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I was searching my bookcase for something. Standing back to scan the titles, I forgot what I was looking for when I saw the lineup of books. They were in a random order, having been moved and juggled about the shelves many times over the years. At first, I saw an interesting still life picture with the bands of color displayed across the shelves.
It was only afterward that I looked into the image and took note of the content. Here, for all to see is a part of me. I am presenting a glimpse of material that has influenced me in some way. I had read these books and thought enough of them to keep them. Looking over the titles brought to mind the interesting stories and ideas uncovered through the years.
how Colin Fletcher brought the tedious job of backpacking into
order to help me enjoy treks into the wild. Through his books, I
would enthusiastically absorb his mentoring as he solo hiked the
entire length of Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and the
John McPhee makes any subject he covers interesting. He brings complete and thorough background research and personal interviews into a narrative that is insightful and easily understood by those of us less informed. His themes are the most varied of any author I have read.
As a young
boy, Jack London swept me into his swashbuckling adventure
tales. His stories ranged from prospecting the Alaskan frontier
to oyster pirating off the .
The very first book I can remember reading was Paddle-To-The-Sea. I had recently purchased a copy of it, and still open it from time to time to read a chapter of two.
And of course, there is the simple elegance of Dr Seuss. Oh, the places you’ll go!! His verse has a metronomic cadence that pulls you through the entire story. I even like his invention of names for his creatures.
rhymes are always ever so clever
“How to Think like Leonardo Davinci” reset my views on accepting opinion, hearsay, and accusation as nothing more than just that. Author Michael Gelb brings forward the seven principles of Davinci’s thinking as compiled from his notes. I identify with the aims of Curiosita, Dimostrazione, and Sensazione. I fully accept the principles of Arte/Scienza and Connessione, but am still working on Sfumato and Corporalita. Gelb presents Davinci as a remarkable man, the stuff of his own legends, very much larger than life. He may have been all that, but really, Mr. Gelb, I remain skeptical that he could straighten a horseshoe with his bare hands.
Who is my favorite author? The answer will change with the mood. I do know that James Herriot will always be at or near the top of my list. Each of his chapters stands out as a complete and delightful short story composition. I can open any of his books, randomly open to any chapter, and enjoy a complete story with an insightful ending. He masterfully blends personality, drama, and humor into all of his stories.
Of course, there are more shelves, with more books and more authors. Do the books on our shelves give a meaningful reflection of the inner person? If so, then here is a little bit of me.
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All images and writings Copyright Bill Bernbeck
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University Avenue ♦ Rochester, NY
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