2.25.2007

Church Library and Why I Have Mixed Feelings about Michael Phillips

I was struck again at church today by how odd it is that no one seems to know of the library's existence. I was drawn to its forgotten shelves instantly, before we were even officially going to Vintage. I loved it's pokiness, the clunky wood shelves, tartan couches & picture of John Knox on the wall-it really reminded us both of St. Andrew's kirk in West Kilbride, Scotland. Some of the books are hopelessly outdated and the whole room had an air of disuse. Whatever it is that makes me like jumble sales and coffee mornings at Anglican churches drew me in-the expectation of crocheted doilies and old church ladies writing labels with shaky handwriting. Maybe it is being a child of the Jesus People movement. My childhood church was all jeans and folding chairs, and guitars around a campfire. Nice, but lacking in little old church ladies. As we started to regularly show up for church I kept coming back to the library, just checking in, like visiting an old relative at a nursing home (actually, like visiting my Scottish great-gran at the Eastern Star nursing home in Los Gatos.) I wandered over to the fiction section and discovered that this library had an awful lot of my favourite writers, namely Lewis and MacDonald. The amazing thing was that they had 'Til We Have Faces', which is Lewis' least accesible book for the evangelical world that claims him as their prophet. That and his space trilogy. George MacDonald's 'Curdie' books, and his novels. Of course, these novels are the ones that have been shanghai-ed by Michael Phillips, not only translated from the Scots dialect (for which I begrudgingly thank him) but also edited, renamed and packaged to look like a flipping historical Christian romance novel! Grrrr! I feel like I should be carrying them in a paper bag. The editing and renaming is so hard to forgive. And most if not all of these books were out of print when Michael got his romancey mitts on them, so this is the only choice I have if I want to read them at all. I did find an old original copy of Robert Falconer at an Oxfam in Glasgow, in the cool Hillhead district. This is now renamed The Musician's Quest, or something similarly insipid. My favourite of his Victorian novels, Sir Gibbie, is now called The Baronet's Song, which is just so sacharine and irritating. Granted, I like his fantasy novels and fairy stories best of all, but his novels should have been treated with a little more respect. I will say that it does make me prove my love for MacDonald's writings, if I'll be caught in public with one of his (edited & renamed) novels like The Curate's Awakening. Geesh! Mr. Phillips, himself a historical romance writer, must think of this tarting-up of MacDonald's books an improvement. I think he lives in Eureka. I want to meet him and parley.

1 comment:

Shannon Marie said...

You are perusing the libraries of our church, and I have never met you !? How is this possible !?

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.