I’ve just returned from spending the last several days and nights at St. Gregory’s Abbey, where the seven monks keep a small but rich library that smells gloriously of old, musty books. It is still maintained by a card catalog system, not computer. Guests of the Abbey can check out books during their stay, but the books cannot leave the grounds. Because of that, every time I visit, I experience a mild anxiety that I can only touch the books briefly, and so I rarely enter the library. This time I decided to plunge into the stacks and make a list of books I’d check out and take home, if I could. I suppose I did it to make myself feel better. Sometimes I write things down, as if the very act of writing on paper renders them a part of my life.
The shelves at the Abbey are not filled with books solely about religion. I found an Ann Landers encyclopedia, photography books, and a biography of Frank Zappa. Also, keep in mind I haven’t read these books, and they are not a recommended list. They are the books you would see in my car, if I could’ve brought them back to Ohio to ponder and read.