I just finished Pat Conroy’s ebullient little book, My Reading Life. One thought for now:
At one point, Conroy recounts a conversation he had with a fellow bibliophile, who recommended Knut Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil because, “Everything of virtue springs from the soil. Civilization always comes along to ruin it. But you can always find the truth if it comes from the earth.”
My first thought was of the Book of Mormon, which comes to the modern reader from inside the ground and has some haunting things to say on the subject of its origin as truth rising from the elements:
“For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.” —2 Nephi 26:16
My second thought was, Amen.
Two weeks ago, I browsed through the Sunday paper, which included an article reviewing Pat Conroy’s new book, My Reading Life. It sounded good, so I put it on hold at the library. I picked it up yesterday and read the first few chapters last night while my last class took their final exam.
Conroy’s book is very good so far, partly because he writes so enthusiastically about his favorites, including Anthony Powell’s 12-volume series A Dance to the Music of Time. It sounds like a beautiful glorification of British culture.
That impressed me enough, but earlier today I checked in with my favorite literary blog, A Commonplace Blog, which I hadn’t looked at for a while. The second entry down? A note about A Dance to the Music of Time, the first volume of which is currently available free from the University of Chicago.
In all my years of reading, I’d never even heard of these books until yesterday. Now, I come across two references in less than 24 hours.
OK, Universe, I get it. I got the first volume. We’ll see what all the fuss is about.