Most books are easy for me to give away. Not beautiful books about biblical manuscripts or Martin Luther’s legacy.
There’s something amazing about holding your own book in your hands. Like magic, all of those stories and thoughts have moved from fleeting, drifting notions in your mind into the stark reality of paper and ink.
A tall stack of books on the floor of my bedroom greets me each morning. Its very presence is exhausting.
Twice a year I take a day off to undo the work I get paid to do. This sounds batty, but it's becoming a spiritual practice of mine.
One pastor in New Orleans would end every examination by asking, “What is your favorite work of fiction?” The other ministers collectively groaned. But I applauded the question. To be in South Louisiana meant being in a land of stories. As this NYT article observed, South Louisiana is “a place that produces writers the way that France produces cheese—prodigiously, and with world-class excellence.”
The book publishing world depends on buzz. The best kind of book buzz is created by readers who tell their friends about the books they love. Anyone who is part of a circle of reading friends knows that, despite dire predictions about the demise of book publishing, the appetite for reading books is alive and well. But readers have to find out about a book somehow, and that is where promotion comes in—either by publishers or by the authors themselves. I understand the growing need for writers to promote their own work.
Our intellectual architecture is being dismantled. But it is also being reassembled. I use the architecture metaphor because I believe that what we are creating will be in place for many decades to come.
I think and convey ideas more clearly at a desk with a pen in hand than I do on my feet in front of a group of listeners. That’s why books about writing and reading occupy much of my time.
When you buy a used book, it's like joining a conversation in progress—a conversation that may outlast you.