Home From the Holidays

Margaret and I landed at Heathrow this morning, walked a half mile or so through the entrails of Terminal 3, and breezed through passport control in a flash (honestly, could not have been any faster, amazingly). We meandered to the Central Bus Station and went directly to the Oxford coach, which left after admitting us, and in no time flat we were at home in Abingdon.

Since then we’ve staggered up and down stairs, snacked, dozed, and generally permitted ourselves to absorb the shock of having spent the night in flight and having changed five time zones. I read all of Alan Jacobs’s Breaking Bread with the Dead, tallying one book against my total for 2024. It is, of course, a very superficial thing to count the books one reads and to keep a running tab for the year; but since I have almost entirely lost my capacity to read at length, I am adopting this gross gesture in the hope of kick-starting my literary temperament once again.

Breaking Bread with the Dead makes a robust case for reading old books carefully — a case that harmonises exquisitely with my own sensibilities. If I were setting curricula for classes, I’d be tempted to assign Jacobs as a preparatory source for my students (perhaps along with, or alternating with Rowan Williams’s Why Study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church). I’ll want to come back to Jacobs if Margaret and I get around to writing our ‘Goodness of the Bad, Badness of the Good’ project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *