Tim Brown

June 11, 2021

Sipping and studying

Some books are for sipping and I’ve written about this before, so I’m not going to write about it again yet.

But I thought of it just now as I carried a five pound book up from my desk in the basement to my chair in the living room where I often study for a few minutes at a time, mostly in the evening but sometimes on lovely afternoons when the rest of the family is happily, independently occupied and the sun dapples our couch and I am not too tired.

This book is so heavy that I sometimes have to change the way I’m sitting, especially if I intend to take notes in the margins. It’s always worth the effort.

I would, and maybe I have before, distinguish between sipping books and studying books. This five-pounder happens to be both. They say people are different kinds of learners, and this must be the kind of learner I am, sipping and studying.

When you’ve found such a vintage of book to savor, there you have one of life’s great joys. So take it easy, take your time. That’s what I tell myself unnecessarily, as if speed were my problem. When it comes to such books, the real problem is deciding how to use what one has learned and not squander it but allow it to settle appropriately in the mind or be stocked and drawn upon in glorious moments of exploration or to share it with just the right person. These feel like natural problems to me, though limited. I’m still learning how to scale my influence without sacrificing as much of my time as that usually takes.

And sharing with just the right person is why my book was in the basement. I brought it down there earlier with a bookmark sticking out the top pointing to a passage marked in the margins, and I shared the words with my friend. I think he liked it because I remember him closing his eyes to listen, and we had a good conversation. A good conversation with a friend is always a milestone, and a beverage always helps.