So real so beautiful so rightly royal! There they are, snugly enrobed in a peacocks array of colors: apricot, cerulean, deepest mauve. Run your hands over the nubbled cloth, tingle to the strong backbone of the spine, caress the rough edges of the pages with the tips of your fingers. Ah! Are you ready? Hold them in your hands, they are mine but please oh please oh please make them yours. Deep breath! Time to turn the pages….
The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak
All dressed up and a visit to the Hudson’s Department Store bookstore. A whole stack of them pyramided to the sky! One little box plucked from the top. And tucked inside?
Alligators All Around
One Was Johnny
Chicken Soup With Rice
Four small books for one small person? There they were, tightly packed into a case all their own. The drawings dance across the pages, the words fly!
In March the wind blows down the door,
and knocks my soup upon the floor,
Blowing, chicken soup with rice.
from Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
I can hold them in my hands but my eyes fly across the pages my heart soars!
I can read.
The Quarreling Book by Charlotte Zolotow
“No fighting, no biting”, said Else Homelund Minerick, but shamefacedly my sisters and I did both. Bad moods were as contagious as flu, traveling sneeze to sneeze. But in The Quarreling Book the bounce back of joy could spread just as fast! I was learning.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
I have never been the same after reading this book. I have never forgotten it. But that, of course, was exactly the point.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
A cold rainy day in my messy, book-crammed room. I am sixteen—pretentious, insecure, intellectually snobbish and oh so full of myself. Oh a whim I pluck the book from my shelf. It’s been there ponderous and unread for years. But I turn the page and a world I didn’t know I needed, one of warmth, of gentleness, of friendship, of kindness, blossoms before me. I thaw. It remains for me forever and always open book.
The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher
Can you savor? Can you revel? Can you see? Can you feel?
To truly tell a story one doesn’t necessarily have to turn oneself inside out. Can you delicately stir acute awareness with experience? In other words, to taste.
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
A chance to see the world as it was through the kaleidoscope of decades past. The Swan, The Time Machine, Statues! Is it possible that in remembering ourselves we create ourselves anew.?
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
What kind of inner lives simmer and boil beneath the surface of each of us? And if none of us are who we appear to be, how can we connect with each other? Or can we?
Northern Farm by Henry Boston
See and sense the world around you. Find joy in the simple pleasures. Choose your words with the precision of Vermeer, let the rhythms of life flow like a Mozart concerto. More than anything, live and appreciate the sheer beauty of the world around us.
These are a few of my best beloved books. With care I move from one to the other to discover the treasure map of my whole life, of who I am and why I am. Each book, each dot on my map stays with me always, deepening and mellowing with the patina of time.
Come and read!
8 thoughts on “Post #78: The Treasure Map”
Love this, Cindy! Not only your descriptions of the books, but the way you explain that all of us are shaped by the books we love best. When I was a child, I loved Black Beauty and Bambi so much. And to this day, I can still quote the beginning paragraph of both, and remember the characters and plot perfectly. Those books, and so many others, touched my soul.
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How amazing to be able to quote and make things your own! Would love to hear about your other book loves–it’s a history of your own!
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It is! And I’m going to try some of the books on your list, since I love your writing so much. My tastes are varied, although I do enjoy a good mystery…but not the violent kind. I like Gwendolyn Butler, Jon Katz, Peter Mayle, Tana French, Magdelen Nabb, Andrew Taylor, Tracy Chevlier, Ann Patchett, Michael Bond, and Ferroll Sam’s “The Widow’s Mite”, to name a few. When I was a teenager, I thought S. E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” was the best book ever. You’re right, our book loves are our history!
Oh, I love this little walk down memory lane! You’ve made me think of some of my own: Make Way for Ducklings, Anne of Green Gables, Siddhartha, Crossing to Safety. I think you have a far better memory than I do:).
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Crossing to Safety is one of my favorites too!
I just read The Hundred Dresses because of your recommendation…thank you!!!
Oh that is wonderful! As I said, that book changed my whole life.