Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The joy of learning

This morning I dressed early, as I've signed up for relief teaching this week. A call could come anytime from 7am. When I wasn't called by 9.30 I was able to plan my day. It felt like an extra holiday day. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I don't get paid. Details!)

I did some desk work, had a haircut, and met Rowena in town for lunch. Then we went to my favourite 2nd hand bookshop for a browse. (Actually it's a "2nd hand anything" shop with a very good quality book wall. I'm not saying which shop.)

(Everyone is reading the Luminaries this Summer. Unless I borrow it sooner I expect to wait until it turns up on this bookshelf for $4. I wonder how long it'll take - there are lots of copies out there, but if it's very good it could be longer before people start letting them 'return to the wild' of 2nd hand shops. There were books from 2 summers ago there today.)

It's hard to explain the delight of a pile of books, especially when the house is full of piles of books, we've had new piles of books for Christmas, I have happy shelves full of piles of books in my office, and it can get quite stressful thinking of all the books I'll never get around to reading (or finishing).

The Steinbach has this to say in its introduction:
"My hope is that by the end of our journey together you will share with me what my role model, the late Richard Feynman, called "the pleasure of finding things out." Feynman, a Nobel laureate who was a legendary physicist, accomplished bongo drummer, and expert safe-cracker, summed up his lifetime of learning this way: "I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there." I offer here stories of my efforts to add little bits of knowledge here and there to what I was born not knowing."

I like that. It's not about knowing "to know." More about knowing "to grow," to have a richer perspective by being about to bring the 'then and there' to the to 'here and now'.

It's also about learning about things, places, people. The nice thing about books is that someone has gone to the trouble of finding out and reflecting and putting down what they think is the most important (admittedly, for their purposes), in a handy package. Much easier than an old internet search.  

Anyway, I've just spent $16 on perhaps 60 hours of reading or more, of which I shall probably complete less than a 1/3, but it's not a test so I don't have to read any of them - I can dip as I choose. The thought is pure pleasure.

(The book on Tolkien is a gift for Elanor - I needn't read at all.)

And in a few years I'll return half of them to another 2nd hand shop to keep them in circulation.

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