Critical Mass

Dog Days of Summer Reads: Jessa Crispin

By Jessa Crispin

“What books to take on a journey? It is an interesting — and important — problem. In West Africa once I had made the mistake of taking 'The Anatomy of Melancholy,'with the idea that it would, as it were, match the mood. It matched all right, but what one really needs is a contrast, and so I surrendered perhaps my only hope of ever reading 'War and Peace.'” – Graham Greene, “The Lawless Roads 

Greene is right about the contrast, so when I selected my books for this summer's journey to a lovely, green farm with cows and chickens and goats, the first thing I packed was “Anatomy of Melancholy.” My vacation reading always seems a little off to people: I read “Ulysses” on the beach in Spain, “The Varieties of Religious Experience” in a cafe in Buenos Aires. If I ever head into the Mexican jungle on a donkey, accosted by turkeys, I will take Greene's advice and read some Dickens.–NBCC Board Member Jessa Crispin