his style lively and instructive.

Amazon gives this description of the book:

Once a year at Thanksgiving, we encounter Pilgrims as folksy people in funny hats before promptly forgetting them. In the centuries since America began, the Pilgrims have been relegated to folklore and children’s stories, fairy-tale mascots for holiday parties and greeting cards.

The true story of the Pilgrim Fathers could not be more different. Beginning with the execution of two pastors deviating from the Elizabethan Church of England, the Pilgrims’ great journey was one of courageous faith, daring escape, and tenuous survival. Theirs is the story of refugees who fled intense religious persecution; of dreamers who voyaged the Atlantic and into the unknown when all other attempts had led to near-certain death; of survivors who struggled with newfound freedom. Loneliness led to starvation, tension gave way to war with natives, and suspicion broke the back of the very freedom they endeavored to achieve.

Despite the pain and turmoil of this high stakes triumph, the Pilgrim Fathers built the cornerstone for a nation dedicated to faith, freedom, and thankfulness. This is the epic story of the Pilgrims, an adventure that laid the bedrock for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the American identity.

For more on this book, visit the publisher’s marketing page.

Happy reading this fall and winter! What’s in your book bag? 🙂

Petition for Help in Praying the Psalms

We have taken this short stroll through the Psalter [that is, the book of Psalms] in order to learn to pray a few psalms a bit better. It would not be difficult to arrange according to the Lord’s Prayer all the psalms mentioned. …But this alone is important, that we begin to pray the psalms with confidence and love in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After which the author concludes this brief section with a quote (prayer) from M. Luther:

‘Our dear Lord, who has given to us and taught us to pray the Psalter and the Lord’s Prayer, grant to us also the spirit of prayer and of grace so that we pray with enthusiasm and earnest faith, properly and without ceasing, for we need to do this; he has asked for it and therefore wants to have it from us. To him be praise, honor, and thanksgiving. Amen.’

Psalms-prayer-book-BonhoefferTaken from Psalms, The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Augsburg, 1974), a translation of Das Gebetbuch der Bibel (the 8th ed. published in Germany in 1966). These thoughts are found in one of the closing sections, “Petition for the Spirit of Life”  (p.63).

Christ’s Poverty, Our Riches – Rev. M. De Vries

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The idea is, therefore, that Christ was manifesting toward His people a favor completely undeserved when He came into the world and became poor though He had been rich. That appalling poverty characteristic of Christ’s life was something that He willingly took upon Himself because Christ was gracious towards His people. The emphasis falls upon Christ’s perfect obedience and willingness to suffer. It speaks to us of that glorious truth that although it was painful beyond description for Christ to become so poor, nevertheless, He eagerly and anxiously seized upon this poverty because the deepest motives of His heart were for the people whom He loved. No price was too great to pay for them; no humiliation too bitter; no suffering too great; no poverty too lowly.

But what makes this grace appear so wonderful is the fact that He became poor for us because we are so very, very poor! O, not in the material sense. It is true, we may not be materially wealthy; we may have financial struggle. But, for the most part, we have an abundance of material things. Undoubtedly, you will receive many nice material gifts this season. But, remember, material riches mean nothing! Spiritually, we are very poor, by nature. We are poverty-stricken, spiritually bankrupt in ourselves. This poverty is the terrible poverty of sin, of death, of the curse, of hell! It is a poverty far more awful than the worst of material poverty. Do you recognize that poverty as yours? The whole church for which Christ died is poor, spiritually destitute. Think of the corrupt host for which Christ died, of the wretched sinners we all are, even now. If you think of your own terrible poverty, the poverty of a nature completely depraved, then you can see something of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He, being rich, was made poor, on our behalf.

There is no other explanation for it but GRACE – undeserved favor. Christ was under no obligation to come into our poverty. He did not have to come to Bethlehem! He certainly did not have to save you and me! It was grace!

sb-logo-rfpaFound in the Meditation on 2 Cor.8:9 by Rev. Michael DeVries (Kalamazoo PRC) in the December 1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer. A fitting reflection for us in this Advent season.

Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter

A recent new title from Crossway that I requested for review relates to a subject that is at once weighty and timely. The book is Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter (paper; 182 pp.).

As the title indicates, this is a modernization of several writings of the Puritan Richard Baxter (1615-1691) addressed to depressed and anxious Christians. Drawn mainly from Baxter’s A Christian Directory, Christian physician Michael S. Lundy presents his writings on these subjects in “revised, updated, and annotated” form. Dr. J. I. Packer – a lover of and expert on the Puritans – wrote the Introduction.

The publisher gives this summary of the title:

Depression—whether circumstantial and fleeting or persistent and long term—impacts most people at some point in their lives. Puritan pastor Richard Baxter spent most of his ministry caring for depressed and discouraged souls, and his timeless counsel still speaks to us today. In this book, psychiatrist Michael S. Lundy and theologian J. I. Packer present Baxter’s writings in order to comfort, instruct, and strengthen all who struggle with depression.

The Table of Contents reveals the following layout to the book:

Preface by J. I. Packer
Part 1: Introducing Richard Baxter

  1. Richard Baxter, Spiritual Physician
    J. I. Packer 
  2. Richard Baxter: Perspective and Retrospective
    Michael S. Lundy, MD 

Part 2: Baxter’s Counsel on Depression

  1. Advice to Depressed and Anxious Christians
    Richard Baxter
  2. The Resolution of Depression and Overwhelming Grief through Faith
    Richard Baxter 

Appendix: The Duty of Physicians
Richard Baxter
General Index
Scripture Index

In his “Preface” to this work, Packer writes about “our standpoint” (the perspective of himself and Lundy) in these words:

Our ideal for all Christians, ourselves included, is to live as far as possible in the outgoing love, stability, and joy – along with patience, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control – that form the moral profile of Jesus Christ in his disciples. We see such living as true human flourishing, and the promotion of it as central to all forms of pastoral care, church worship and fellowship, personal therapy, and Christian family life. And we see depression in all its forms as a prima facie obstruction to this, in which Satan regularly has a hand (see 2 Cor.12:7). We believe that in the wisdom of God thorns in the flesh – mental and emotional thorns included – may become means of spiritual advance that would not otherwise take place. And we believe that greater wisdom in this matter than we are used to is found in the pastoral heritage of seventheenth-century Puritanism. Supreme here is the wisdom of Richard Baxter, who in his day was viewed and consulted as a top authority regarding ministry to Christians afflicted by what was then called ‘melancholy,’ but would today be labeled depression. Our hope is that by presenting what Baxter wrote in this field we may contribute to wise pastoral care in Bible-believing, gospel-centered, Christ-honoring churches at this time [pp.11-12].

If you or someone you know may be interested in reading and writing a brief review of it, let me know and the book is yours or theirs to keep. I believe whoever reads it will be instructed and enriched for his own Christian life and for the counsel of other believers.

Source: Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter

Latest Seminary Addition Work, Nov.27-Dec.4, 2018

Since last Tuesday’s report (Nov.26) much work has been done on the PRC seminary addition (new archives room and offices).

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After the footings and walls were poured and had time to cure, they were back-filled and then sand hauled in for the base to the floor.

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Then special footings were also poured in the floor for the interior walls, before the main floor was poured.

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The Bouwkamp masons followed this work and laid a single course of block on the newly poured wall, also in preparation for the pouring of the floor.

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Yesterday (Monday) being the mildest day of the work-week, the floor was poured! A larger crew of Bosveld workers participated and a critical part of the building was done!

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Time to smooth it out with power trowel and hand trowels – the finishing touches by Nate P. and Matt VO.

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The new concrete floor had to have blankets to keep it warm and help it cure in the Michigan cold!

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Today, Bosveld and Kuiper Excavating were back to work on the new fire lane and construction drive. A lot of dirt was moved, and recycled, crushed concrete was put down as a base.

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The new “road” to the west of the project will assist all the future construction and serve as a fire lane required by the city of Wyoming.

