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Adventures in Contentment

av David Grayson

Andra författare: Thomas Fogarty (Illustratör)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
511389,777 (3.67)2
I came here eight years ago as the renter of this farm, of which soon afterward I became the owner. The time before that I like to forget. The chief impression it left, upon my memory, now happily growing indistinct, is of being hurried faster than I could well travel.
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One of the great things of the digital age is that it is possible to stumble across a book like this, in the public domain and freely available to read on my Kindle. I started to read PARNASSUS ON WHEELS by Christopher Morley, which starts with a letter to Grayson saying how much the book owes to Grayson's ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT. So I did a little research and found the book available on Project Gutenberg and downloaded it, inspired by one Amazon reviewer who called it the best book ever written. I won't quite endorse that view, but it is a wonderful book, nevertheless, and surprisingly relevant after all these years.

It tells the story of a man who, in his own opinion at least, has failed in the city and moved to the country where he first rents then buys a small farm. Each chapter tells a pretty much self-contained story about some aspect of his life in the country, with his unmarried sister keeping house for him. He tells us about the funeral for the local doctor and of that man's character and simple good works through the years. He gives us a view of grassroots democracy at work that seems so distant from our poisonous 21st century political climate. He tells us all about the local preacher, who seems a much more admirable character than most of the current bunch. And he talks of his neighbors, near and far--though none are so far in the close-knit country community where he lives. There is a haunting story of a mysterious tramp who lives everything twice. There is the local "pagan" who denies that there is a biblical hell (and who knows pretty much everything about cows.) He also meets the local millionaire and puts him to work greasing axles. And there is a whole chapter about making a new axe handle.

Although it seems like a straightforward memoir, the book is actually fiction (and the first of a series of nine books). But there is so much unarguable common sense and wisdom throughout this book that is is a sheer pleasure to read, even if you have no desire to be a farmer and little interest in farming. Though he feels that the church is an essential part of the community, while admitting to rarely attending it, the author can also say, "Theology possesses a vaingloriousness which places it faith in human theories; but science, at its best, is humble before nature herself. It has no thesis to defend: it is content to kneel upon the earth, in the way of my friend, the old professor, and ask the simplest questions, hoping for some true reply."

Or, "Sometimes I think that Success has formed a silent conspiracy against Youth. Success holds up a single glittering apple and bids Youth strip and run for it; and Youth runs and Success still holds the apple."

Or, "True emotion is rare and costly and that which is awakened from without never rises to the height of that which springs spontaneously from within."

Or on the local democratic way of deciding things, such as whether to spend $800 to expand the local school: "That's real politics: the voluntary surrender of some private good for the upbuilding of some community good."

To acknowledge the downside, this book is very male-centered, and the author doesn't seem to view the sister as much more than a simple soul whose contentment lies in cooking and housework.

In the end, though, ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT is about the connections between people and how our life is empty without them. Spending a little while with this book is well worth your investment of time. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 6, 2013 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
David Graysonprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Fogarty, ThomasIllustratörmedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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I came here eight years ago as the renter of this farm, of which soon afterward I became the owner. The time before that I like to forget. The chief impression it left, upon my memory, now happily growing indistinct, is of being hurried faster than I could well travel.

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