The Lost Book of the Grail
by Charlie Lovett
(Alma Books, Surrey, 2017)
He rode to the third floor of the humanities building in a lift that somehow managed to seem simultaneously sterile and unsanitary.
We teach a seminar in this department called ‘Anagnorisis in the Existential Hogwarts’, but we do not teach a seminar on Shakespeare.
The library smelt substantial; it smelt of both life and death.
He didn’t feel God in the library, but he felt something beyond himself.
Unlike paper, vellum was extremely difficult to tear.
Truth is not as simple as I supposed.
The purpose of a library is to disseminate information.
A book that no one wants to read today may be essential for someone in the future. So we save them, we protect them.
Libraries exist for the active sharing of information.
Libraries exist to preserve culture.
Books are safe online.
Text is text, but that’s not the same as saying books are books whether physical or digital.
A library is like an art museum where you’re allowed to touch the paintings and embrace the sculpture, run your fingers across every brushstroke and chisel mark.
The smell of a book can tell you more than you think.
The computer made it easy to find what you were looking for, but I never knew what I was looking for. The card catalogue had given me serendipity.
Her vision of the future depressed him, but he admired her ability to make her case.
“The gifts of God are rarely what we expect.”
You like talking to me. It allows you to be righteously indignant, and that’s your favourite state of being.
There is a difference between the blush of anger and the blush of affection.
It’s a true friend who sacrifices his dignity for the amusement of his walking companion.
Reading without books … was like playing cricket without dressing in white. It could be done, but why?
“Oh, my Lord in heaven.”
“Please don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”
“I didn’t take his name in vain - only his address.”
The wonder of Barchester Cathedral to Arthur was the way it connected him to a thousand years of the past.
In his unbelief, he thought much more about the political and artistic history of the cathedral than about the fact that, for more than a millennium, people of faith had poured forth that faith on this spot. Tonight, Arthur felt as if he were swimming in a pool of that ancient belief.
A single parchment could so easily be lost or destroyed, but a book even an ancient and tattered book, was a thing of value.
Symbolism, in my opinion, is overrated.
Arthur opened to his bookmark, pressed his nose into the book and inhaled deeply.
“Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that I don’t want to.”
The Grail is about faith.
How the hell could she do this? Make him be in love with her one moment and infuriate himt he next.
Arthur had never imagined that guilt and relief could be so intertwined.
Love, he thought, was a mist inconvenient emotion.
A guy doesn’t take a girl for a walk in the countryside and then to a romantic old ruin, and then to the top of a crumbling wall, unless he has something pretty important to say.
Doubt is what makes belief and love gritty and dirty and complicated and worthwhile and life-changing.
“Faith doesn’t replace reason … Faith begins where reason leaves off.”
He doubted the nature of the Eucharist, but he also respected it. He was deeply moved by what it meant to those around him.
There was so much to say that Arthur found it easier to say nothing.
Some people are just wired to need proof.
Coming to the end of a journey, he thought, was a funny thing. You never knew when the end might come or how it might affect you.
I think about her sometimes and wonder if I chose well, but I’ve lived with my choice, and that’s enough.
Dangers come from unexpected places.