14 April, 2010

"Captain Tartan, In the Library . . . "


I find simple day-to-day rituals to be incredibly reassuring. I love the ritual of drawing the drapes in my bedroom every night as I get ready for bed. Making one last cup of herbal tea. With a little sugar, and a splash of cream (or more likely some 2% milk.) Curled up in a great pair of vintage pajamas - and grabbing a book from the nightstand.

And every spring, one of my rituals is re-reading some of my favourite books. I have friends who NEVER re-read book. What? I put them in the same category as the people who never see a movie more than once. It's only a small group of people. And I don't understand them.

I treasure re-reading books. Feeling the tousled pages against my fingertips. Seeing written notes in my own handwriting. Discovering something new. Seeing different motivations. Feeling the warm memory of re-visiting well-loved characters. and locations. and emotions.

Whilst the house is in complete remodeling upheaval, the one shining light of organization is my library. So tonight, I'm getting some books ready for the next several weeks of reading - and here's a few favourites just waiting for me . . .

by Emma Donoghue

A wonderful collection of short stories based on odd bits of English and Irish folklore and obscure trials from the 1800's. Whimsical. Imaginative. Heartbreaking.

by Mark Dunn

I love the written language. And I love letters. And this sweet, effortless tale explores both worlds. Imagine a world where we begin to lose letters from our alphabet? Could we survive without the letter 'n?' Or the letter 'q?'

by Thomas Wharton.

The book opens with a small band of explorers trekking across a glacier. One lone man slips and falls into a cravasse - a sees a winged human figure buried in the ice. And a romantic, mysterious tale unwinds from that one random occurrence.

by Josephine Tey

A breathtaking re-telling and investigation into the story of Richard III.
Smart and wonderfully constructed.

by David Sedaris

My hope if that you've already read this once. Or twice. Or maybe monthly. And if you've never read the works of the ever-brilliant Mr. Sedaris, this is one of my all-time favourites. One of the reasons that I need to read this in the privacy of my own home - it's 'laugh-out-loud' funny. No seriously - there are times I've embarrassed myself - guffawing in public. On a plane. At Starbucks.

by Evelyn Waugh

This is one of the few books that I've read SO many times, I might be able to simply recite it from cover to cover. The beautiful romance of England between the wars. And an exploration of love. and ambition.
complete with a teddy bear, named Aloysius.

by Jane Austen

Just read it.
I firmly believe that reading Austen makes you a better person. That's what I'm hanging all of my hopes on.

So tell me - what are some of your favourites? There's always room for more books.



Karena said...

Scot, the last three of yours I have read. Love Waugh and Austen, Sedaris I have met at a book signing, sooo funny!

The others really intrigue me. I have just finished Loving Frank, A Still Life with Lemons and Oysters, and am starting Art & Fear.

Art by Karena

Angela said...

Scot, And I thought it was me who only read and re-read and re-re-read favourite books, I thought I was the only crazy person around, it's sort of re-assuring that I am not alone. I have certain books that I love to re-read in Spring and certain ones I love in the Autumn time, funny, I had never thought about it before, but the re-reads are catagorised into seasons!
Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to see your remodeled home!

Angela x

Mrs. Blandings said...

Brideshead I have read again and again. Most of Fitzgerald, but especially Tender is the Night. And Sedaris whenever I can get it.

Chateaux Interiors said...

Brideshead is a staple... along with The Hours, Notes to Myself, as well as, A Year of Magical Thinking - for that matter any works by Joan Didion! All of the above are epic reads that one can read time and again! Great post Scot!


ward.williams said...

I really thought I was the only nerd who loved "Ella Minnow Pea."

Unknown said...

Me talk pretty is my ALL TIME fav! Austen is a no brainer, if you havent read her, you haven't lived, and aren't human. The daughter of time sounds fabulous. I must pick up a copy, and Ella Minnow Pea also sounds great.

BTW~ Love the pic you included of the library!

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Oh Ward,

"L,M,N,O,P' has charmed me from the first time I rad it over ten years ago. It's one of my go-to's for vacation reading - so clever, and such an amazing exploration of language.

The very fact that it's one of your fav's has cemented our friendship!



Don't forget Nancy Mitford. Also with the advent of so many "food trucks" who doesn't want to reread The Van by Roddy Doyle..
Every time I read Sophie's Choice I cry..a great example of what it means to read a book at a different time in one's life..at first I had a young daughter and now I have a grand daughter.
I adore Mapp and Lucia
Just reread The Raj Quartet
It is like remembering a lost friend to pick up that well loved and worn book

Scott Fazzini said...

I love, love, love your library! If I lived there I'm sure I'd wake up more than a few mornings curled up on the black and white checkered floor -books strewn about, tea (scotch) cup spilled, and a healthy bit of drool dried to my face.

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Ah, The Raj Quartet. I read it many years ago over a long winter working at a ski resort in Colorado. Don't know if I could get through it again . . . but, it IS an amazing work.

Unknown said...

If you liked Ella Minnow Pea, try The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows, and Grayson by Lynne Cox, and The End of the Alphabet by C S Richardson.
The Daughter of Time is a fantastic story...try any of the Adam Dalgleish series by PD James.
Scot...I think you are romantic enough to love the Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock.
thanks for the heads-up about The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits...off to the bookstore!

24 Corners said...

Any Austen, any Bronte, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood are always faves (love the southern drawl I come away with after reading that one). I think Persuasion is the Austen book I love the most.

Thanks for sharing your list. I'm hoping to have some reading time in the near future (if I read in bed I never get to sleep!) and will make a note of your selections right now.

Happy reading~

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