Bookmail: The Desert Fathers

Two weekends ago, Deb Nance at the blog Readerbuzz mentioned the book, The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, and I told her that it looked “intriguing.” She then offered to give me her copy of the book, if I sent her my mailing address via e-mail. I did and this past week received it, along with a letter from Deb, or Debbie, as I now learned she also likes to be called. With her permission, I have included the letter here along with a photo of the book:

First, I must comment on her cursive writing: exquisite, but not a complete surprise as she was a school librarian for many years. My own handwriting, and even print, is atrocious, completely and utterly ruined by years of working at newspapers and making my own chickenscratch shorthand that even I couldn’t, and still can’t, decipher at times. It is the reason at work I prefer to leave notes on the computer.

Second, to Deb’s comment about some of the sayings being “downright odd,” I have to say just based on the cover that I’m not surprised. I didn’t really look at it when I first got the book, but then a day or two later, I looked…what the heck?!? According to a description on the back of the book, the cover is “A Hippocentaur showing St. Anthony the Hermit the way to to St. Paul the Hermit, detail from the Livres des Merveilles (c. 1412) by the Master of Boucicault and Master of the Bedford Hours, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (Ms. francais, 2810, fol. 91) (photo AK London).” To see the full photo from the manuscript it was taken from, click here. My wife’s two cents: “So he’s getting directions from a centaur. Maybe St. Anthony should have hung out with some people once in a while.”

I don’t think this is one I’ll be reading in one sitting, but instead will read it “in bits and pieces,” as Deb suggested, and I might not finish it in its entirety. That said, I do look forward to perusing it over the next few months. Thanks again, Deb/Debbie, for sending me the book and the thoughtful and well-written (in both form and content) letter.