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A Narcissus at Christmas: Received: The Eighth Day Book Catalogue

Photo by freddie marriage / Unsplash

The 23rd Eighth Day Books Catalogue. The retail price says “$7,” but the link says “$5.50.” It’s worth it either way. It came out in 2020, and my youngest daughter was pretty disgusted with Marie when it came in. “This is all I’m giving him?!?!” Marie assured her I would be pleased.

I was.

And I have been dipping into it regularly. It’s superb. I don’t even recognize a lot of the books. Reading it, I feel ignorant and wise at the same time. “Oh, what a sage man I am, contemplating these great writers. . . for two minutes and 225 words at a time . . . scarcely knowing anything more about them than this.” It’s an odd feeling, and one worth $7.

They apparently print only 187 of them, and this one came out in 2020. I gotta believe they’re running low. Order one today.

I mean, where else would a guy learn that the forgotten inkling wrote an introduction to a book by Vladimir Solovyov? The book is The Meaning of Love and it’s on page 102 of the catalog and apparently not available on their website. Odd, but such is the aura of this thing, at least for me.

Sample entry (Michael Polanyi’s The Tacit Dimension):

Michael Polanyi summarized his mature thought in Harvard University's 1962 Terry Lectures. The lectures, here reprinted in a sturdy hardbound volume, address the fundamental question: 'How can we understand any phenomena complex enough to be truly valuable?' One thinks of morality, love, and the sacramental life. Polanyi's answer -- surprising yet convincing -- invokes a tacit, unspoken and unspeakable, human facility that transposes our sensory perceptions into meaningful knowledge much as a blind man transposes the forces exerted by a cane on his hand into something utterly different: a picture of his nearby world. Polanyi's analysis eschews reductionism, elevates the person to the truly real, and advances a traditionalism that enjoins belief before knowledge. Finally, he warns against the twin fanaticisms of our time: an extreme lucidity that destroys what it seeks to explain and a moral perfectionism that degenerates into a struggle for political power. Polanyi's concise prose is challenging but well worth the effort. 108 pp.