Again, thanks for the great work, men – and lady! (Did you spot the one gal in the pictures? Yes, Holly H. was “manning” the cement hose – not an easy task!

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And just for fun, Matt VO replaced one of the interiors doors that goes away with a foam one – with a little happy face on the inside. 🙂

 

 

Published in: on December 4, 2018 at 10:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Loving the Word Enough to Read It – Rev. D. Hyde

For our Sunday night post, I take one more look with you at the November 2018 issue of Tabletalk with its theme of “Living by the Word,” that is, living by the Bible as God’s holy Word to us His people.

In one of the final articles on this theme, Rev. Daniel Hyde writes on the critical calling we have to love the Word of God. Indeed, we cannot live by God’s Word unless we love His Word. And, as Hyde states at the beginning of his article, we show our love for God and His Word by reading it. And he points to three ways in which we are to do that. This is the section I wish to quote here this evening.

You have heard me say here before that, while the reading of other good books is a necessity for the Christian, nothing is more important than reading and feeding on God’s book. Hyde affirms that with these three ways to do so in our lives. Meditate on these and profit from them.

Publicly. We love God by loving His Word read publicly. This was done in the ancient Jewish synagogue, as evidenced by Jesus’ entering the synagogue and performing the appointed reading from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:16–24). The early church carried on this practice, as Paul tells us (1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:16), and continued the practice after the close of the Apostolic age. For example, Justin Martyr said, “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits.” And Tertullian said, “We assemble to read our sacred writings . . . with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more steadfast.”

As a family. We love God by loving His Word read as a family, if the Lord provides us with a family. Moses exhorted the Israelites to teach the commandments to their children (Deut. 6:6–7). Family Bible reading is necessary to propagate the Christian religion in our children. Studies show the rising generation in American churches leaving those churches; is it any wonder when parents, especially fathers, are not taking the time to read the Word with their children? Ignorance of Scripture leads to ignorance of Christ.

Privately. We love God by loving His Word read privately. Psalm 1 speaks of the singular “man” (v. 1) who is blessed because “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). To read the Word and meditate on the Word as a believer causes one to be like a well-watered and fruitful tree (v. 3). Psalm 119 is also the meditation of an individual believer: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (v. 97). Meditating on the Word makes one wise (v. 98), makes one godly (v. 101), and gives us a spiritual delight as the Word is “sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (v. 103). This is why one writer said, “To neglect [the reading of the Word] is to despise our own souls, and deprive ourselves of the advantage of God’s instituted means of grace.” If we love God, it is our duty to read the Word of God.

To read the entire article, visit the Ligonier link below.

Source: Loving the Word

A Great Light in the Deep Darkness – H. C. Hoeksema on Isaiah 9:6

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…Particularly at Isaiah’s time, this [the shining of a great light in darkness, cf. Is.9:2] must have been marvelous to him because of the circumstances of God’s people. The faithful people of God were disheartened; they were inclined to be blackly pessimistic; there did not seem to be much hope for them. Although Isaiah is also in that darkness, he sees a great light arising in far-off Zebulon and Naphtali – tribes that at this time did not even belong to the house of David. He is amazed to see people leaping and dancing for joy as in the day of harvest and rejoicing as those who divide the spoils of battle. They are free from all foreign domination, and they rejoice in a day of great glory.

In the center of this picture is the son, the child [Is.9:6]. The prophet beholds him in a blaze of light. The government – the rule, the dominion, the prerogative to rule – is upon his shoulder. His is the right, his is the calling, and his is the power and wisdom to rule over God’s people. He sits as the everlasting king upon David’s throne. He is Christ, who from eternity was ordained of God the Father and who in his exaltation received all power in heaven and on earth to rule forever over all things in the name of God. That son, who sits on the everlasting throne of David, is the reason and the cause of this leaping and dancing and rejoicing.

The darkness is a figure. Surely the domination of the Assyrians was a historic reality, but only as Assyria was the representative of the great antichristian world power that will dominate God’s people at the end of time. As dominated by the great power of the world and by the prince of darkness, they are by nature in darkness and in the shadow of death – not in physical darkness, but in the darkness of sin and guilt and death and misery, for they are in the might and the power of Satan and of hell.

