I write this from a small triangularly shaped hidey hole in the attic of Eighth Day Books, a Christian Orthodox bookstore with one of the best selections of books on poetry, spirituality, religion, philosophy and memoir. I’m in Wichita after a sudden leap into the car with my guys who live at home to help my guy who lives at college. Turns out Daniel, in nearby Newton, needed a little help gathering field samples for his senior study, and since Forest and I were already planning a spring break jaunt to Wichita, we made an executive decision (influenced heavily by the incoming weekend of rain) to drive.
How does a Jewish girl get to hang in this core of the Wichita Lebanese Orthodox community, and in the sweet attic offices no less? My good friend Victoria works here, and over the last few years, I’ve gotten to know the store’s owner, Warren Farha, who (like so many independent bookstore owners) creates and holds the space for the miracle of interaction between humans and shelves of words that can change your life. There’s also a lot about the Orthodox that just feels kind of Jewish to me (except, of course, the whole Jesus part): the elaborate rituals, robes and hats, emphasis on food and community, and way people have of reaching out and wrapping their arms around you to pull you right in.
In any case, out the window behind me is the first blossoming Bradford pear I’ve seen this season and before me are piles of books with titles like Longing for God, The Broken Body, The Joy of Reading, The Nature Principle and Sung Prayers. Whoever you are and whatever you believe, I encourage you — if in Wichita — to visit this store where three levels of books, lots of hidey holes, fresh coffee and interesting people abound.