IF IT TOOK me 30 years to get around to
reading "Act One", a book I've had on my
bookshelf, I guess 2 months isn't so deplorable. That's how long it took me to pick up "Tattoos on the Heart", the book Nadine and I bought in January when Gregory Boyle spoke at the local Kiwanis Club. It has accumulated a little personal history since we bought it. Nadine had a copy inscribed by Father Boyle to Windsor Manor. I asked just for the signature when I purchased my copy, thinking I'd read it carefully and give it as a birthday gift.
We processed it for the library, which consists of stamping the ownership on the title page and noting inside the back cover when the library acquired it. New-to-us books get placed on a rack just inside the library door. It took its place near another book we'd read and raved about to many of the residents. ("Losing Mum & Pup" by Christopher Buckley.......a memoir, both critical and at the same time loving, of his parents) We urged all people who read in their free time to consider these two titles.
When Harvey and Sheila arrived to stay in a guest room for a week, the library, of course, was one of the first stops. I wanted them to check out the two books, feeling absolutely positive that they'd enjoy both. I went to reach for one of them and not only was it missing, but so was the other title. GONE! I quickly went to the check-out area where residents note what books are borrowed, but there was no trace of the titles there. Between us, Nadine and I scoured the shelves with no success, we announced the disappearance of the books at the Residents Association Meeting, we wrote a short article for the newsletter, pleading for their return with no success.
Feeling we'd waited long enough, finally we went out and purchased another of the Buckley book and I donated my copy of "Tattoos on the Heart", making sure I was the first to check it out. Once a bookseller, always a bookseller, for now that I have only two chapters to go, I'm urging you to run out and find a copy. What stories the author has to tell and the preachy bits (after all, he IS a man of the cloth), a little off-putting at first, really do belong where he put them. I don't know when I've been so moved by a book. I've had to put it down several times until my sight recovered from being tear-dimmed.
Unfortunately, I've misplaced the red book in which for years I've written quotations from books I'm reading. I guess I'll need to start a new one for there was a sentence in "Tattoos on the Heart" that sums up my reason for continuing to write this blog:
"This way will not pass again and so there is a duty to be mindful of that which delights and keeps joy at the center, distilled from all that happens to us in a day."
I firmly believe that. It's one of the joys of reading to come across words that perfectly convey a feeling that until now you've not been able to give voice to.
I beg you, don't delay.