Saturday, October 11, 2008

On Saturday (Sometimes) I'm a Litblogger

I'm somewhere in the second century of my AD Reading plan. That's the history-nerd reading extravaganza in which I read interlocking biographies (I actually began with Julius Caesar, in the pre-AD era) that carry me generation by generation through the centuries, all the way to the present! Well, to read interlocking biographies was the original idea, but I've softened that restriction considerably. When I can't find a biography I want to read, I try a general history book or even a novel set in the period.

[I'd love to do this with a group of readers, three or four say, each reading different books but coming together to discuss their discoveries (even on a blog!). Calling all history-nerds!]

Anyway, the current book is called Rome of the Caesars, by Thomas Africa. It takes up the lives of a series of first and second century folks, from (among others) Herod Agrippa to the apostle Paul to Galen, whose dates were 129-200, according to Wikipedia.

From here I'm going to move sideways, I think, and look for more books about this period, but in browsing the stacks of my local public library (the blessed shrine), I think I may have stumbled on something. A novel set in second-century England, called Island of Ghosts, by Gillian Bradshaw.

If you're like me, you remember wandering through library stacks as a young boy, perhaps 12, old enough now to venture into the "adult" section, and probably in terrible awe of the rows and rows of mysterious and promising legends that now surround you! Not sure where to begin, you find a secret place, deep in the stacks where no one can see you, browse the spines on the lower shelves (drawn to the thickest and therefore most thoroughly engrossing tomes), flip quickly to the first page, and begin. The familiar world falls quickly away. You are not in a library at all, but perhaps in a country graveyard at night, in England. You have fortuitously discovered Great Expectations. And you gladly exchange your old familiar world for this new one, though it is surely strange and frightening (or because it is so).

Do you remember that feeling? And do young readers still feel that way about books? Do they still read old books, old legends, not because required by school, but because they hear the call from that world within the book, and are simply drawn?

Well, I've only read the first paragraph of Island of Ghosts, but consider me drawn.


Anonymous said...

i am re-reading a book right now called "God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World" by greg paul.

Bob Spencer said...

I just looked it up on Amazon. It looks like a real good one, Nancy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.