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The MSG Of Books

The MSG Of Books

Hello and good day!

As I've mentioned many times, my goal in sending you an email every day is to give you something extra, free of charge.

There are a lot of chocolate companies out there in the world to choose from. We know we make really good chocolate and sell it for a fair price.We do more for our cacao farm partners than most other companies, and that is something for our customers to feel good about as well.

However, I can't shake the feeling that I ought to give as much as I can to add value, as a show of our appreciation for your decision to do business with us. I'm always scratching my head, trying to figure out what more I can give.

If you read these emails regularly, that would suggest to me that you are a reader. And if that is the case, we are kindred spirits, because reading is my principal hobby.

My wife and I threw away our TV 15 years ago and since then reading books has been my primary source of entertainment and information. I usually don't like to offer an opinion on a topic unless I feel very well qualified to do so.

When it comes to books, I feel I've earned my stripes. Ever since I was a little boy, I've loved to read. I believe that I learned the preference from my father.

I can still remember him in our first home, sitting in an old recliner in front of a window with black metal security bars on the outside. We lived in a tough neighborhood that was prolific in break ins. Our house was broken into more than ten times before we put bars on our windows.

There was a bookshelf next to the window and another next to the hallway door that took you back into our sleeping rooms. My dad can be very outgoing. He is an amazing promoter, networker, and builder of teams.

But he also has a prominent quiet and thoughtful streak. He'd sit in that old recliner reading and reading. I'd watch him, my hero, sitting there, absorbing, and I wanted to know how it would feel to be engrossed in words like my old man frequently was.

Unfortunately, during the time and place when and where I came of age, in that neighborhood, reading wasn't a cool thing to do. So, I kept it under wraps.

I was a ragamuffin of a kid, but I knew a lot of facts and had a lot of stories to tell. People liked that about me, even though they wouldn't have respected how I came upon those skills. They would have found it nerdy and probably would have ridiculed me.

Anyhow, my credentials for making book recommendations run long and deep. And I feel I'd be doing a disservice to somebody I care about, you, if I didn't let you know about a couple of great books I've read recently. I ought to let you know that my standards have become fairly exacting over the years.

I only truly like about one book out of fifteen. There is a lot of rigamarole in that, a lot of searching for needles in a haystack. I've come to realize that books are a lot like a plate of food.

You can load up a dish with MSG and a person will keep eating and eating. The sensors in their brain that are supposed to tell them when they are full can be blocked and muddled with.

The same can happen with a book.

Some writers are so skilled and almost magical in their writing that you literally cannot stop reading. I find it fascinating when that happens. The book stays on my mind. I have to pick it up and see what comes next.

However, when I get to the end of a book like that, I almost always feel the same as after eating a huge plate of orange chicken and chow mien in the mall. I wonder how something that seemed so good at the time could leave me feeling so unsatisfied when I finish.

It is because certain art makes you a better person for having consumed it. While other art only serves to pass the time. Certain food is so thoughtfully done that it would be a crime to scarf it down. You must savor it and enjoy it deeply and when the plate is finished, you long for another taste.

With other food, you are just trying to finish the plate and you feel a certain relief when the thing is finally over with.

Certain music swells your heart and makes you cry because the lyrics and harmonies approach divinity. Other music is merely for bumping and grinding under strobe lights in a nightclub.

Each has its place, but one is undeniably more beautiful, even though both can be done competently.

All that being said, here are two books that I can't recommend strongly enough.

The first is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. This book is about the Syrian civil war.

The second is Gilead by Marylynne Robinson. This one is about a minister in Iowa telling his son their family history. The narrator had a son late in life and died before the kid was grown up.

Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize, and I feel compelled to quote a particularly lovely passage. The old man is telling his son why he decided to write the story.

"I'm writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you've done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God's grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you."

I can't stop savoring this passage. I just want to read it over and over again.

Every single one of us is God's grace to at least one person. No matter what you've done in your life, whether it is something big or small, you are the biggest deal in the world to somebody.

That is true of almost all of us.

There is a parent or a kid or a friend or a spouse who wants nothing more than for you to know how much they care about you.

What a wonderful thing to keep in mind.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!