Although certainly not a requirement, isn't it nice when reading a story to be able to relate to the characters? You want to be able to empathize, that is part of the reason I love reading--being able to walk in someone else's shoes, but when your path doesn't just cross with another's but aligns with it, it can be sort of magical. When a character (or someone in real life in a memoir or biography) talks about their books or their love of reading or just notices much loved books, I always dog ear those pages. And I have had the opportunity to dog ear twice in just the last couple of days.
A little something to share with you for the weekend. To put us all in happy reading moods:
"It had taken three husky peasant boys half an hour's sweating and panting to get Larry's trunks into the villa, while Larry bustled round them, directing operations. One of the trunks was so big it had to be hoisted in through the window. Once they were installed, Larry spent a happy day unpacking them, and the room was so full of books that it was almost impossible to get in or out. Having constructed battlements of books round the outer perimeter, Larry would spend the whole day in there with his typewriter, only emerging dreamily for meals. On the second morning he appeared in a highly irritable frame of mind, for a peasant had tethered his donkey just over the hedge. At regular intervals the beast would throw out its head and let forth a prolonged and lugubrious bray."
"'I ask you! Isn't it laughable that future generations should be deprived of m work simply because some horny-handed idiot has tied that stinking beast of burden near my window?' Larry asked."
"'Yes, dear,' said Mother; 'why don't you move it if it disturbs you?'"
--My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Larry is the famous Lawrence Durrell and he is quite a 'character' in this story thus far. What a quirky and amusing family. I am enjoying the book immensely. I can completely relate to that happy day spent moving and sorting and shifting books. I only wish I could look inside those boxes, particularly the one which had to be hoisted inside through a window!
I could see myself in this room on a crisp autumn day with something warm in hand and under a nice cozy blanket. Almost always rooms with books are filled with overstuffed chairs, have you noticed? I like the addition of a pew--that could come in handy. And I know all about books piled everywhere and sandwiched between things. This book has finally taken a nice little turn and I am about to find out some things I have been curious about with this visit to a longstanding village neighbor who knows the best gossip and history of Fiercombe Manor.
"As my eyes adjusted I saw that, just as Nan had said, there were books everywhere, piled up on a wooden pew and along shelves that had been sandwiched between the tops of doors and the ceiling."
"He ushered me into a large, beamed sitting room and gestured towards the most comfortable chair. There were yet more books in there, lining shelves that flanked an enormous fireplace. It was the kind that was big enough to climb into, and sit off to the side top poke at the embers without being scorched. The furniture was a hotch-potch of periods, colors, fabrics and materials--angular, simply varnished new furniture alongside good antique pieces. Some were much more delicate, French-polished and inlaid."
--Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan
Alice is our protagonist. She is expecting a baby but not married, which is not the done thing in 1930s England, so she has been packed off to the countryside to a decidedly curious old manor house. Nicely atmospheric and there is the presence of someone otherworldly. Perfect fall and RIP reading.
I'll be spending my weekend with these books. Hope you will have something equally entertaining in hand, too.