Thursday, June 26, 2008

Worth Staying Up Late For

I love books. I love new books, I love classic books. I love bookshops, I love libraries, I love books
about bookshops and libraries. I love the look of books, the smell of them, the way the pages feel beneath my fingers as I turn them, the way the variations of colorful bindings look on my library shelves. I could not get a bigger thrill if they were pastries lined up in a baker’s window. I am the person looking over your shoulder at the airport to see what it is you are reading. I am the one who scrutinizes the latest magazines with my head tilted to one side to better read the titles displayed in the photographs of other people’s bookshelves. And not for me the new computerized little hard cold box with letters digitally reproduced inside, masquerading as written word. I will always and forever be utterly besotted with books. I ask you, is there anything better than an old bookstore on a rainy day? Maybe one with creaky wooden floors, a couple of imperious bookshop cats and a cast of like-minded characters wandering the shelves, eyeglasses perched on noses, each lost in his or her own private world of perusal. In such a place, the hours fly by totally unnoticed. If you happen to share this passion and are fortunate enough to ever be in the southwest corner of Scotland, do make every attempt to visit a village called Wigtown. It is billed as “Scotland’s National Book Town”, and justifiably so. It is a booklovers Eden. Shop after delightful shop, all bountiful with books glorious books. There’s a mystery bookshop, a cookery bookshop, a science-fiction bookshop, as well as many wonderfully eclectic bookshops stuffed to overflowing with rows and rows, and stacks and stacks, of wonderful wonderful books!
To echo the mood of the marvelous old painting by Adelaide Claxton shown above, here are just a few of the books that have been keeping me up late recently.
Do share some of yours!

The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
The House at Riverton - Kate Morton
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
The End of the Affair - Graham Greene
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Rose’s Garden - Carrie Brown


  1. Old bookshops and old books are my favourite. To me, they are an Aladdin's cave of treasures. There is a second hand bookshop near my would be in Nirvana if you ever visited. Shelves to the highest reaches of the ceiling...and an old couple who are the proprietors. The woman mans the cash, which consists of an old wood desk with a drawer which holds the money. No cash register in sight. On the desk is a 1960's tiny tv set. She watches the soaps as you browse. The husband knows where every single book is, which is amazing considering what the back room looks like.....piles and piles of books.....

    This treasure trove is where I found my beloved Ludwig Bemelmans books, as well as countless other hard-to-find volumes.

    I don't think any other shop --- not even a sweet shop---inspires the kind of adoration that bookshops do. Adoration and devotion.

    This image you've posted here gives me goose I wish I was in that chair!

    Your words have captured the magic of books and bookshops.

  2. I have a love affair with books and all things pertaining to them, too!!! I often mention the wonderful second hand bookshop that I frequent with the creaky hardwood floors and glorious smell of old books in my posts.

    I read The End of the Affair by Graham Greene last year and really enjoyed it.

    Just finished My Antonia by Willa Cather. It was wonderful.

    I'm currently reading Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lilliam Schlissel and Old Jules by Mari Sandox, since I'm in that pioneer spirit, after My Antonia!

    Too many books, too little time. ;)

  3. Thanks so much for visiting me. I thoroughly enjoyed your comment :-)

    I have a rather varied taste in books. I love everything froma gory mystery thriller by John Connely to A Woman of SUbstance to a dystopia like The Road ....not to mention The Historian.

  4. It is so nice to be "surrounded" by people who feel the same way about books as myself. Have you read The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay? "In this novel about the eccentricities and passions of booksellers and collectors, a captivating young Australian woman takes a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books in New York City and finds herself caught up in the search for a lost Melville manuscript."

  5. Good morning! I have an award for you over at my place...feel free to come and pick it up any time! :)

  6. I visited Willow today and was directed to your blog. Very nice. I visit several sites daily for a dose of cultural uplifting. I proclaim nothing but balderdash on mine. You are welcome to come by when you feel like slumming. Pappy

  7. Are you a BBC4 listener? There are many wonderful live and re-broadcast programs available to listen to. After hearing Alan Bennett read parts The Uncommon Reader I downloaded the book on iTunes and it was the best treat to listen to! I recently saw his play, The History Boys, and liked it but preferred the movie version, which I recommend to all Bennett fans.

  8. My, what a lovely blog you have and that darling canine of yours is precious! I have two felines and a beloved Shetland Sheepdog and though I'm fond of my cats, there's nothing like a dog. God created dog and He truly created "best friend to all man and womankind:-)" I also had a solid white English Sheepdog when I was a young girl. I named him Harry..Quite fitting, don't you think.:)

    I love curling up in a chair in our parlor with a cup of hot tea and a good book. I'm always heading towards the vintage books booths in antique shops and could spend hours in a shop like you've mentioned in your post...I do a lot of academic reading and just finished The Art of Ancient Egypt by Gay Robbins...Just started reading The Widow of The South by Robert Hicks and Mystics and Miracles: True Stories of Lives Touched by God by Bert Ghezzi.

    Thank you for visiting the Tea Society Blog...Please stop by often...

  9. You are such a beautiful writer. You have such a way with words. Your post reminds me of my eldest daughter...she loves books, especially the classics and English Literature with the Thee's and Thou's. I don't even understand what she reads, but it thrills me to listen to her share it all with me. She will be entering college at age 16 this Fall, taking Engish Literature, Creative Writing/Poetry writing, and Intro. to film studies. I do hope her love of reading and writing continue to grow.

    Oh, and I believe Edward and Bella would be great friends. He is adorable!

  10. What a painting (I believe that was me as a child or perhaps my daughter?!) and yes yes yes on your post! That little bookstore sounds marvelous.

    Just finished Dracula and am savoring every word of The Age of Innocence. Trudy wonders if Edward has a favorite book?

  11. Thanks to all of you for sending along book ideas!

    Willow, you should try Oh, Pioneers if you liked My Antonia. Both are wonderful.

    francoise, I am a BBC4 fan. I listen to it at my desk while I'm doing paperwork and working on sketches. I adore it!

    qugrainne, the Sheridan Hay sounds intriguing. I'll have to check it out.

    rebecca, I think you'll enjoy The Widow of the South. Robert Hicks is a friend of ours and it's an excellent book.

    and just a plane ride away, I keep The Age of Innocence by my bed... it's one of my very favorites, actually all of Edith Wharton. I also have a good friend who re-reads Dracula every year. There must be something about that fellow. Oh, and I suppose Edward is partial to Good Dog Carl.

  12. oh I love all my books too, I know them all as old friends, we do have well over a 1,000 though ....

  13. Lovely to have you visit again at Thatchwick. Now tomorrow is our Bookclub! We are about ten women who have been meeting for the last ten years with some additions and subtractions and we all love books. Here are some of the titles I have just finished:
    Ghost by Robert Harris
    Wives and daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
    The wind in the willows by Kenneth Graeme (just read it again to keep quite sane)
    The voluptuous delights of peanut butter and jam by Laurie Liebenberg (a new South African writer)
    The imposter by Damon Galgut (also South African but published by Penguin).
    I must try some of your reads too.
    Love Eleanor

  14. We are kindred spirits in this respect. Growing up I was the little girl who, during every family party, was in the corner reading a book, lost in a completely different (and often far more interesting)world!

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog. What a wonderful post! I share you sentiments to the T about books. I love the look, feel, smell...I love to use them to decorate (you can see that on my blog)...I love to read and escape to other places...I love old bookshops where you feel you never want to leave again...

    I enjoy rereading children's books as an adult. It gives them a whole new dimension. Do you do that too?

    Hugs ~

  16. I am such a lover of books too!! My night stand is piled high, my house is packed with books everywhere. There is a book store here in Savannah, called E.Shaver books. It is my favorite, and it does have the squeaky hard word floors and a owner that could tell you everything about everyone is Savannah.
    Some of my favorites are:
    A Wrinkle In Time
    The Expected One
    Harry Potter ( I am a huge fan!)
    The Dancing Floor
    The Pilgrimage
    The Witch of Portobello

    Thanks so much for dropping by!! Brinkley, Lola, and Gretta Belle send their love and greetings to Edward to!!
    ~Lady Em~

  17. Thank you for visiting my blog.
    I didn't know which of your lovely posts to choose to comment on so I chose this one because the picture reminded me of me when I was young.My father took me to the library for the first time when I was 9 years old. I fell in love with it instantly. i've said this before ..I was so happy that you could take the books home..and then take them back and get more!I loved the smell of the place, and spent many hours in there as I was growing up. i regret that i don't read enough books now..and I spend far too much time here on the internet! (but its so addictive)

  18. Aah, reading this post was like walking into my favourite bookshop. I gravitate towards books no matter where I am.

  19. You have captured the essence of that love affair with books - and what a picture! I don't know where you find them.


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