Friday, September 02, 2005

A Book Freak

Recently I picked up a book entitled INDELIBLE INK (WaterBrook Press) edited by Scott Larsen. He has chosen 22 hightly-esteemed Christian writers and asks them to write about the authors who have most shaped their lives. Being a book freak, a bibliophile, an incurable collector, I had to read through the book right away. Larsen includes such writers as Calvin Miller, J. I. Packer, Ravi Zacharias, Walter Wangerin, Jr. and Luci Shaw.

When I read Calvin Miller's chapter I secretly laughed inside and he painted a picture (sight unseen) of my office/study/libary. It was uncanny how he captured the "feel" of my quiet place.

Miller writes:

Books! They keep me up late. They sometimes wake me up, summoning me from my bed in the middle of the night. My best friends. My worst enemies. They are full of great ideas from great souls - ideas that stick to my fingers and chain my eyes to their old yellowed pages, daring me to try to let them go. They tease me with print too small for my bifocals and threaten me with their daunting poundage.

I beg them to look neat in my study. I try to pen them all up in shelved rows. But my books are escape artists. My shelves are always so gorged with them they cannot stand together neatly. So I pile them up - I lay them edgewise on top of their vertical brothers till they spill out in avalanches that force me to pick them up and jam them back on the peaks of their slippery stacks. They shove at my desk like rush-hour subway riders in Mexico City. There are always more of them. I secretly believe they breed in the darkness, and I have caught myself tiptoeing into my study, suddenly flipping on the light to try and catch them at their illicit conjugation. But alas, so far I have not.

I read as many as I can in bookstores to keep from bringing them home. But some of them forbid me from leaving them sitting stiffly on the store's prissiy, much-neater shelves. They would rather crowd themselves into my skewed library and suffocate in the tumble-down piles of my study.

Why am I so narcolibric (a word of my contriving, meaning "print addicted")? Because every book I see says to me "come hither and I will make you wise". I have now read so many of them they cannot live up to their allurements. Yet all bibliophiles (book lovers, and I did not make this one up) are on the make for that one scintillating paragraph that hides in the deep interior of some book yet to be read. To put it more simply, I'm a sucker for a great read. I always feel the next book I pick up will be the one great one I dare not miss.

Calvin Miller

Note: There you have it! A book freak just like me! Keep reading and collecting, friends! I don't feel so guilty when others share my passion.


  1. The only thing worse than wading through the narcissistic blogs of countless teenage posers is stumbling on this incredibly narcissistic "Christian" site.

    What would Jesus do when our country is experiencing its worst natural man made or natural disaster in a century? I don't think he'd sit around thinking about a book which is thinking about some writing which is thinking about religion. He'd be out somewhere DOING something. Or at least writing about something thoughtful.

    I am so tired of Capitalism Christianity.

  2. Dear anonymous: Your comments don't even warrant a response. If you knew anything about this "narcissistic" Christian (???) you wouldn't have written. Oh well!


  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I've got to tell you...I'm not as nice, kind and charitable as David is...nevertheless I'll attempt to be respectful out of respect for David and his character.

    First of all, it's a cool thing when you find a book that encourages and helps build up people's faith or to comfort them when in need. Being able to share and direct other to that same resource is wonderful.

    Secondly our God is a big God. Yes we are all hurting and grieving over the devastating losses in our southern states. But our God is good...and there is still rejoicing and joy to be had even in the midst of devastation.

    God can use many things to touch our lives...including books and music...and it's a good thing to have a place to experience those small pleasures in the midst of a very difficult world.

    Next time have the courage to leave your name and stand behind your comment. If you are a regular visitor of David's site you will know the uplifting, faith building and love and encouragement that goes on here. That's much needed in a painful and difficult world. blog on...I am encouraged each time I visit your site.