A Slow Reading Project

Until five minutes ago, I had no topic for this week’s post and considered skipping it altogether. Then I heard a program on CBC Radio One about the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Last Friday, on the way home from a shopping spree, I stopped into the Anglican cathedral near downtown Victoria to listen to a tiny part of a week-long reading of that Bible version, organized to celebrate the anniversary.

I confess to nearly complete ignorance of the Bible. I went to a Catholic school from age six to twelve, where for some reason we did not read the Bible, in any version. We studied the Catechism instead. Having a retentive memory, I was very good at memorizing sections of the Catechism, but most of my exposure to the Bible over the years has been in the form of snippets and extracts in books and musical compositions.

So I thought (ten minutes ago now) — why not? Why not read the good old KJV on its 400th anniversary? I could do it bit by bit at odd moments, like most of my reading these days. And there is actually a copy in the household book assemblage (not a collection or library, if you recall), so I really have no excuse not to. At worst, I will see familiar phrases in their original context, and I may even learn something. It will definitely be Slow Reading.

Fall is a good time to undertake ambitious reading projects, or, for that matter, writing projects. The garden is at least semi-dormant, and once the Great Leaf-Raking Dance is done, it needs little attention. Darkness comes early and weekends are frequently rainy. I suppose that’s why NaNoWriMo happens when it does. I began writing seriously in November of 2000 and have had a fondness for that month ever since. Have I actually joined NaNoWriMo? No, because, rightly or wrongly, I am allergic to organized efforts, and don’t want to feel pushed to write just because it’s November. Besides, right now I am not haunted by anything that wants to be written. Instead, I will continue editing Islands of the Gulf (the second novel in my Herbert West trilogy) and in odd moments, I will read the Bible.

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