Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random Book, Random Passage #1

Now that all my books are within arm's reach, I can play grab, flip, and share. I have a lot Mark Twain, so it's fitting that when I lurched towards the left-most bookcase and grabbed a book it turned out to be The Innocents Abroad. It's a Signet Classic edition from 1966. Obviously a used bookstore purchase as it's got "J. Borell" scrawled in ink along the bottom (the part that sits on the bookshelf) but I don't remember when or where I picked it up. Probably while in high school or college, so the off-campus bookstore in Storrs or the great used bookstore in Manchester (the name of which frustratingly escapes me right now Books & Birds) are likely candidates. Flipping and stopping at pg. 120 I let my eye drift to the first paragraph break and read:
I only meant to write about the churches, but I keep wandering from the subject. I could say that the Church of the Annunciation is a wilderness of beautiful columns, of statues, gilded moldings, and pictures almost countless, but that would give no one an entirely perfect idea of the thing, and so where is the use? One family built the whole edifice and have got money left. There is where the mystery lies. We had an idea at first that only a mint could have survived the expense.
I love it. Note where the mystery doesn't lie. It warms my atheist heart.  As with all expenditure of resources and time for religious purposes, I wonder how much better the world might be already if yesterday and today's wealthy elites decided to pour that wasted energy into building quality public schools or other infrastructure improvements for the common good instead.
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