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Issue 03 – Christ the King 2020

The Publisher's Desk

The Publisher's Desk


When I was a freshman in college I made a pledge to myself that I would get an education outside the classroom by keeping a simple rule: I would read on book every week. The plan went well for the first month; I read a book about the C.I.A. by a disgruntled case officer, then two books about the United States in Afghanistan and a book about the Navy, and rounded it out with C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man. I kept my rule for most of the year, but I permitted myself to make amendments to it. Some very long books were counted as two, and I gave myself credit, and time, for two weeks. Sometimes I would have extra time, finish two books, and tell myself this could be used to pay my reading schedule forward. And of course, on many more occasions, I simply couldn’t get through whatever book I had chosen on time and gave up for the week. 

From the beginning, I saw in this task a second, more material purpose: as I was reading, I was building myself a library, too. I liked owning the books that I read and seeing them on my shelf. This brought with it a new experience: online book-hunting. I had been to bookstores and book fairs while growing up, but I had rarely done any internet shopping at all, to say nothing of looking for books online. Amazon’s third-party sellers, AbeBooks, eBay, and Biblio put within my reach every used book I could ever read and then some, all priced at barely the cost of shipping. It became my own sort of treasure hunt. The searching was as enjoyable as the finding. (For Clare Coffey’s meditation on the subject, see page 56.)

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