21 July 2007

Harry Potter and the hordes of tourists

I'm afraid Harry Potter is another cultural phenomenon that has passed me by, although I did catch up on Twin Peaks after the series ended, so perhaps the final Harry Potter book is my cue to get on board.

I was in both Borders bookshops in central Chicago today, and both were playing intense, sweeping, epic-sounding orchestral music over their sound systems. Barber, I wondered? Or who was that other guy who wrote the big epic film scores? Bennett? It took me far too long to figure out that the music had to be a Harry Potter soundtrack. Every so often an "associate" would announce that another box of the new books was being opened for sale to those who hadn't reserved one, in addition to the books set aside for those who had. Long lines formed immediately.

Gorgeous day to be walking out there among the happy tourists. I love doing that. I enjoy helping people who ask for directions, provided they ask for something I've heard of or are not hopelessly positioned to get where they intend to go. Feels nice to live in a place that has many, many tourists. Helps me re-appreciate everything that's available here and not take it for granted.

19 July 2007

A kindred spirit

For a moment I thought this was a photo of one of my bookshelves. I seriously have all of these but two. It can be an addiction. And unlike Confessing Evangelical, I've delved into the whole world of monastic daily prayer. But that's another shelf.

I'm interested in one of Confessing Evangelical's commenters who quotes George Guiver on the Office being mainly psalmody and intercession. Leaving out extensive Scripture readings would certainly make my imagined breviary project more manageable. Hmm. The idea of a one-book breviary isn't so far-fetched if that's the case.

16 July 2007

Rescuing broken records

I'm finding this very exciting: the prospect of rescuing sounds off deteriorating, even broken, records:
At the Library of Congress, in a small, white room with bright red carpet, physicist Carl Haber sits down to play a record from 1930. It's a recording of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe." But here's the strange thing: This record is broken.
Here's the full story. Check the audio samples.
I guess it makes sense that there would eventually be a visual or photographic way to play old records.

15 July 2007

Benedictine books of note

I'd have to say that the little book that introduced me to Benedictine values lived "in the world" was Fr. Brian C. Taylor's book Spirituality for Everyday Living: An Adaptation of the Rule of St.Benedict.

Here's one reviewer's quote from the Amazon site: "I just finished this book last night, and I found it to be very inspiring, and insightful. The author is an episcopalian priest, married with family. He really brings an interesting insight to the Rule of Benedict coming from someone who is a pastor by profession and a parent. I found the book to be a concise quick read, and the page layout was just fine. For Oblates or those wishing to become Oblates add this book to your reading list. The author being someone who is married with children lays out simple ways for the laity to incorporate the Rule of Benedict in everyday life. I am Catholic and I did appreciate the neutrality of this book. I believe this book serves well as an excellent read for Benedictines of the Catholic or Anglican tradition."

Others I favor:

Abbot Parry's translation of the Rule, with intro by Esther deWaal and with reading dates.

Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary and Workbook on the Rule of St Benedict, by Norvene Vest (with Fr Luke Dysinger's Rule translation)

The Path of Life: Benedictine Spirituality for Monks and Lay People by Fr Cyprian Smith OSB