Friday, September 7, 2007

A Leaf in My Cup

The light is beautiful this morning. I know this because I'm actually here to see it - not racing to the car, hair flying and documents fluttering. I adore the way this house wakes up. It's reverent, almost. As leaves drift and birds and squirrels stir, the soft light slips under doors and through windows with the most hushed, gentle glow. I hate the mornings I miss it.

I have several things to accomplish this weekend, the least of which is getting the trim painted and up in the library, the curtains lined in the bedrooms, and some pre-fall cleaning and throwing out. What I really want to do, though, is bake bread... and maybe a pie... and put together a fall reading list. I've already started, you see, by piling up a book here and there on the library chair.

How do you get ahold of the books you read? Are they borrowed? Checked out from the library? Purchased? All of the above? I'm terrible in that, while I "shop" the library for titles and sit on the library board, I've never once checked out a book in this little town. The librarian once handed me a book and said, "read this", but I didn't. Didn't look like something I'd enjoy. At all. I'm not much of a book checker-outer. I buy most of my books in used book stores and sales and Amazon. Once I've enjoyed pages, I hate to give them up. I just can't. Besides, I got into the habit, several years ago, of inscribing my books with a simple phrase or two: usually the place I read it, the date, and what I was doing. Like, "November 2005. Wichita, Kansas. Read through one bitter, windy weekend alongside pumpkin lattes with cinnamon... and David." And, "April 2001, my 22nd birthday. Boston. Bought on cart outside Globe and am reading in Quincy Market as the violinist plays." This is how I know that I read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Sleepy Hollow. And The Mercy of Thin Air in the mountains... where the air was thin.

I think, if ever I have a child, I'll do this for her, too -inscribe her books. "September 2011. Texas. Fell asleep in Mom's lap by page seven, before she got to the pigs - my favorite part." That way she'll always know where, when, and who she was when she first heard Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod. And first read Nancy Drew. And The Velvet Room.

Anyway. Forgive me for rambling. It's been an awful week.

Guess that's why, as I waited for another dreaded meeting yesterday at Starbucks, I ended up with this mug in my lap. I'd just started a new book and didn't want to inscribe it with, "September, 2007. Starbucks. Waiting for a stupid meeting for my stupid job on a stupid day." I already have books that say that... things like waiting at the doctor's office. Or driver's license place. Or worse. Anyhow, I wanted something else to say. So when they offered to put my drink in this mug for just a few dollars more, I said okay. Then I walked to my seat and wrote, "September, 2007. Starbucks. Began one conflicted summer/fall day while a leaf sat in the bottom of my cup."

There. Much better.

So okay. The week is almost over. Thank God. Thank, thank, thank God! And the fall reading list is taking shape. Any suggestions? Thoughts? Must reads?

Have a restful weekend - you and your leaves - whether it's with a book or not.

My best, Brin


Terri Steffes said...

Such a great mug. It would make me smile on the most dismal day. Fall reading list... books that make you want to curl up and read for hours... Have you read The Glass Castle? Do you like adolescent fiction? I love Cynthia Voights Homecoming series. I also love to read the Little House books in the fall. I get my books from hundreds of sources. Book clubs, friends, the library, school, auctions, whatever and whenever I can. I give up books that didn't touch me... but I keep most of mine. Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?

Anonymous said...

love reading you and how you quiet me down somehow, can't wait for the list and your ideas for good books!! that is a great cup and i love your idea for writing in the cover of books, might have to steal that one!! connie

Jen Kershner said...

Hi Brin! I get my books from used book stores, amazon and the library. I usually only purchase fiction if it is way cheap or if I'm sure I would read it again. I love your idea of inscribing your books though.

Thank you so much for answering my paint question. I'm headed there for a sample in the next week or so.Can you tell me one more thing? Does the color have any undertones, yellow or other? Thanks!

Adrienne said...

I love that mug! I don't drink coffee but think I'd better stop at my Starbucks and see if they have them. I could have cocoa or spiced cider in mine!

I get my books from the library, used bookstores, thrift shops and garage sales and the Friends of the Library book room. Oh, yes, I also borrow from friends occasionally. (Right now I have 2 borrowed books!)

Thanks for sharing your inscriptions. I love that idea.


Anonymous said...

I love to read! I get my books at used stores, Barnes & Noble, and at then I have a group of friends and we just pass them all around to each other - except of course when we get together and then realize we are all reading the SAME book at the SAME time....LOL

Brambleberry said...

I completely agree with Connie. Somehow this place is so soothing. The way your words tie my thoughts's great.

I love the idea of writing an inscription in a book. I must do that.

Thank you, once again, for the lovely words. I hope next week is a better one.

Anonymous said...


Beautiful thoughts. I am heading to Starbucks right now for a little respite. I hope I can keep the coffee in my mug.

Being from a family that owns a publishing company, I am all for buying new books to read. I love reading from crisp new untouched pages. However, the romantic side of me loves the old yellowed and stained pages of a well-loved book.

Inscribed books are especially intriguing to the future owner. Especially if it ends up being your own daughter!

Lovely mug. Wonderful to visit you, Brin!

Rox said...

