Friday, June 13, 2008

Cheap Books and the Grim Pill

In past years no trip to Portland was complete without a visit to Pilgrim Discount or, as my sister's husband affectionately called it, "The Grim Pill." Pilgrim's books were never really cheap, but it had a great selection of used biblical studies and theology titles; with no online presence it was always worthwhile visiting in person. I found out yesterday afternoon that the venerable bookshop is closing its doors, so I hurried down for one last look. With everything discounted 80% for several days already, the pickings were slim, but I still walked away with a handful of books on Luke-Acts, Jesus, and the Gospels that I thought were worth picking up for about $2 each.

I almost missed another deal a couple weeks ago when I wandered into the academic building and discovered that one of my colleagues had spent the day giving away half his library. I grabbed a few leftover OT titles I will most likely never read, and walked off smiling at my good fortune, but also a little puzzled. Eric said the pruning process was liberating:
feel such a sense of release and relief - when they were on my shelves, I felt like I needed to read them sometime, and it was a burden. And it got in the way of just reading the Bible! The more I teach the Bible, the more I realize how good the Bible is at communicating on its own - a lot of it will get into you if you just sit with it. . . . The prof I most respect from my time in seminary once told us that we should only spend about 1/3 of our time in commentaries, and the rest just in the text. That is not a rule I've followed - maybe now I'll be able to. . . . I'm hoping that the Bible will become clearer to me and that I'll spend more time on the books that really matter - ones that I'll read more than once and actually find helpful. (Read the whole post here).
I am not ready to pare down my library yet. Who knows, I may need those books some day, I may have more time in a few years, I... I have to admit he has me thinking, especially as I am still acquiring books faster than I have time to read them.

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