We have always seen the reading of books — fiction and nonfiction — as a spiritual activity. We like to have imaginary conversations with the authors. We usually put check marks by the passages which impress or challenge us; a book with many check marks is one we have taken to heart. And we mine our books for the database of spiritual quotations on our computer server, which we are in the process of uploading to SpiritualityandPractice.com. We are especially appreciative of quotes that stir the imagination, rev up our soul, and open our hearts and minds to the great mysteries of life.
In an article in The New York Times, Geoffrey O'Brien, the editor in chief of the Library of America and general editor of the 18th edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, admits that quotes are "the mental furniture" of his life. We would agree given the large number of spiritual books we read and all the quotes we use in our reviews. We also concur with O'Brien's salute to the access we now have to the words of authors from long ago. Reading what they've written creates a deep connection with their thoughts and passions.
We agree with the author's delight in reading books of quotations. Many of them do make "irresistible reading" as they "surf millenniums of cultural history." One of our favorite quotations is by the veteran essayist Joseph Epstein:
"A book in one's own library is in a sense a brick in the building of one's being, carrying with it memories, a small block of one's personal intellectual history, and associations unsortable in their profusion."
The quotes in the books we review are more bricks in the building of our being. We intend to keep on reading and sharing quotations with the hope that they will, as they have for us, work wonders in your consciousness.