The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Reading, really.

I spent a few hours at the Solano Starbucks this afternoon/evening finishing up a final paper. Hilariously, Kelsey arrived a few minutes before I did, and we were both planning to invite the other once we settled in. Oh, life.

Kelsey finished her work and went home to have dinner, but I got another cup of coffee (whoops) and stayed a bit longer. Two women came in and sat down across from me at the big table in the back, and proceeded to chatter for a bit before stating to read off of a Kindle. I assumed that one of the women was teaching the other how to use her new Kindle -- a Mothers' Day gift, perhaps? I turned up the volume of the sweet dubstep tunes in my headphones and kept working. I noticed, though, that they seemed to be spending a long time poring over that Kindle. [I have one, and it's really not that complicated. Certainly not an hour's worth of instruction complicated.] As I was packing up to leave I was listening to them -- one woman was reading to the other. I thought that was sort of nice, but also odd for a moderately noisy public place like Starbucks. I noticed that the woman reading was having a bit of trouble. I then realized that she was not learning to to use a Kindle -- she was learning to read. Because they'd been talking, it didn't seem like she was just learning to read English as like, a foreign language. I didn't notice an accent or anything when I'd been eavesdropping that would lead me to believe she wasn't a fluent English speaker. So, I think, I was witnessing an adult woman learning (possibly re-learnig?) how to read.

Isn't that wonderful? Learning to read is one of the most important things we do in our entire lives. Our ability to read affects our ability to communicate every day of our lives. I have a dear friend who missed a lot of kindergarten because he was very sick, and was self-conscious about his ability to read for almost a decade after that, even though he'd caught up just fine. We as humans are communicators. We are readers and writers and speakers and hearers. It's what we do, here.

Tonight, I was in the car with Gretchen and we were talking about her 5-year reunion at Vassar College this summer. She said something fantastic which I immediately wanted to document: "No matter how much of an ass someone was in college, you knew that they went to Vassar, and therefore definitely had a favorite book. And that's moving up in the world." I am going to remember that for a long time.

What's your favorite book? Tell me. I really want to know. Mine's In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. In case I've not mentioned that before. For those objecting, my favorite story is Harry Potter. There's much more to being a great book than being a great story. JK Rowling is not an incredible author. There are no great sentences in her books. That's not what they're for. They're prime specimens of what the imagination can do. Truman Capote is the most incredible author (in my professional opinion). There are nothing but great sentences in his books. That is exactly what they're for. They're prime specimens of what the English language can do.

As someone who is above-averagely obsessed with reading, this is all above-averagely interesting and above-averagely beautiful to me.

Three hours until the rapture!