Ahh… Pleasure Reading At Last!
Having been in graduate school for the last three years means that I am a bit behind in my pleasure reading. Therefore upon receiving a Kindle for a graduation gift (thank you family and friends), I got right to work catching up. Of course I went for the free books, which fortunately for me, were the very ones I preferred to read. Call me a narrow-minded, Western Euro-trash, white, old person, but I love to read the classics. Since Joe went off of his usual path (history, murder mysteries, politics) and was reading Pride and Prejudice (still not sure how that happened), I decided to begin there so we could talk about the characters together.
When I noticed Blue Like Jazz on the bookshelf of our nephew/cousin’s China apartment (how one can be a nephew AND a cousin requires its own entry), I picked it up, and began reading a chapter or two each day in between appointments, daily write-ups, and jet lag. My dear friend Connie had showed me the book about 8 years ago, and thought I would enjoy it. I would have, but somehow I never got around to reading it till this summer. For those unfamiliar with Donald Miller’s work, this book’s title includes this description: “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” He had me already.
Never mind that I had mistakenly thought of the title as “Blue Light Jazz”, a reference to my pre-Wal-Mart youth when apparently I spent a little too much time at K-Mart. To show you how my mind works, I had already created a conceptual framework from this incorrect title. Blue Light was a reference to the famous K-Mart blue light specials, and Jazz was simply a word used to mean stuff, as in the expression all that jazz. Donald Miller, I speculated, was writing about how Christianity should not be peddled like a K-Mart blue light special. Actually, I was not far off the mark, as those who have read the book can concur. Apologies of course to Mr. Miller, who, from my impressions of him in the book, would not be upset, but would probably laugh. But I digress.
I’ll Take Unlikely Pairings for 500 Please Alex
Reading Pride and Prejudice, and Blue Like Jazz simultaneously may seem to be an odd pairing. Upon further reflection however, I found the two books to have a similar theme: authenticity. Donald Miller, and Elizabeth Bennet both were keen observers of human nature, and introspective thinkers who came to see that their own prejudices shaped their views, and in turn, their behavior in a way that could have allowed them to miss out on some pretty good things. In Mr. Miller’s case it was God, and in Miss Bennet’s case, Mr. Darcy, (and let’s not forget a home in Pemberley).
However the books both got me to thinking about my own prejudices, and how limiting they are. And no, I am not going to name them all here, but merely admit that I have them. Well, ok, I will share one; I am prejudiced against people who have tattoos. There, I said it. And some of the people I love the most have tattoos, so that is a tough one for me. One can learn a lot of good stuff from Jane Austen and Donald Miller, especially when you read them at the same time. What’s next? Possibly Alexander Dumas’ The Three Muskateers, and Yun & Hattaway’s The Heavenly Man I am thinking.