Monday, August 15, 2005

Books - big and otherwise

Nancy at Flying Stars (see links at side) does not normally respond to the various e-polls people resort to in order to stimulate discussions - and I think she is wise. (She stimulates excellent discussions on her own, as she is a Chestertonian.) But in the interests of literature, she has listed the books on her desk, which I enjoyed perusing (and seeing what I might be missing!) Rhapsody, who runs a new blog, (I believe we have seen such writings under another name, hee hee!) has asked me about the big books I have. On the desk I am presently at, there are NO books, as there is no room. Usually I hold them in my hand while working, then put them back. When reading I do not sit at a desk. (Horrors! Where would I put the beer? Why won't some high-tech firm start making keyboards with cupholders? Cars have them.)

Let's see, the big book question is shorter. First, I would never use books as projectiles. Of course I use them as weapons all the time, just as GKC did (it's always a choice between the book, the pen, or the keyboard.) And there is a scale here which would put the matter precisely, but I only have a limited time at present so I will hurry on to an answer. (I have been very busy recently, and perhaps when things settle will give some kind of report... I will hint that it MAY result in a REAL BOOK.)

The only big "non-ref" book I can think of, without getting up to see, is the one-volume Lord of the Rings. The biggest reference books - hmm, downstairs is a one-volume encyclopedia. Over in the corner is an edition of Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, and on top of that is Black's Law Dictionary. (Woof. Well, OK, I might drop that, especially if the target is a lawyer. Or a politician.)

Now, for the good stuff. Right BESIDE my desk, in seven ranks of six-foot shelves, are the main reference ("Reference, Miss Watson...") area. Some of the biggest books are here.
1. The most wonderful and long-sought-for Liddell and Scott GREEK LEXICON.
2. Ditto, Lewis and Short LATIN DICTIONARY, a gift from my co-workers (more on that also another day!)

Then there are some slightly smaller volumes, like Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar, the Handbook of Applied Mathematics, Gray's Anatomy (falling apart), a Handbook of Mathematical Functions, Grun's Timetables of History, and an old Official Catholic Directory.

But to list all the books as Nancy did would be boring (though perhaps curious). Just a small selection to distort your views of what it is I really do:

De Re Metallica
Medieval Cosmology
The Sources of Catholic Dogma
Burnham's Celestial Handbook (3 vols)
Boehm's The Flute and Flute Playing
Atlas of Human Histology
Scholastic Philosophy (as GKC says, logic works by Barbara - and it does!)
The Sanctifier
The Idea of a University
Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (oh, yes I am in one...)
Liber Usualis
The Roman Pontifical (another one it took AGES to get! Thanks, Loome, thanks!)
National Parks of the West
The Division and Method of the Sciences (by St. Thomas Aquinas!)

And nearly the complete works of Fr. Stanley K. Jaki.

So, care to guess? Nope. The one book which I OUGHT to have, in order to assist me in my work - or three - are: "Rerum Novarum" "Quadragesimo Anno" and "Centesimus Annus"... But they are in the side pouch of the laptop carrying case. (That will give you the hint of the book which is in gestation...)

Yes, there are some Chesterton books here, too - they are on the other wall, along with the Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops, Alicia in Terra Mirabilis, Boole's "The Laws of Thought" and a few others on various aspects of computing... oh, my, I forgot I had all those... ooo, there's that Vietnamese hymnal, I have to write about that one of these days... Homer, Virgil, Pieper Newman... Eimer's Tilted Haloes, which ought to include Jeff Miller's Curt Jester if they ever do a second edition - maybe that's where he gets all his best jokes!!!

Ah, yes, The Bridges of the World, the Pictorial Guide to the Moon, and the Atlas of the Nearby Galaxies (in case I feel like getting away for a while!) and there's Beeching's The Galleys at Lepanto, where I learned that they gave every man on board the galleys a rosary... that's for October, now... And The Admiral of Ocean Sea, with one of the greatest lines ever penned - I will get to that one also, God willing, in October!

I have to stop. I can hardly believe it. All the thousands of years of human effort poured into these volumes... and here they are, and when I need more I know where to go to find them...

Many books or few books, we ought to thank God every day that we can read.

Oh, God, may I use these great resources, and the even more wonderful gift of vision and the ability to read, to Thy glory, to the good of my soul, and to draw more to Thy love. Amen.


At 15 August, 2005 23:02, Blogger rhapsody said...

Thanks for the list, Dr. T-
does the local library ever come to you for reference material?
I am placing an order for at least three signed first editions when your book is published- my library can have one if they behave themselves- and my mom will want one- she's busy rereading Pearce's bio on (can't spell it)
Solzenhitsn- my apologies and I'm not checking it as I'm in the dark and stink at guessing where the keys are at.
You and Mrs. Brown win for Most Combined Heft- I'll ask Joe what the prize is :) I think it might be spam... :)


At 18 August, 2005 13:04, Blogger Robert Pearson said...

Amen, Good Doctor, amen!

At 19 August, 2005 11:39, Blogger Nancy C. Brown said...

Thank you for your kind comments.
Yes, I really avoid all tagging and e-polls.
And I do try to find interesting topics to write about, although I think its pretty interesting right here with Dr. T.
Your book list is most interesting, Dr. T, and shows an incredibly deep mind. Organ Pipes? What doest thou know about that? My mother plays the organ, and the Fabry organ company has a presence in our little town (also known for it's connection to Air Force One, if you recall).


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