Tag Archives: books


I’ve finished two books this week.

This was a thoughtful read, and one that I deeply appreciate.  The guided meditations and ponderations have been fruitful.  I needed this book this summer.

I’m recommending this book for every academic department chair, dean, academic affairs officer.  This is an important read.  My take-aways are many and plentiful!

Euro18: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

The Great Hall of the Austrian National Library is a Baroque wonder. Built by Emperor Karl VI in the 1700s, it has survived the empire, the Nazis, and the tourists.  And it’s stunning.

My visit on Thursday could have lasted hours.

Facing the center of the hall is the extraordinary collection from military hero and aesthete Prince Eugene of Savoy, who built the Belvedere as well.

Manuscripts of Mahler (top) and Bruckner.


NYC18: books

I’m on holiday.

And I’m reading books.

On Wednesday I completed Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

And Saturday, whilst reading in Union Square park, I completed The Alto Wore Tweed.

Now I’m on to Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss.

My reading is nothing if not eclectic.


“No more books,” he said earlier in the week.

“No more books without some going out the door.” He had already culled two shelves of books in his office earlier in the week.

He sees books piled in nearly every room of the house. The stack on the kitchen table is 16 inches high. The stack on the dining room floor is more than two feet from top to bottom.

Books are everywhere.

And then he goes to Barnes & Noble to see his niece for a few minutes.

And spies the $2 table.

“Just one,” he thinks.

But just one is not in his DNA.

And thus he arrives home with six new books, a bargain at less than $18 including tax!


A few weeks ago, one of our Webster alums posted a query on Facebook.  Seems he needed some new reading material, and was looking for suggestions for fiction, but also for books that had “stuck with” over time.

I made three suggestions:

And I’m thinking, during these troubling days, that perhaps I should re-read all three?

A book

I had one of those “I’m sad I finished this book” moments this past weekend.

Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, and a rather frustrating phone call, led me to the decision to cancel my evening plans and stay home.

After dinner of lamb burgers and cold potatoes dressed in lemon and olive oil, I made a quick trip to the market for a few odds and ends.

And then at about 8.30 p.m. I sat down with James Woodforde‘s The Diary of a Country Parson.

On the Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral choir tour last summer, many of us learned of this book as we were in Norwich, England, where Parson Woodforde was the rector of a parish in that dioecese.

I’d started this book in June, and had picked away at it.  Since it’s a diary, and the entries are short, one can easily set the book aside.  But this past week I’d been more intentional in reading the parson’s account of life in Norfolkshire.

After about an hour, I had finished the last 100 pages, and found myself with tears in my eyes.

In offering the book to other folks on the tour, I wrote “What a wonder, this little tome!  The parson unwittingly has provided us a cultural, dietary, fashion, social and economic history of his age.  And for anyone who loves history, this is just a fun read.”

So Parson Woodforde’s diary is now in the hands of Lenette, who will pass it along to Joyce, who will likewise pass it along.

I found in Parson Woodforde a bit of myself: some of the melancholy, some of the impatience and even intolerance with others, so of the simple piety (I hope).

Thanks be to God for good and faithful servants like James Woodforde, for slices of life from centuries ago, and for the reminder to be thankful for the comforts we celebrate now.