Tag Archives: Book

“…not like a railway booking office…”

There is a truly worthwhile article in The Canberra Times that you should read in its entirety for, if nothing else, its sincerity. I cannot resist quoting here, however, part of a radio address given by the economist John Maynard Keynes. It’s just one of those collections of words that you (I) wish you (I) could have articulated your(my)self.

The reader, he said, “with all his senses… should know their touch and their smell. He should learn how to take them in his hands, rustle their pages and reach in a few seconds a first intuitive impression of what they contain. He should, in the course of time, have touched many thousands, at least 10 times as many as he really reads. He should cast an eye over books as a shepherd over sheep … He should live with more books than he reads, with a penumbra of unread pages, of which he knows the general character and content, fluttering round him. This is the purpose of libraries …

“It is also the purpose of good bookshops, both new and secondhand, of which there are still some, and would that there were more. A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye.

“To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and the booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end.”

I’ll drink to that.


Filed under The Stuff of Stuff

Our Favorite Summer Reads

For me, one of the most surprising concepts in this culture is that of the summer book. I am surprised, furthermore, that summer books aren’t defined, necessarily, as books about, set in or somehow evocative of summer. They are, rather, (I guess,) books to put on a reading list for a season during which people have more time for leisurely pursuits…? And there’s also an element of lightness involved in there somewhere.

So I put the question to our staff and requested their favorite summer book(s) of all time, however they define the term. Let me tell you: they were quite enthusiastic about this one.


Danielle has two absolute favorites for summer. The first is Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk. Why? Because “it’s a long, sprawling book. And it’s romantic but not so trashy that you feel cheap.”

Her second is Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, because “it’s a book I wouldn’t have the head space for at any other time.”


So my understanding is pretty much correct:  A summer read is like chewy ginger candy for your brain, and it is enjoyed primarily when one has the luxury of extra time.


Julie’s favorite is Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. She says, “it’s one of my most favorite reads of all time. The title alone sends my heart racing with delight whenever I see it hiding in my bookcase. The reading of it, however… oh, the reading of it always fills me with joy and excitement.”


                                                                                                                                                                        Lucia’s is Play It As It Lays, by Joan Didion.


BJ has a few. In order:


Donna’s “favorite summer read is The Handyman, by Carolyn See. Set in L.A. in the summertime…not exactly a coming of age but more of a coming-of-art book.” I ‘m pretty sure I understand what that means.


Mine (Aida’s) would have to be All the Living, by C.E. Morgan. The book is set in the South… during summer. I read it last winter, fell deeply, deeply in love with every single word and plan on reading it again this winter. It’s so hot in the book… so very hot and muggy.




What’s a summer read to you? What’s your mostest favoritest?

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Recommendations

Q: How do you know you have too many books? A: When your baby has to help you pack them.

You can never have too many books… until it’s time to move house.

This is when one would yearn for an entire library stored on a single, slim, 2-pound device, right? 50 boxes in and still packing, I couldn’t disagree more. Packing up our library for the third time in as many years, my husband and I pause over the volumes that shaped those lives — and our life together. The books we read (together!) in high school, the books we gave each other (a first edition of Anagrams!), the books given to us by people who are no longer with us, the broken spines that fall open to the favorite poem, to recite again…

There is room in this society for any kind of technology that brings books to more people, that expands our notions of what kinds of containers information comes in, that enlarges our assumptions about who controls that information… and that allows us to increase font-size as our eyes decrease in acuity! But, for better or for worse, there is no room for such a device in this house. It’s too full of books.




Filed under Bits and Bobs

Children’s Book Signing at Portrait this Saturday (Updated: TODAY)!

UPDATED: Today we are expecting a High of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, cloudy in the AM, sunny in the PM. I’m not your kids’ parent but I wouldn’t recommend you allow them into the pool. And the grass will definitely still be wet at the park. You really only have one other alternative. Be at Portrait between 11 and 1. We’ll be happy to see you because we’ll already be there. You’ll be happy you did it because, as I said, it’s your best alternative for this morning. And the kids, well, the kids will love it!



Come meet Candace Ryan and Diane Browning!


They’ll sign books, color with you, show you how to draw, even. You can ask them anything you want about their books and how to write and publish your own.

There will be treats, a water fountain to stop up with gum, sunshine and laughter.

Tell me you have somewhere better than a bookstore to take the kids in your life to on a Saturday afternoon!


You will be able to purchase books inside the bookstore and walk out into our garden to meet with the authors.




Imaginative, inspiring and beautifully illustrated, these two very different books will delight your children

and the only thing cooler than reading is reading a book written by someone you spent an afternoon with!

1 Comment

Filed under Book Events