Books I Read Lately – Winter 2022 Edition (in September)

When I finish reading a book, I stack it on a certain shelf near my desk in my home office, away from but in sight of the UCRC, my Unconscionably Comfortable Reading Chair. There it sits until I write of it in a “Books I Read” blog post such as this one.

The stack is now 24 books. It’s getting precarious. And I should long since have written this post and two or three more like it. Such is life.

Here are five books from that stack. I’ll tell you where I found them, unless it was Amazon. I’m trying to reduce my dependency on Amazon. I’ll never overcome it entirely, I suspect, but I do love a good brick-and-mortar bookstore.

I’ll write about the others later. Ideally, sooner.

John Steinbeck - Travels with Charley in Search of American - Books I Read Lately

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America

I enjoy telling people about one of my sons, who grew from a precocious early reader immersed in Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series to a mature mind preferring thick history books and great novels. One of his acquisitions was a passion for John Steinbeck’s writing.

He gave me this book as a gift. It is memoir, not the fiction for which Steinbeck is more famous, and it charmed and delighted me, page after page. It is a rambling account of his rambling journey across the United States with his dog Charley, who is surely one of the best-written canine personalities in prose. They traveled in a custom camper Steinbeck christened Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse.

Radiant Moments: A Thanksgiving Reflection

I began this Thanksgiving morning by setting myself a task: to describe my gratitude for specific things which are not controversial. (I have little taste for controversy today.) I thought first of the largest things, such as God, family, and country, but the very ideas of these are currently controversial. You may safely assume my profound gratitude for them, but after a few moments I turned my thoughts toward smaller things. Granted, all things are smaller than the largest things.

So I made list of specific things for which I have felt grateful in recent weeks, and nothing is too small. A hamburger is not too small. But soon it was clear that I had sent myself on a fool’s errand, because even a hamburger is controversial these days. And I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me, in a time when many consider everything to be political, that a hamburger is easily politicized too. (I am not grateful for this.)

So the following are only relatively uncontroversial. Some are only relatively small. They involve people, you see, and people are not a small thing – but we are smaller than God.

Now that I have made the list, I see that every item, in some sense and degree, is a moment. Today, as on many days, I am grateful for moments. Here are ten and a spare. They necessarily reflect my own tastes, opportunities, and associations, but perhaps they will call to mind some of your own moments.

In neither ascending nor descending order …