In that night Jesus kindles the light. No, he is the light! He comes with royal might; he fights and overcomes in his suffering and his atoning death; he fights and overcomes in his resurrection and exaltation; he has the victory in his return by his Spirit and word, and he shall have the victory in everlasting perfection and fullness when he returns for judgment. He is the one who actually delivers his people from all earthly and spiritual bondage and dominion, who gives them the victory, and who causes them to rejoice and to divide the spoils of battle.

redeemed-judgment-HCH-2007Taken from Redeemed with Judgment: Sermons on Isaiah (Vol.1) by Homer C. Hoeksema (ed. by Mark H. Hoeksema; Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2007), pp.149-50.

This is part of the fifteenth sermon, “The Royal Son of the Dawn” based on Isaiah 9:6.

Remembering the birthday of C. S. Lewis – November 29, 1898

cs-lewis-1Today marks the 120th anniversary of the birthday of C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963.

In remembrance of that great writer and Christian apologist, we quote from the first letter of his The Screwtape Letters, in which the senior demon, Screwtape, wrote letters to his trainee, Wormwood.

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This is the opening paragraph:

My dear Wormwood,

I note what you say about guiding your patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naif? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.

In the “Preface” to The Screwtape Letters, Lewis addresses a question often put to him after he wrote the book, the answer to which reveals some interesting truths about God and about the Devil, some we often lose sight of ourselves, in my estimation. I quote:

The commonest question is whether I really ‘believe in the Devil.’

Now, if by ‘the Devil’ you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No. There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite.

…The proper question is whether I believe in devils. I do. That is to say, I believe in angels, and I believe that some of these, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies to God and, as a corollary, to us. These we may call devils. They do not differ in nature from good angels, but their nature is depraved. Devil is the opposite of angel only as Bad Man is the opposite of Good Man. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael. [p.vii]

Nick Roark also has a nice little tribute to Lewis today at “Tolle Lege”. Look that up as well.

And you do remember what those initials “C.S.” refer to, right?

Published in: on November 29, 2018 at 11:11 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt – Dordt 400

In case you have been missing the special blog posts on the newly published Synod of Dordt website in connection with the PRC Seminary’s commemoration of Dordt’s 400th anniversary (1618/19-2018-19) next spring, I give you this reminder here.

Prof. Doug Kuiper (newly appointed professor of NT and church history) has begun writing a series of posts on the sessions of the “great synod.” His first one was introductory, but the next one (linked below) begins to treat the business of each of the 180 sessions.

Here is a portion of that post (find the rest at the link below):

Sessions 1-5

Session 1: Tuesday, November 13 AM
The morning began with Balthasar Lydius preaching a sermon in Dutch, and Jeremias de Peurs in French. Probably these sermons were preached in two different churches, to different audiences. Both men were delegates to the Synod. As the minister in Dordrecht, Lydius was able to sleep in his own bed during the months the Synod met. De Peurs was minister of the French refugee (Walloon) church in Middelburg.
After the sermons the delegates went in procession to the building in which the Synod met, the Kloveniersdoelen. The state delegation (representing the national government) welcomed the other delegations and showed them their assigned seats. Then Balthasar Lydius opened with prayer, after which Martin Gregorius made opening remarks. Gregorius was the president of the state delegation that week; this presidency rotated weekly.
The 18 state delegates presented their credentials, which Balthasar Lydius read. Then they elected Daniel Heinsius as their secretary. He was to keep minutes of the meetings of the state delegation, and to create his own set of minutes of the Synod.

These posts should have wide interest in the Reformed church world and therefore deserve wide notice. If you have an interest in Dordt’s work and decisions – especially her Canons written against the errors of the Arminians and her defense of sovereign, particular grace – we encourage you to look these up and spread the word.