Hi Brin,
Hope that next week is loads better than this one. I too love to read. A series that I love is by Jan Karon The Mitford Series. It begins with 'At home in Mitford". I am willing to bet you would like it.
I love the cup and I too might get one just have my cocoa out of. My Mom and I get our books at used book stores mostly, sometimes on Ebay, but rarely new. I am loving the idea of writing in the book. I always write something if it is a gift to someone. But what you do is great. I have a room divider full of hardbacks and there are books in every room in my home.

That Girl said...

I'm all for the Mitford series by Jan Karon. They are simply precious, and re-readable. Makes me long for small-town life.

And there is also the Glenbrooke series by Robin Jones Gunn. A bit lite, but there's some good stuff especially for Christian young single women (it's primary audience).

I've also enjoyed the thoughtful writing of Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God, Real Sex--a book on chastity, & others). Non-fiction, smart.

Another recommended one is "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger...

I'm currently finishing up the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" Series by Alexander McCall Smith. Something about the Botswana setting and mindset makes it both humorous and thought-provoking. Its main character often talks about getting up early, simply to have time about one's garden, and think. :-)

I usually end up getting my books from Amazon; once in a while the library; Costco; and Though I HAVE to go on a book-buying moratorium!! Expensive... and where to put them all!

Here's to better days....!

Anonymous said...

I love your ramblings, Brin and I LOVE that cup with a leaf design in it!!
I am wondering what I will read these autumn and winter months, always good to have a stash of books I am taking notes of the suggestions you are getting.

Seawashed said...

My best friend since 2nd grade(32 yrs. of friendship)just sent me *The Glass Castle* & *Snow Flower and the Secret Fan* in the mail to read. I started *The Glass Castle* and it is very intrigueing...pulls at my heartstrings. We've been writing letters to each other since college and so she wanted me to read *Snow Flower and the Secret Fan* because its about 2 girls secretly writing each other for years.

Anonymous said...

I have been meaning to tell you that I loved The Glass Castle, The Solace of Leaving Early, and Puccini's Ghost. I'll read more from your list. The Poisonwood Bible is a great read. I think you'd enjoy it. Auntie M

BellaColle said...

AAAHHH... as refreshing and clever as ever! Can't wait to see what you have compiled!

Mary said...

I see Ann-Marie McDonald's book "As the Crow Flies" in your stack - it's fabulous, and a previous one of her's "Fall On Your Knees" is just amazing. These are very dramatic, disturbing stories, set in Canada, which run deep - nothing light hearted, thought provoking fiction about the sad, secret happenings in the lives of children and their families.

Another book I couldn't put down and have just finished is "Remember Me" by Trezza Azzopardi - set in England. Reviews - "A work of remarkable insight." The Miami Herald - "The title is not a shriek of despair or a command, it is a quiet plea....a novel to be remembered". The New York Times Book Review - "Gorgeously written, keenly and sympathetically observed: a chiller with a human face." O, the Oprah Mag.

I buy everywhere too - - used book shops - the big box book stores (ugh!) and my sweet little independent book shop with the frayed armchairs, free coffee, and the best selection of foreign mags. and elegant cards - all worth the extra cost because they try harder.

Enjoy this weekend - you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

The Apron Book? I must have it! I am the teacher who wears aprons, you know! I'm sorry you had such a rough week -- what's going on? I should head out your way soon and we'll do some fall craft and talk . . . that sounds so refreshing. Let's make a day of it, okay?

Deb said...

Hi Brin ~
Another amazing post & the perfect image for September. I love the leaf in the cup. I also love books, and if you looked through my children's childhood books you would see exactly what you wrote about ... little notes jotted down throughout the pages making them real treasures to me now that my "babies" are 22 & 18 :-}
Thank you also, for naming Posted From Home as your 'blog of the week' - what a kind, thoughtful gesture! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Unknown said...

I"m another fan of that cup, wish we had a starbucks close by! I love used books, just something about saving them I guess. And I'm gonna start inspribing books too, I love that idea, hope you don't mind and I really hope your weekend makes up for your lousy week! Hugs!!
P.S. I wish your blog was a book!

cammy said...

Oh Brin, what a wonderful idea... insribing your books. I am going to start doing this. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read "Pride and Prejudice" yet -- now is the time.

I also loved "Poisonwood Bible." "#1 Detective Agency." "Mitford" series. "John Adams" by D. McCollough.

Thanks for all the suggestions -- I'm also taking copious notes!

Anonymous said...

that is such a cool idea to inscribe your books!!

i love your embodies the simple life full of least, that's what it feels like to read here. :)

Erin said...

hi! Just found your blog at 4 in the morning - my baby woke me up and now I can't sleep. Anyway, it's been a blessing already! - thank you. Books I have enjoyed: my favorite book is by George MacDonald -old Scottish minister who inspired CS Lewis. It's called Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood. The most beautiful book I have ever read. Also by George MacD, At the Back of the North Wind. Also, am recently loving Georges Simenon lately; he wrote the Maigret mysteries, and since you like Agatha, Georges might be a nice change. I have only read but can recommend heartily, The Hotel Majesic and The Friend of Madame Maigret. I also LOVE all the Jeeves and Wooster boks by PG Wodehouse. So hilarious and just brilliant language. Hope you haven't read all these already, so you can have a book to look forward to. I always feel so sad when I finish a good book.

Anonymous said...

The "Miss Read" books and Grace Livingston Hill books. Also Bess Streeter Aldrich prairie books.

All my favorites from a simpler, sweeter time.