I’m currently enjoying two books. One is Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, a medieval mystery. Eco’s enjoyment of words and language translates beautifully and it is delightful. I love anything medieval, so something so well-written and historically rich is a treat.
I’m trying to read a nonfiction for every fiction I read which is proving difficult but I am loving Wendell Berry’s collection of essays, The Art of the Commonplace.
I liked Berry’s fiction but found the excessive exposition a little wearying. I think I like his poems and essays better. Here’s some of my favorite quotes so far:
“After the trouble one has taken to be a modern man, one has come back under the spell of a primitive awe, wordless and humble.” (A Native Hill)
“…it should not be necessary to point out the connection between the oppression of women and the general contempt for household work. It is well established among us that you may hold up your head in polite society with a public lie in your mouth or other people’s money in your pocket or innocent blood on your hands, but not with dishwater on your hands or mud on your shoes.” (Racism and the Economy)
“Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make.” (Racism and the Economy)
“Our present idea of freedom is only the freedom to do as we please: to sell ourselves for a high salary, a home in the suburbs, and idle weekends. But that is a freedom dependent upon affluence, which is in turn dependent upon the rapid consumption of exhaustible supplies. The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life.” (Racism and the Economy)
I really like what Berry says about freedom. Modern freedom is defined as the liberty to do what we desire whereas true freedom, as described by the Church Fathers like St. Augustine, is the ability to do what is right.
I’d like to read Radical Homemakers next on Katherine’s recommendation.
What are you reading? Any suggestions?
On another note, Benjamin is enjoying the last days of summer immensely.
I just asked him what music he wanted to listen to and he looks confused. So I said, “Benjamin, what’s your favorite band?” “Rubber band!” he responded after taking a second to think about it.