Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lighting of the Beacon

When I was little, one of the historical institutions that fascinated me was the Library at Alexandria. It was built by one of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, in the 3rd century BC, and came to hold the greatest collection of scrolls in the world at that time, until its destruction by fire during Caesar's campaign against Ptolemy XIII. I thought of it as an emblem of every book and artwork that is lost in the course of time, to become a scholarly Holy Grail or a lost opportunity altogether.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, famous as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was built in the same generation and the same city, and suffered a parallel fate. In a hopefully un-shaky piece of association, I'm using it as the title of my blog to symbolize the illumining powers of the written word. Whether one always obtains deep wisdoms or insights out of the books one reads is questionable, but at least the ideal is there.

But, to turn from generalities to specifics, I intend this blog to be a book review website. I've thought out the following schedule:

Monday: Children's literature, or romance
Tuesday: Contemporary literature, or premodern literature
Wednesday: Crime novel, or thriller
Thursday: Literary canon
Friday: Books in progress (i.e. books I've started but probably won't finish)
Saturday: Week's newspaper and magazine articles in review
Sunday: Chapters of theological works

It will require me to steadily keep my nose in a book and to the grindstone, but hopefully I can reconcile the metaphors.

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