Politics Magazine

Coffeeshop Reading and Its Dangers

Posted on the 21 December 2012 by Erictheblue


I got a kick out of this over at 3 Quarks Daily. As one who has done a lot of reading in coffeeshops, I have some experience of my own with the unsolicited literary criticism of fellow customers.  If you're reading a "great book," such as a "classic novel," you tend to attract cult followers of the particular author, or cultural bag ladies who are all agog over a man reading [fill in the name of famous author], and you end up having an embarrassing conversation that sounds sort of like what I imagine is said at a book club formed by some over-earnest ladies whose husbands had the good sense to major in Business Administration.

This general subject has been on my mind, because I've been thinking of doing some Bible-reading, but I don't want to do it in a public place.  I meet enough crackpots without using bait.  So I thought I'd use technology to disguise my Bible, a formerly impossible task, and, it turns out, currently still a difficult one, as the only e-Bibles I could find are clearly intended for enthusiasts.  I do not want the King James version with the words of Jesus in bold script, and I do not want any jazzy or hip-hop versions, either.  I want a decent study Bible, such as The Oxford Annotated Bible, that I can read on my Nook in a coffeeshop. That there doesn't seem to be much of a market for what I want suggests to me that my reason for undertaking a little Bible study is on target.  Regarding commentary on the Bible, there are oceans of devotional pap and continents of manifest balderdash, also considerable ridicule, much of it smug and uninformed.  I thought I'd open a new blog category, the Books of the Bible, and give a straight account of what I think people should know about them.  I'd have to dodge around plenty--I want more than three entries before stalling out, and Numbers is not my favorite--but maybe, if I could attain a certain critical mass, I'd persevere to the end and compile sixty-six entries in the category: a mini-commentary on the Bible.

The world will be deprived of this contribution to scholarship if I cannot find a decent e-Bible to read on my coffeebreaks.

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