Here and There

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jayber Crow

I received this book for my birthday and began it immediately. I had to put it aside to read a book club book and then got back into it slowly, reading a few pages when I could. But a couple weeks ago, after reading some especially good pages it gave me that itch that good books do. I had to read it, I thought about what I had read when I wasn't reading it and imagined what I might read when I got the chance to read it again!

And so, I read the last half quickly, lapping it up. It is a wonderful book. I would love to discuss it, deconstruct it a bit, but for this blog I will just say a few things I loved about it.

1) Jayber Crow is the best male protagonist I've read in a long time. He is good and loves good, but has his imperfections and flaws. He has a modesty that makes him quite loveable. Always sees himself on the edge, loving his community and his home so much, observing constantly, battling his own shortcomings constantly.

2) I love good nature writing...words about woods, rivers, country. There is good nature writing in this book. Not boring.

3) I love the spiritual aspect. It is not religious, as much as holistic. I like that.

Here's a quote I like:

"The river and the garden have been the foundations of my economy here. Of the two I have liked the river best. It is wonderful to have the duty of being on the river the first and last thing every day. I have loved it even in the rain. Sometimes I have loved it most in the rain.

No matter how much it may be used by towing companies and water companies and commercial fishermen and trappers and the like, the river doesn't belong to the workaday world. And no matter how much it is used by pleasure boaters and water-skiers and the like, it doesn't belong to the vacation world either. It is never concerned, if you can see what I mean. Nothing keeps to its own way more than the river does. Another thing: No matter how corrupt and trashy is necessarily must be at times in this modern world, the river is never apart from beauty. Partly, I suppose, this is becuase it always keeps to its way.

Sometimes, living right beside it, I forget it. Going about my various tasks, I don't think about it. And then it seems just to flow back into my mind. I stop and look at it. I think of its parallel, never-meeting banks, which yet never part. I think of it lying there in its long hollow, at the foot of all the landscape, a single opening from its springs in the mountains all the way to its mouth. It is a beautiful thought, one of the most beautiful of all thoughts. I think it not in my brain only but in my heart and in all the lengths of my bones."

--Wendell Berry

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