And, make plans to attend the PRC seminary’s conference next April! 🙂

Source: The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (2) Week One: Sessions 1-5 – Dordt 400

The Bookish Life by Joseph Epstein | First Things

This essay in the November issue of First Things is a romping good read about “the bookish life,” which, from this writer’s perspective, is really his personal take on the joys of book-choosing and reading. It is far from the standard fare, for not only does Epstein take you far and wide in describing his “bookish life,” but he also dismisses much of the “conventional wisdom” about what to read and how to read.

There is much that I appreciated and enjoyed – even laughed about – in this article. I saved it when I first read it earlier this month, and as November comes to a close, I share it with those interested. Here are some of the more serious parts from which I benefited. Find the full essay at the link below.

Only after I had departed high school did books begin to interest me, and then only in my second year of college, when I transferred from the ­University of Illinois to the University of Chicago. Among the most beneficial departures from standard college fare at the University of Chicago was the brilliant idea of eliminating textbooks from undergraduate study. This meant that instead of reading, in a thick­ textbook, “In his Politics Aristotle held . . . ,” or “In Civilization and Its Discontents Freud argued . . . ,” or “In On Liberty John Stuart Mill asserted . . . ,” students read the Politics, Civilization and Its Discontents, On Liberty, and a good deal else. Not only read them, but, if they were like me, became excited by them. Heady stuff, all this, for a nineteen-year-old semi-literate who, on first encountering their names, was uncertain how to pronounce Proust or Thucydides.

…Nor, I suspect, is the bookish soul likely to read chiefly on a Kindle or a tablet. I won’t go into the matter of the aesthetics of book design, the smell of books, the fine feel of a well-made book in one’s hands, lest I be taken for a hedonist, a reactionary, and a snob. More important, apart from the convenience of Kindles and tablets—in allowing for enlarged print, in portability if one wants to take more than one or two books along when traveling—I have come to believe that there is a mysterious but quite real difference between words on pixel and words in print. For reasons that perhaps one day brain ­science will reveal to us, print has more weight, a more substantial feel, makes a greater demand on one’s attention, than the pixel. One tends not to note a writer’s style as clearly in pixels as one does in print. Presented with a thirty- or forty-paragraph piece of writing in pixels, one wants to skim after fifteen or twenty paragraphs in a way that one doesn’t ordinarily wish to do in print. Pixels for information and convenience, then, print for knowledge and pleasure is my sense of the difference between the two.

…Reading may not be the same as conversation, but reading the right books, the best books, puts us in the company of men and women more intelligent than ourselves. Only by keeping company with those smarter than ourselves, in books or in persons, do we have a chance of becoming a bit smarter. My friend Edward Shils held that there were four modes, or means, of education: that in the classroom, that through superior newspapers and journals, that from the conversation of intelligent friends, and that obtained from bookstores and especially used bookstores. The so-called digital age, spearheaded by Amazon, is slowly putting this last-named mode out of business. With its ample stock, quick delivery, and slightly lower prices, Amazon is well on its way to killing the independent bookstore. But the owners of these stores are not the only losers. Readers, too, turn out to be ill-served by this bit of mixed progress that Amazon and other online booksellers have brought.

…Nietzsche said that life without music is a mistake. I would agree, adding that it is no less a mistake without books. Proust called books “the noblest of distractions,” and they are assuredly that, but also more, much more. “People say that life is the thing,” wrote Logan Pearsall Smith, “but I prefer reading.” In fact, with a bit of luck, the two reinforce each other. In The Guermantes Way volume of his great novel, Proust has his narrator note a time when he knew “more books than people and literature better than life.” The best arrangement, like that between the head and the heart, is one of balance between life and reading. One brings one’s experience of life to one’s reading, and one’s reading to one’s experience of life. You can get along without reading serious books—many extraordinary, large-hearted, highly intelligent people have—but why, given the chance, would you want to? Books make life so much richer, grander, more splendid. The bookish life is not for everyone, nor are its rewards immediately evident, but at a minimum, taking it up you are assured, like the man said, of never being out of work.

Source: The Bookish Life by Joseph Epstein | Articles | First Things

Published in: on November 27, 2018 at 10:46 PM  Leave a Comment