Sunday, January 05, 2014

What's at my elbow

The Library has re-opened its doors, and all the stash that I brought home before Christmas to read and to watch during long winter evenings is due to be returned on Tuesday!  Or renewed if I can't bear to part unread or unwatched.......

That will apply to the books by Bruce Chatwin, - the current one I am reading (Songlines) being so tempting I daren't sit near it when I have other things that must be done.  I am reading it on recommendation from one of my sons who has recently immersed himself in Chatwin, and because of remembrance of the only other Chatwin I have read, many years ago, -"Utz" a novel of a man's passion for a collection of Meissen porcelain.

The Boston Globe reviewer calls this book 'a blend of travelogue, memoir, history, philosophy, science, meditation and commonplace book' and truly, it does contain all these ingredients, told in a  wry and intellectually wondrous way.  Chatwin compares the Aboriginal Songlines of Australia to the first two chapters of Genesis which describe the seven days of creation, - whereas the Australian Aboriginal culture believes the earth to be "sung" into existence, and the continent to be covered with a web of Dreaming Tracks.

The Ancients " sang their way all over the world.  They sang the rivers and ranges, salt-pans and sand dunes.  They hunted, ate, made love, danced, killed;  wherever their tracks led they left a trail of music.  They wrapped the whole world in a web of song;"

The Songlines of Australia

I am just now starting to read the second part of the book, which is entitled 'From the Notebooks" and as it begins it considers the appeal of the wanderers of the world, and their exhilarating contributions to our culture.  As a stay-at-home lady it opens my eyes!

"There is nothing better than a change of air in this malady {melancholia} than to wander up and down, as those Tartai Zalmohenses that live in hordes, and take the opportunity of times, places, seasons."  The Anatomy of Melancholy

"You cannot travel on the path before you have become the Path itself".   Gautama Buddha

"The Wayless Way, where the Sons of God lose themselves and, at the same time, find themselves".  Meister Eckhart

ahh - in the spring I will start walking, but the roads are too icy right now!!!

On my Kobo I have 'The God of Dirt - Mary Oliver and the Other Book of God' by Thomas W. Mann, a United Church minister who has been well indoctrinated with Emerging Church theology (?).  The book is a review of the poetry of Mary Oliver and a rather desperate attempt (well, I feel it is rather a desperate attempt, anyway) to gain support from the wonderful awareness of the poet and her poetry to bolster the Ecological aspects of the Emerging Church.  I guess I am of the 'everything in moderation' school .......

In the mail yesterday...."Many Miles", a CD of Mary Oliver reading Mary Oliver.  Oh, heaven!!!!


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It seems so strange that the Globe reviewer would add 'and commonplace book' at the end of his list of descriptive phrases. I'm not sure what makes a book commonplace and I want to know what the reviewer has read that is commonplace and nothing else.

I can see that you are immersed in this author .... it has been a while since I have read a book that held my interest so completely. Maybe I have just defined 'commonplace'!

Morning's Minion said...

Our local library is the poorest I've encountered in terms of selection variety, running heavily to series by writers of so-called "Christian fiction."
From time to time I bring home something from the non-fiction shelves, but don't always get it read before the due date creeps up.
I find I'm doing a good deal of reading online. When I want to sit in my rocking chair by the fire I turn to the older books which have followed me through each move.