Little Toodads

I just noticed my receipt from Half-Priced Books from last weekend. I have always thought the Bellevue location at least had a little personal skew when organizing some of their books. Skewed in such a way that I thought it safe to assume it was of a liberal bent.

Before I had always noticed that all of Ayn Rand’s non-fiction philosophy books were shelved in the fiction section. Whether one thinks her philosophy is wrong or just so much sewage, it has as much right in the philosophy section as much of the muck that makes up a modern philosophy section.

My assumptions, it still seems, are usually quite on the mark.

The huge NAB family Bible I bought last week (everything else on the receipt (all used) was by title) had this for its title “Nostalgia”.

How is that for a post-Christian declaration? “This is a book people sometimes buy when they want to laugh at their grandparents and what silly fuddy-duddies they were.” “Yeah, we have a few bibles, they’re in the back next to the histories of the horse and carriage.”

I was one of those atheists who never bothered to read the Bible. Why would I? I didn’t care to debate with theists, I simply didn’t believe and went about my business (careful to avoid other atheists who I, in general, didn’t care for – at least not if the subject of religion came up). I am reading it now. And you know what? There is a lot of wisdom in them there books, yes, sir, and hickadee-doo. There is a lot of shocking stuff in there as well, and a whole bunch of stuff that leaves me scratching my head. But nostalgia? I think not.

Matter of fact I think we could use some “nostalgia”.

Speaking of head scratching. I finished up Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun tetralogy. The head scratching I know is due to my inattentiveness because, coming into the last stretch of the book, I could sense threads coming together that I did not pay close enough attention to while they were going down in the book. I can sense that each of the stories within the story (I believe there were 7 altogether including Dr. Telos’s play).

I thought I would catch more this time around since the last time I read it the reading for each book in the tetralogy was separated by many, many months. But I fear I failed again to keep it altogether. It wasn’t even until the very end that I started to grasp the theological theme running through the book, but by that time I hadn’t retained enough to tie it all together and it dispersed in my mind as I grasped it like wisps of mist.

Great read though.

Next up is Michael Bishop’s A FUNERAL FOR THE EYES OF FIRE, then I think either R.A. Lafferty’s APOCALYPSES or his mainstream historical novel OKLA HANNALIĀ about the Choctaw indian nation of Oklahoma (I almost wrote Oklahomo – idiot!). The reviews say this is his best and most accessible book. That is saying a lot since it usually takes me several days, if ever, to figure out what he was saying.

I am kind of tempted to start with Apocalypses (I own both books) because the second Apocalypse is titled THE THREE ARMAGEDDONS OF ENNISCOTHY SWEENY.

How can you resist a title like?

I have six recent Lafferty acquisitions and another on the way in September. But I have to break those up. You can’t just sit there and read one Lafferty after another. One, I believe it may be physically unhealthy, although, like cocaine, a lot of fun. Two, I don’t think it is psychologically healthy.

Three, I don’t think it can be done.

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