“Parnassus on Wheels” by Christopher Morley, 1917, and its sequel “The Haunted Bookshop,” 1919, are two delightful books that make us glad there are books in this crazy world of ours.
It’s been more than 90 years since the first publication and Mifflin, the main character in each book, is just as memorable as he was in the early 1900s. He is on an itinerant mission of enlightenment.
His delight in books and authors is infectious. With his undaunted philosophy, he continues to represent the heart and soul of the book world. Here are a few of his thoughts that I found very profound.
• There is no such thing as a “good book.” A book is only good when it meets some human hunger or refutes some human error.
• If a book delights or terrifies the reader, that book becomes the living advertisement for the book and quite possibly the shelf or library where it is housed.
• Books are the depositories of the human spirit, which is the only thing in this world that endures.
Christopher Morley references to a bookstore in the following statement but I believe the word “library” fits nicely also.
“In every bookstore, small or large, there are books we have not read; books which may have messages of unsuspected beauty or importance. They may be new books, they may be of yesterday or of long ago.
“The store where you found this volume exists in the hope of knowing — and learning — about books. There is no habit more valuable than that of dropping into a bookstore occasionally to look around — to look both inward and outward.”
We have what you need though you may not know you need it.
“Anne of Green Gables” — L. M. Montgomery
“Penrod” — Booth Tarkington
“Roughing It” — Mark Twain
“The Pioneers” — James Fenimore Cooper
“Ben Hur” — Lou Wallace
“Silent Spring” — Rachel Carson
“Black Boy” — Richard Wright
“Education of Henry Adams” — Henry Adams
“Autobiography of Mark Twain” — Mark Twain
“Out of Africa” — Isak Dinesen
Come in, read something totally out of character for you. Learn something new that you can share with a friend. The knowledge you find in books is a powerful tool.