Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Than Just A Story

This morning I was looking for a book among the shelves of one of my bookcases, trying to remember if it was one I still had, or perhaps had donated to make room for more. Just the titles were enough to make me sigh with pleasure:   What to Listen For in Music; Sonnet; A Convergence of Birds; The South of France - A Sketchbook; The Names of Things; The Veil of Snows; The Forests; Cry of the Panther; Unquenchable Fire; My Love Affair With England;  Moonfleet; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept; West With the Night; A Table in the Wilderness; And There Was Light.

Do your books remind you of where you were when you bought them, or of who gave them to you, or of a particular time in your life? As I look at each one, I remember these things, and more.

Blue Highways -- Several years ago, I visited a couple who first introduced me to this book by William Least Heat-Moon. It inspired them to travel the country avoiding major roads, and follow only the blue highways on the map. I told a new friend about it,  who shortly thereafter sent me an email, the first sentence of which was also the first sentence of the book. "Beware thoughts that come in the night. They aren't turned properly; they come in askew, free of sense and restriction, deriving from the most remote of sources."  Yes, he was afraid he was falling in love. He did. And thankfully, so did I.

The Secrets of Pistoulet -- I was so impressed  the day I bought it that I passed it around the table in a restaurant where I was having dinner with friends. I found out later that two of them went out and bought one the next day! It is a beautiful book which invites the reader to participate in the story. Letters are tucked in envelopes for you to pull out and read. Vellum is stitched between some of the pages lending a subtlety to the otherwise vibrant photos. There is mystery and love, and even a recipe or two.

But of course I also have books with titles which may seem more familiar: Room With A View; Prince of Tides; Cold Mountain; The Essays of Robert Frost; All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten; Under the Tuscan Sun; Hero With a Thousand Faces. I have a few thrillers and mysteries, dozens of cookbooks, many books of poetry, and shelves full of  those on writing, photography, and art.  I would like to have built-in bookcases some day. You know -- the ones from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Maple or cherry, and with simple but elegant molding.

I didn't find the book I was searching for this morning. I hope I still have it -- maybe tucked behind some others in another room. But just looking for it reminded me how fortunate I am to have books, and  how rich I am to appreciate them so.

(Clicking on the images below will take you to the Amazon website for further information.)                         

Blue Highways: A Journey into AmericaSecrets of Pistoulet

1 comment:

  1. Yes, books are wonderful. They enrich our lives, provide information, enjoyment, and humor, and when they are too old or outdated to read anymore, they become perfect art fodder.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and hope to see you there again, soon.