Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Laundromat Books

Back in the days when I had to take my laundry to a laundromat, I'd often take a book along with me to read. One of my favorite "laundromat books" was Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon. The story of how he took off in his old creaky van, and drove all around the United States. I just loved browsing in that book endlessly.

It seems that many of my favorite books are eminently browseable. Boswell's Life of Johnson. Montaigne's Essays. Thoreau's Walden. Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. Or the beautifully written three-volume autobiography of philosopher George Santayana: Persons and Places, The Middle Span, and My Host the World. Browseable books you read like a bee buzzing from one flower to another, in search of nectar. In contrast with the kind of book that is best read through from cover to cover, like an arrow flying straight toward its target.

"Bee" books versus "arrow" books. The books I prefer are not so very seldom "bee" books. How about you?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Lucy said...

Arrow books are hard for me now, with children everywhere and a husband that can't find matching socks if they jump off the floor and bite him.

But, its not great hardship as I've always enjoyed "bee" books too. Especially cookbooks. I can read and re-read anything by the Frugal Gourmet. Each recipe comes with a story.

Recently, I was fascinated to find a cookbook by Pat Conroy. The writing is exquisite! The recipes aren't bad.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 8:28:00 AM  

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