Whenever I visit a friend - or even someone I haven't met before or don't know very well - I browse through their books. You can learn a lot about someone by the books they keep.
I was reminded of this this morning. The Rector and Vice-Rector of my seminary alma mater were in Springfield today and I the happy opportunity to visit with them.
Both are relatively new in their positions; the rector was one of my professors and I don't know that I'd every actually met the vice-rector before.
The rector would always tell us in class that this book and that book should be on our nightstand. If we actually kept all of the recommended books on our nightstands we would all be buried in books by the morning!
We went to visit the Abraham Lincoln's Springfield home and while browsing Lincoln biograhies in the gift shop, a boyscout asked which biography he should buy.
The rector asked, "Have you read anything about Lincoln before?"
"Not really," came the reply.
"Then you should get Sandburg's multi-volume set," the rector answered. It was a suggestion that was both quite comical and one only a true bibliophile could make; Sandburg's biography comes in 6 volumes!
When we returned to the rectory, the vice-rector, who stayed behind in my sitting room/study, said to me, "I think, after being in your room and looking at your books, I can tell three things about you."
He peaked my curiosity. He first speculated that I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is correct. Second, he speculated that I enjoy reading the lives of the saints, which is also correct. And, third, he said, "And you love Hawaii."
How right he was!