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book culture shop interior nyc

I have a book-buying problem.

There are many reasons for this, chief among them my deep love for the written word and the preponderance of great bookstores in Boston (where I live) and specifically in Harvard Square (where I work).

Within half a mile of my office are at least five bookstores, including Harvard’s mammoth campus bookstore; a basement used bookshop full of scholarly titles; a foreign-language bookshop; a tiny bookshop devoted exclusively to poetry; and a big, eclectic independent bookstore with titles on hundreds of subjects and a basement bursting with used books. After living most of my life in bookshop-poor West Texas, I can hardly believe all these literary riches are at my fingertips.

I’m over at Jessica’s site, Quirky Bookworm, today, talking about my book-buying addiction. Click over there to read the rest of my post!

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For a lifelong reader, I came late to the work of Madeleine L’Engle.

madeleine l'engle books shelf collection

I didn’t have a taste for fantasy as a child, so I never read A Wrinkle in Time or any of its sequels. For years, I didn’t know that Madeleine had written other books, that in fact her oeuvre ranged from adult fiction to memoir to poetry. But when my friend Teresa sold off a few of her books at the end of one semester in college, I picked up an old paperback copy of Walking on Water, Madeleine’s book of reflections on faith and art. And for nearly two years after that, I could be found with one of her books – The Small Rain, A Circle of Quiet, the entire Time Quintet – in my hand.

I love all Madeleine’s work in different ways, but A Circle of Quiet gave me a phrase that continues to resonate, striking a deep gong in my soul.

She recounts:

A winter ago I had an after-school seminar for high-school students and in one of the early sessions Una, a brilliant fifteen-year-old, a born writer who came to Harlem from Panama five years ago, and only then discovered the conflict between races, asked me, “Mrs. Franklin, do you really and truly believe in God with no doubts at all?”

“Oh, Una, I really and truly believe in God with all kinds of doubts.”

But I base my life on this belief.

That quiet anecdote, slipped in between Madeleine’s musings on ontology (the why of being) and a digression on the punctuation of A Wrinkle in Time, has changed the way I view faith, and the way I view life.

I’m at Micha Boyett’s blog today, participating in her One Good Phrase series. Click over there to read about how Madeleine’s phrase continues to resonate for me.

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I’m over at Jessica’s site, Quirky Bookworm, today, talking about my passion for rereading as part of her Love of Reading Week. (Jessica is a fellow Shelf Awareness reviewer, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of this fun series.) Head on over and check it out!

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