lördag 7 januari 2012

What I forgot


Tom and the Andirons

It was perfectly natural in one respect, anyhow. There was really no reason in the world why Tom should not lie upon the great bear-skin rug in front of the library fire those cold winter nights if he wanted to, nor need anyone be surprised that he should want to. It was indeed a most delightful place to lie in. The bear-skin was soft and in every way comfortable and comforting. The fireplace itself was one of those huge hospitable affairs that might pass in some apartment houses in our narrow cooped-up city streets for a butler's pantry or small reception room—in fact in the summer time Tom used to sit in the fireplace and pretend he was in his office transacting business with such of his sister's dolls as could be induced to visit him there; giving orders to imaginary clerks and bookkeepers and keeping an equally fanciful office boy continually on the run. And then apart from the rug and the fireplace it was a beautiful room in which they were. Tom's father was very fond of books, and, although he was a great many years older than Tom, he had not forgotten how to enjoy the very same kind of books that Tom liked. He was not ashamed to have one little niche of his library filled with the stories which had delighted him in his boyhood days, and which still continued to please him, and, of course, this lent an additional charm to the library in Tom's eyes. It held his heroes, and on some of those drowsy nights when the only sounds to break the stillness of the room were the scratching of his father's pen, the soft humming of some little tune by his mother sitting and sewing by the evening lamp, and the fierce crackling of the burning logs, Tom could almost see these heroes stepping down from the shelves and like so many phantoms flitting in and about the room. In fact, upon one occasion, Tom is convinced he did see these very people having a dance upon the great tiled hearth—but of that you shall hear later.
From "Andiron Tales" from 1906, by John Kendrick Bangs and illustrations by Clare Victor Dwiggins.

My mind is not only simple — it’s tired. In the last post I forgot to write about the other simple books I’ve read this fall. Maybe beacuse I had forgotten the titles (I told you my mind is tired), and when I went over to Gutenberg to check the titles, I forgot what I was looking for, and I started to look at other interesting books!
So here I am with only a vague notion of what I’ve read, and what I thought about it. Yes, I remember that I read “The Enchanted Barn” by Grace Livingston Hill Lutz, but not what I meant to say about it. I’ve written about the author before, and I’m still not quite sure what I think about her. This time I kept notes while I read — notes that now are resting in my other computer. The men in her books are either unlikely gentlemanly, or terrible villans — while the the female protagonist is feminine and ladylike (and usually poor). It sure sounds as cheap pulp literature, doesn’t it?

One of the books I’ve enjoyed is “Dandelion Cottage” by Carroll Watson Rankin. The book was first published in 1904, but this edition was printed in 1977, and had rather modern illustration by Mary Stevens. They are not bad, but I don’t care for them.
I’ve never heard of the book before, but I understand that it is considered a classic — at least in the midwest where it take place. It’s a charming book, and I think I’ll read “The Cinder Pond“, by the same author, which also is available at Gutenberg.

I’m about to start reading “Andiron Tales”  so far I haven’t read much more than the paragraph above. If the rest of the book is as delightful as the beginning, I will not be disappointed.

söndag 1 januari 2012

Simple books for a simple mind

 January.—Now the weather is very cold. There are no leaves upon the trees. The ground is frozen quite hard. Perhaps it is covered with snow. Every thing looks very cold and comfortless. A little boy or girl, when out of humor, reminds me of this month. Bring plenty of wood and make a good fire, that we may warm ourselves.
From “The Twelve Months of the Year, with a Picture for each Month. Adapted to Northern Latitudes”, author Unknown

Well, it’s not very cold — after two very cold winters with plenty of snow, this unusually mild winter is a blessing. We’ve had a few cold spells, but it has never been below -15°C (5°F). 

A fire, books, music, tea and a purring cat are the perfekt ingrediens for a pleasant winter - even if it isn’t very cold. After an autumn with a bit too much of almost everything, it’s very healing to to listen to the fire while you nod off, with a book in your lap. 
I’ve heard so much about “Miss Silver”, everybody seems to love Patricia Wentworth books about her, but I haven’t read any of the books until now. And I was hooked after the first paragraph! I meant to read them in order, but the first book ("Gray Mask") isn’t available here, so I started with “The Case is Closed”, and have ordered two more in the series. I don’t think I can get hold of them all, but intend to read as many as I can lay my hands on.