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My biannual dentist check up brought me to Collins Street this morning, which revealed a pleasant surprise. Reader’s Feast, my one time favourite bookstore, had relocated!
I spent hours and poured a fortune into this bookstore in my university days, when it was on the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets. The place shut its doors in 2011, and I wasn’t the only one who thought Reader’s Feast was finished.
It’s many many years since I browsed a bookstore. I buy all my books online now, which is cheaper and more convenient, but not as much fun. There’s something almost luxurious about wasting time in a bookstore!
I had intended to have a coffee with someone after the dental appointment, but since that didn’t work out, I figured I could blow the price of two coffees on this:
A Handful of Dust made it to Fr Hardon’s lifetime reading list, and George Weigel puts it in the running for Waugh’s finest novel. I’d have thought Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour trilogy vie for that title, and both also vie for greatest novel of the twentieth century in my estimation. If A Handful of Dust belongs to their league, it must be worth reading indeed!
Brideshead Revisited, incidentally, also graces the other Catholic lifetime reading plan I presented last week. Fr John McCloskey’s list is perhaps not as audacious as Fr Hardon’s, but then the genesis of his reading plan is quite different.
Where Fr Hardon published a book-length reading plan which is in itself worth reading for its survey of Catholic history and literature, Fr McCloskey’s list has much more practical origins. In the early 2000s, he was Director of Opus Dei’s Catholic Information Center in Washington DC, and one of his tasks included stocking the Center’s bookshop. His list of titles is less academic and more accessible than Fr Hardon’s. It includes many modern works which probably won’t be remembered in 100 years, but which are nonetheless useful to a contemporary audience. (See, for example, The Emotions God Gave You by Art and Laraine Bennett.)
The abundance of green demonstrates a significant cross over with Fr Hardon’s reading plan. I think Fr McCloskey’s list is every bit as interesting and helpful. Enjoy.
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