Tip Tuesday — Best Book, Alive or Dead

This is one of those “think fast” Tip Tuesdays where I ask you a question and you just have to say the first thing that comes to your mind without agonizing over it. I’d like the format to resemble the conversations the old men have in “Return to Me” while playing poker.

“Best singer of all time, alive or dead?”

They all give answers and then fight about them with fake Irish old man accents. Well, the old man part isn’t fake but I’m pretty sure the Irish is fabricated.

I’d like today to be like that, without the fighting and without the accents. List your favorite book at the moment you read this post. This doesn’t mean it’s the best book ever written or even in the top one thousand, scientifically. Just type something that strikes you as great.

-No books of scripture can be listed. I’m sure you’re all very spiritual and read all kinds of the Talmud but I don’t want all of the answers to be the same.
-No children’s books this week. We’ll do that next month or some time when I feel like it.
-You can only list ONE, not one per genre, not one for each hand, not one for every college degree you are currently pursuing, ONE – PERIOD.

I choose Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner for Non-Fiction, typically found in the Nature or Essay section of your friendly neighborhood bookstore.

Speaking of bookstores, am I the only person who gets this ache inside whenever they see prime retail space available for lease and wishes they could open a successful independent bookstore that wouldn’t be crushed immediately by the Evil Duo? Ahhhh, dreams.

I opened the book and found this random excerpt to share with you:

Catch it if you can. The present is an invisible electron; its lightning path traced faintly on a blackened screen is fleet, and fleeing, and gone.

That I ended this experience prematurely for myself — that I drew scales over my eyes between me and the mountain and gloved my hand between me and the puppy — is not the only point. After all, it would have ended anyway. I’ve never seen a sunset or felt a wind that didn’t. The levitating saints came down at last, and their two feet bore real weight. No, the point is that not only does time fly and do we die, but that in these reckless conditions we live at all, and are vouchsafed, for the duration of certain inexplicable moments, to know it.

You can open to any page and find that she weaves her descriptions of the world around her with profound insight. Ah, to write with the power of Annie Dillard, to live for one day having a mind so alive and vivid. Sometimes I feel that she sees more in one sunset than I could see in a thousand hours of plodding along through my daily grind.

Now, let the games begin. Favorite book at this moment, alive or dead?

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