Perambulating the Bounds

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Reunited with my books

My parents came to visit and loaded their car down with boxes of books of mine that have been in their possession for decades, in attics and storage spaces and any place else they could keep them out of the way. While I appreciated being able to use my folks as off-site storage all these years, looking into the boxes was to be reunited with parts of myself. I was sure I had a copy of The Cost of Discipleship, and periodically I’ve turned my house upside down looking for Call Me Ishmael. Now they are back in my home. It also reminds me of things I’ve forgotten about myself, like the fact that I own several books by Georg Lukacs, not just History and Class Consciousness. I had no memory of those. But owning them was a way of telling myself about a certain kind of intellectual atmospherics that I aspired to develop. Serious. Tough-minded. My mind didn’t necessarily form up that way.

And the books that looked interesting at the time. A collection of radical revisionist history essays. Various books on the crisis in higher education. When I picked up Do It by Jerry Rubin I probably had the idea it contained important clues about something, but now it’s an interesting artifact (pretty interesting in fact). And some things mean something more or different now. I've been reading Barth's book on Romans, so it's nice to realize I have a copy of his Outline of Dogmatics.

And delightful surprises. I was sure I had thrown out the copies of that Downbeat subscription I had in high school during the 70s, but no, I kept them, and here they are, with cover combinations like Andrew Hill and George Duke, or John Klemmer, Sam Rivers, and Leroy Jenkins. Now I remember—during various cleanup projects I thought about tossing them, but always decided against it. I’m a pack rat, but it’s going to give me a few moments of idle distraction now.

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