A Scriptorium, if it brings you joy

I used to read Russell Baker’s New York Times column religiously, and Growing Up was one of my all-time favorites. 

Growing Up.Russell BakerThis is a continuation of “I cannot throw out these books,” in response to Jaquandor’s Scriptorium piece. It is a counterpoint to Tidying Up’s Marie Kondo, who has said, “I now keep my collection of books to about thirty volumes at any one time.” That doesn’t mean YOU should have only 30 books, she added, if they bring you joy.


The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith – Marcus J. Borg (2003). In many ways, my own story.

The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community – -Eric H.F. Law (1993). In the late 1990s, my wife and were sent to Maryland to get training on multiculturalism by Law himself.

Methodist Hymnal (1851) – an ex-girlfriend gave it to me. It has lyrics but no music because it was ASSUMED that everyone knew the tunes.

The Methodist Hymnal (1935) – it was used by the church I grew up in. Same ex-girlfriend refers to it as the “REAL Methodist Hymnal.” She is correct.

Here and Now: Living in the Spirit – Henri J.M. Nouwen (1994) – In this blog, I have often quoted the birthday section on March 7.

Gandhi, An Autobiography: The story of my experiments with truth – Mohandas K. Gandhi. Written in the late 1920s, published in the US in 1957 and starting to fall apart from overuse.


Life Itself -Roger Ebert (2011). Naturally.

The Twilight Zone Companion – Marc Scott Zicree (1982). “The complete show-by-show guide to one of the greatest television shows ever.”

Word Freak – Stefan Fatsis (2001) – a book about Scrabble, which I used to play with my dear great-aunt Deana before she died in the mid-1960s

Uncle Andy’s: a faabbbulous visit with Andy Warhol – James Warhola (2003) – a book about Andy Warhol I got at the Norman Rockwell Museum in the past couple of years

Leonard Maltin’s 2015 movie guide, because it’s the last one

Love Is Hell – Matt Groening (1984). Before there was a single episode of the Simpsons, there was the HELL cartoon book series: Childhood is Hell, School is Hell, Work is Hell, The Road to Hell, all of which I own


Roberts Rules of Order – given to me when I was elected Binghamton Central High School student government president in 1970 by the late Pat Wilson/Curry

The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, An Oxford Freshman – Cuthbert Bede. I’ve never read this 1856 book “with numerous illustrations”, but I don’t need to.

Thinking in Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math – Daniel Tammet (2012). I did a talk on this for the Friends of Albany Public Library

The Fate of the Earth- Jonathan Schell (1982). about avoiding nuclear annihilation, a real policy wonk piece. And somewhere in the middle of the book, was some hopeful narrative citing Socrates and Jesus, that was almost poetic in its verbiage, and it made me smile. I even used it at a ceremony once.

Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life – Sissela Bok (1979) – one of the most significant books I’ve ever read

Growing Up – Russell Baker (1982). I used to read his New York Times column religiously, and the book was one of my all-time favorites.  I was really sad to note that one of America’s most celebrated writers had died recently at the age of 93

Blogoversary Number Seven

I doubt I ever mentioned this here, but I loved Russell Baker.

I was reading the comments for Ken Levine’s sixth blogoversary about five months ago when I came across this:

“Russell Baker, in my opinion, the best columnist ever to adorn a newspaper, once said that he became a columnist with the thought that now he had the freedom to disgorge the contents of his brain. After three weeks of columns, he realized that he had already disgorged the entire contents of his brain.”

I doubt I ever mentioned this here, but I loved Russell Baker. I used to follow his column in the New York Times religiously. I’ve read at least three of his books; Growing Up, one of his autobiographies, was one of my favorite tomes for a long time. I still own it, so I probably should reread it, but probably won’t.

Anyway, I disgorged the contents of my brain six years and 49 weeks ago, and yet I’m STILL writing this blog. Some people just don’t know when to quit. As a buddy of mine, who’s been blogging about as long as I, but not quite as proficiently, stated recently, “Yeah, but you’re a tad, shall we say OCD on the whole blog thing, Rog.” Well, maybe. I’ve been known to be writing three weeks ahead, when the muse strikes, to make up for those weeks when I write almost nothing. At least I stopped multiple blog posts per day.

The one thing I did this year that made sense was to get this blog on Networked Blogs, which allows automatic tweets, and (I think) Facebook posts to be generated. I think social media is fine – just don’t sign me up for Farmville or the like, because I WILL block it – but I just don’t have the time to actively use them much. Writing the blog every day is a lot easier/more interesting to me than promoting it.

Happy blogoversary to moi.

And because I always need a song to celebrate just about everything, here is 7 and 7 Is by Love, featuring Arthur Lee.

Expect more navel-gazing throughout the month.


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