While I was wandering down long broad avenues thinking of troubles that I had created with words I came upon a group of books. As I crossed a windy street I saw four books piled on a utility box. Like a platform at chest height I examined the four volumes. A hardcover copy of James Joyce ‘Ulysses’ the same edition I had at home. The same edition that is sitting on my parlor couch right now. Not completely digested.
I had been thinking of Turgenev’s ‘Sketches From a Hunter’s Notebook’ in relation to my word problems. The book was there in front of me.
I forget what the fourth book was.
My house is full of books because I can not resist the pull and gravity of the words on the page in a story bound together. But, I was in New York on foot with a backpack and traveling light. I decided I could only take ‘The Sketches From a Hunter’s Notebook.’
I reluctantly looked at the bright yellow cover of Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Good Earth.’
I read the book in college and was enchanted by the world of the 1930’s China. Like another planet for me in Boston, Massachusetts. Or Connecticut where I went to college.
In high school and college I read a lot of East Asia history and loved reading novels set in China. Eventually I saw the movie made from Pearl S. Buck’s book.
The full movie is available on Youtube – for $2.99. Here is a scene.
Youtube also has the audio book.
Honestly, I don’t know what a Chinese person would think of the book. Pearl S. Buck was the American daughter of a Christian missionary in China. She may have written a perceptive, accurate book. But I am no judge of that. I knew ‘The Good Earth’ was a good story with some basic human truths.
So I was pleased to find the book again for free. I was at the local community school when I stepped over to the ‘Take a Book – Leave a Book’ shelf in the lobby. I had left a few books there last summer and had picked up a few.
The first volume that caught my eye was Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’ in the same yellow edition I had left behind in New York City. I hesitated. I have enough books in my house. I have too many books in my house. But my father said, “You can never have too many books.” Put the book back on the shelf. I thought of my apartment becoming minimalist. I picked the book up and looked at the cheery yellow cover. What harm could one more book do? I took the book with me as I walked outside. I could always bring the book back and donate it again, I thought.
So I had the book in my hands and took a picture with my phone and emailed a copy to myself.