Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Monday, January 28, 2013
So Heather and I were able to spend a few hours at Powell's. Powell's is probably the largest used book store in the world. Usually I am inclined to think of used book stores as small places without a lot of variety. So when people really get serious about buying books, then tend to go to a place that sells new books. But a store this big beats those other fancy places all to pieces. So many books of every possible variety. I didn't have that much space for taking books back to China, so I really tried to limit myself, but I did find three good books.
The one I was most interested in was a book on Afghanistan. The author was George Bush Senior's ambassador to the Mujahideen during the years following the Soviet invasion. It looks like a real treasure in terms of helping to provide the historical context for the current situation.
On the left is a book called, Standard Seamanship for the Merchant Service, a book I just happened to notice on one of the shelves as I was walking by. This book was originally published in 1926, but the version I bought was revised in 1936. A little newer, but still old enough to be written in the days when there were still a few sailing ships plying waters of the seven seas. I was never a sailor, but my uncle was a merchant mariner until he was injured in Panama, and Dad worked as a shipfitter in the shipyards in California during World War II.
The book on the right is a cultural history of the city where I was born starting from the Edo kingdom during the time of the Tokugawa shoguns, to the end of the Showa (reign of Hirohito) period in 1989, when the man who had been emperor throughout World War II and my childhood passed away. I have never read a book that focuses specifically on Tokyo, so this should be interesting. And as a cultural history, it covers stuff that you don't usually read about, and it is written by someone who was a respected translator of Japanese literature. Solomon said, "Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh (Ecclesiastes 12:12)." So choose your books wisely. Life is short. You can't read every good book.