My favorite part about bad head colds is the amount of reading I can accomplish when forced to lay flat on my back for two days straight. I have been known to read a full-length Jane Austen novel in a day and a half of sprawling on the couch with hot tea and Kleenex.

Excluding the couple of times when I felt well enough to crawl over to my computer and look at the Internet or my Libronix, I’ve spent most of the past two days in bed. For that purpose, I armed myself with far more books than I could read in a week, but managed to get through at least a little of each: Orthodoxy by Chesterton, The Confessions of St. Augustine, my Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, A New Song from the Mitford Years series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Jane Eyre.

That sort of list, folks, is much of the reasoning behind my always having pictures of Hermione Granger on my MSN Messenger and my Xanga.

Speaking of Harry Potter, and thinking of the newly-revealed title of book 7: I seem to have a vague memory of hearing the word “Hallows” used to mean ‘salutation’ or ‘greeting’ somewhere. Did I dream this, or has anyone else heard of such a thing? My dictionary gives me no such hint. I thought I’d read it in Jane Eyre, but couldn’t find it by reading the pages of that book where I thought it had been.

Anyway, that booklist has kept me busy. I have laughed, pondered, worked on my predictions for HP book 7, researched the concept of purgatory, wrestled with philosophy, and when the inevitable head-cold fog descended too heavily on my brain, dropped it all to just to read the stories I’ve read and enjoyed over and over again.

I devoted much of today to Chesterton, seeing as how I got distracted from him some weeks ago. I read about a third of the book, and if laughter is the best medicine, he contributed towards my recovery nicely. For instance:

“Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think Mr. McCabe a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies.”

The humor, however, goes along with some very important points, of which this was a favorite of mine:

“…what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.”

That very error is how I once nearly lost my faith. He could not be more correct about the dangers of such misplaced humility. God grant me the courage and grace to remove every last remnant of that mistake from myself.

Books… how I love them. What would I do without them? No, don’t tell me: I don’t even want to know the answer to that question.

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