BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,
BTRIPP
btripp

A book from a book ...

This is a perfect example of a “dollar store find” that if it hadn't been there for a buck, I would never have connected with it. How to describe Jan Karon's A Continual Feast: Words of Comfort and Celebration, Collected by Father Tim? The term “meta” certainly comes to mind. The book, despite the title, etc. on the dust jacket, purports to be a journal of Father Timothy A. Kavanagh, and, once the dust jacket is removed, appears to be just that, with a faux lizard cover, and his gold stamped name on the front, with no other identification on the book.

I take it that “Father Tim” is the main character in a series of books that Jan Karon has written in the “Mitford series”, books about an Episcopalian minister in the small mountain town of Mitford, NC. Needless to say, “Christian Fiction” is not high on my list of things to read, but this is not a fiction book, but a book that relates to the books, being a journal kept by the protagonist ... similar, I suppose, to the Quidditch rule book that was out in the wake of the Harry Potter movies.

The book is set in a hand-written font (I had initially thought it had been hand-written and scanned, but after 20 or so pages, I realized there were too many identical characters to not be a font), in both blue and black ink, with an occasional “insert”, both “post-its” (not particularly well executed in grey), or typed pages “taped” in (and in some cases with “smudges” under the tape), and even the particulars of the very old-style typewritten pages (it seems that Fr. Tim has a problem with typing “ii” instead of “i” a lot of the time) … the sort of detail that is quaint here, but might be “meaningful” in the stories. I'm guessing that some of the names, etc. that crop up in these (notes to send things to particular people) would also be familiar to readers of the series.

Most of the book are quotations … about half coming from the Bible, and half from other sources … just enough balance to not have it feel too “preachy”. There's also some subtle humor, like the “post it” that says: “God sings!! remind choir”, and the occasional note about a birthday, or something that needs to be bought, or even a recipe … all breaking up the flow of quotations. I could have done without the sermons (several of which are typed up and “taped in” here), but I guess that goes with the territory in context of the “meta” aspects of the book. There are also a few sketches in here, very convincingly looking like they'd been done in pencil.

One thing that drove me nuts here was the lack of page numbers, so I could never tell where I was, or how I was progressing (I'm terrible with the OCD habit of figuring out what percentage of a book I'm at, or have just read, etc.), which reminds me with one of my main gripes of reading e-books, which was a bit of a revelation to me (i.e. that I'd like e-books better if I had page counts).

Oddly, this doesn't stand alone … there's at least another collection of quotes and a cookbook in the series. However, if you appreciate collections of quotes, A Continual Feast will probably appeal to you. The sources range from Founding Fathers to modern authors, the classics to religious figures, and, of course, the Bible.

This is still available (Amazon has it at 60% off), so this must have been something “slipping through” to the dollar stores from Wallmart, etc. … used copies (of the paperback, not the hardcover) are also out there for a penny (plus $3.99 shipping, of course) as well. I'd certainly recommend this as something to keep an eye out for if you're at the dollar store, but “your mileage may vary” as to how much you'd be interested in paying for it. I enjoyed it, but liked it almost for its quirkiness than anything else!


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