I generally loan out books freely. I feel much more justified for the amount of money I spend on them if 10 other people read them, than if it’s just for me.
BUT there is this one book.
I like books by Harold Bell Wright. I first read ‘Shepherd of the Hills’ and was totally hooked. I buy every one I see, even if I already own a copy simply because I can’t resist.
The first time I read “The Eyes of the World” I read slowly. Going back to reread certain parts. That is a very rare thing for me to do, but I didn’t mind with this book, I wanted to reread it and I very much didn’t want to get through it.
I think maybe I like it because it puts into words the things I want to say but cannot. Well, it doesn’t exactly say them either, but somehow you feel and experience the things you can normally only feel and experience when you really are alone in the mountains.
Maybe I simply like it because I love the mountains and I love blackberries.
But more likely, it’s the spiritual aspect of the book that I love. The portrayal of human nature and the startling contrast between the ways of the World and all that is good and right.
Part of the reason I don’t let people borrow this book is because it’s old and fragile and I’d rather not have it torn but it’s not really that I’m worried about. I’m afraid they wouldn’t understand it, afraid they wouldn’t like it, and I simply couldn’t handle that. I don’t like to see the things I love picked apart and criticized. I want to simply love them.
I took the risk once. She was a kindred spirit, I’d known her for several years and I felt she would understand. She did. She read it carefully and returned it promptly. We discuss it sometimes. Almost reverently, in low tones. We don’t say a lot,
“I’m reading that book again”
And we stand and look towards the mountains together.