Books, books and book sales | Editorial
By DENNIS BOX
Covington Reporter Editor
September 13, 2011 · Updated 4:44 PM
I grabbed a few books from my overstuffed shelves the other night while lying in bed. On the wall next to my bed is a book shelf that extends from the floor to the ceiling and it is stuffed with every book I can get on it.
OK, I admit it – I am out of control when it comes to books.
I always promise my kids I won’t buy anymore books for a while. But these darn friends of the library book sales come along and I get the shakes and start whining until my weak will caves and I go to buy just one.
Now all the books from my book sale excursions are neatly lined up in boxes next to my desk in front of the other floor to wall book case in my bedroom. I also have book cases in the back bedroom, living room and kitchen.
I can’t help myself.
I just can’t stay away from these book sales. They are more fun than anything I can think of, which is why my daughter, Katy, always gives me the “he is soon to be on a locked ward” look.
However, I’m pretty sure my books are the one thing keeping me out of the local lock and key facility with wire windows and soothing music by Dr. Thorazine. Katy knows she will have to figure out what to do with my room after room of books.
There is method to my mental map. It’s a little twisted, but it’s there.
Anyway back to the books I grabbed the other night. The first was a Jewish history book. One of my favorites and I haven’t read it in a few years.
I came across a section that talked about how a Jewish rabbi in antiquity would never throw a book out. When it wore out, he would find a place to bury it.
I love those guys.
I have a copy of Richard Lattimore’s translation of “The Iliad,” which is still my favorite of the many very good translations.
It’s not even a book anymore. It’s more of a collection of pages stuck together... sometimes. But I just can’t part with it.
I know I could buy a new one, but this one still reads and I know all the parts anyway. I’ve tried to get rid of it a few times, but I just couldn’t find a good reason.
And now I discovered another reason to keep it. I will tell Katy I’m just waiting for the proper day to bury it.
If you’ve never gone to a friends of the library book sale, you have to try one out. There is one this weekend in the Kent Library.
I have picked up some incredible books at these sales. There is one in Enumclaw about twice a year and it is always very good. The Covington and Maple Valley libraries have Friends of the Library books near the entrance and I’ve found some great books there.
I usually come home from these book sales with a couple of boxes. I nearly give myself a hernia carrying them to the car. I try to come home after dark when I can sneak in the house. I’m like an addict getting all sweaty and nutty.
When I was about 7 or 8 my grandma signed me up for the Book of the Month Club. I could hardly wait every month for my book and the catalogue. I still have “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham and “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell.
I remember I went on vacation with my folks to Helena, Mont., and I spent the whole trip lying in the back seat of my dad’s Chrysler reading my Book of the Month copy of “Gone With The Wind.” My mom wanted to kill me for not looking at the scenery.
I told her I’d seen trees at home.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wear seat belts in those days and it was easy to duck when mom took a swing at me.
I’m pretty sure I have all my high school books. The same night I was reading my Jewish history, I picked up Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.” That is one of my high school copies. It’s pretty worn, but I love that book. Folks call Bradbury a science-fiction writer. I don’t. He was always writing about God.
The last one I read that night was Plato. I was reading the first two books of “The Republic” about finding a just man to lead a nation.
I like my copy of “The Republic” because I stole it from Katy. Not very just, but it makes it more fun to read, and even more fun when she catches me.
For some reason Socrates’ argument with Thrasymachus about the just man hooked me that night. With all the city council, school boards and other political drama just around the corner, it is well worth reading.
I always enjoy reading these guys who try to state Thomas Jefferson was using the Bible as his outline while writing the Constitution.
Read some Plato and you will see which guy with sandals Jefferson was considering when trying to work out the puzzle of democracy, a republic and governing a nation.
Plato is also a very funny writer. I think if he were working today he would probably be making his living as a stand-up comedian.
In the second book of the “The Republic,” Plato has Adeimantus describe the eternal life of Greek heaven as a perpetual happy hour without a hangover.
Now that is hard to beat.
That Plato, he could be a goofy guy. I think in these times it may be good to read some of his ideas again and consider what makes a just leader.Contact Covington Reporter Editor Dennis Box at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-432-1209 (ext 5050).