Wk 1 Reading-Called to Account


Dear readers, I am so much appreciating your posts.  It’s a wonderful thing to share books & lives, too.

I’ve been concentrating on my Wendell Berry book, That Distant Land, which I was 145 pages into at the start of the challenge and at the end of yesterday reached Page 360.  So, whoo-hoo, 5 whole pages ahead of goal.  Around Page 300, things got really tough. This is the multi-generational story of a farming community in Kentucky told in a group of collected stories.  On Page 1, I met Mat Feltner at Age 5, in 1888.  By Page 308 in the title story, “That Distant Land,” (1965) I knew he was a goner.  Of course, Berry has made me fall for him, so I kept putting the book down in an effort to save him.  But I pushed through his death.  Then, on Sunday, I did the Kate thing.  I lost the book at Panera Bread! I was panicked until we found it lying on the counter at the cash register, unmolested, all that time.  a) People are honest.  b) People are not particularly interested in reading a physical book.  c) People aren’t fans of Wendell Berry.  d) All of the above.

This book is full of humanity, kindness…all of that.  It’s been an excellent way to end 2017 and begin 2018.  I can be better to the people, animals and nature with whom and with which I share this earth.  Now, on the downside, the book lacks diversity, and more than 50% of the characters are male farmers.  So there’s that.

Let me tell you about the title of this post.  It comes from the David Foster Wallace book, The Pale King, which I’m listening to in the car.  You will think it is completely weird that a novel is centered in an IRS Service Center.  Who would read it? I would.  To me, DFW’s made the world of taxation positively snap with humor.  My quote comes from the end of a lecture made to students in an Advanced Tax course at DePaul. Our character, a directionless, a self-described “wasteoid” university student, wanders into that classroom by mistake.  There he hears the words that will change his life, setting him on a career path at the. ta-da, IRS.  The teacher talks about true heroism:  a life of thankless, mundane service.  “Gentlemen, you are called to account!”  LOL  OK, you can tell me to stop with the tax stuff.  I won’t be offended.  Can’t afford to be.


5 comments on “Wk 1 Reading-Called to Account”

  1. Hi Teri! Love the topics you are touching on. Just yesterday, I was reminded by my Netflix account that I had showed interest in a documentary called “Look & See” which is about Wendell Berry, and I plan to watch it later this afternoon or tomorrow (Isn’t W Berry amazing? Although I get it- the male farmer thing– still a good heart, a wonderful heart)… Another plus to these challenges is that we can balance our reading between genres, genders, style of writing (lit vs poetry) and come out with a very well-rounded experience.. I try to follow drama with something a little more dry (like literary criticism or research) and then toss in a book of poems, etc… kind of like a meal with a bunch of different ingredients and varying levels of spice..

    As for your book based in the tax world- I actually worked for a tax accountant about 16 years ago. It was one of my all-time favorite jobs. I loved sifting through the numbers and balancing things out. I learned so much, and found the whole process mesmerizing and inspiring (if you can imagine that!)…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Please do let me know what you think about the documentary, Meredith. (Thanks for the good advice about mixing things up with book selection.) I’m glad to know that 16 years ago you had such a heroic job!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teri, I love your story of the temporarily lost book! So true–people can be good and/ or errant books aren’t all that enticing at Panera Bread….


    1. Well, Nadia, I did worse than that today. Suffice it to say that the book bounced off the toilet seat in a public restroom, but did not go into the bowl.


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