for the love of books

Friday, May 23, 2014

I recently went to someone's home for the first time. A beautiful, impeccably styled house - it was the kind of place you'd see in a magazine. But I couldn't help but think there was something strange about it. I couldn't put my finger on why until I came home and told my husband about it. Then it hit me, the house had no books! None. Not a single bookshelf (as far as I could see).

It was such an odd realisation because I've always felt that books make a home. My parents are both voracious readers who modelled a love of books from early on. My mom always reads before bed, and whenever we go to visit my dad, he can almost always be found in his green chair, with the CBC playing in the background and his nose in a book. In our little apartment, our living room alone has four overflowing bookcases. Each bedroom has two nightstands piled high with books; there are, quite literally, books everywhere. And whenever we try to do a de-clutter of our home, I always find that books are the hardest to part with.

Everyone told me that once I had a baby I wouldn't have the time to read anymore. I haven't found that to be the case though. Sure, there are times when my brain is so fried I'd rather read a magazine or a blog, but most of the time I have at least one book on the go. There's just something so nurturing about cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea, which is what I often do while Clementine naps. I'm particularly fond of what I call "gentle books." Stories by authors like L.M. Montgomery (my favourite!) and Alexander McCall Smith, who write about normal people and simple things. The stuff of the everyday. Some of my favourite reads from the last few months include: The Signature of All Things, The Snow Child, Operating Instructions, Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers.

Clementine has her very own bookshelf as well, and it's filled with beautiful picture books in English, French and Spanish. For her birthday she received a stack of books (the best gift) and two of my favourites are: Gulf Island Alphabet and Pride & Prejudice: A Counting Primer. Her favourites are any books that have lift-the-flaps included like: Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Dear Zoo.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. I have been reading A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor and Half The Church by Carolyn Custis James. I work in a library so if I can not get it from there I don't get them. At one point I did buy them but today I have very little books in my home as I have been weeding through them and giving them away. Have a great weekend!


  2. you are so right! Lucas loves books and going to the library we are starting his tri-lingual collection as well... Jennifer Adams' books are awesome!

  3. I loved the Snow Child! Such a great book. I also loved The Rosie Project. Made me laugh so much...and my husband loved that one too. I'm the same as Janet...I try and get mine from libraries...kind of like my place to be clutter free and I usually only read a book once. Books that I buy are cookbooks because I refer to them constantly...the last ones I got were Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens Companion and Frugavore. I'm always on the look out for a good will keep my eye out here for recommendations :)

  4. Ah, people without books (or who don't read) confuse me, I have an English degree so obviously I am partial to them. When we designed our home we included a library and a few people asked why we didn't make it a 'theatre room'. Apparently it's cooler to have tv's all over the place than it is to have books!!

    Anouk learnt to read letters not long ago (just after she turned two), not memorise them or recognise them in order, but actually read them. She showed interest and we went with it. I put it down to her having access to books all the time, seeing us read anything and everything and having a healthy relationship with her library bag.

    Despite being into living with less, I will never stop buying books, nor will I feel bad about owning more than I need. I love them more than anything else I own.

    I'm currently re-reading One Hundred Years of Solitude and am part way through 1Q84 and a few books on Permaculture. I have Poser (recommended by Jodi) and Burial Rites sitting by my bed waiting patiently to get to them! Like you, I never read less after having kids, rather I read slower.

    Yay books!!! Linda. x

  5. couldn't agree with you more. I have books strewn all over the floor however our bookshelves are in a separate room in this new house so if you came to mine, you might think i don't read! might have to sneak in a few bookshelves in the living area just to be sure ;-) xx

  6. While I'm trying to de-clutter I can't cut down on books! I've also been reading 'gentle books' - or as I call them 'cup of tea books' - books that soothe. Oddly, Anne of Windy Willows is next on my list, and I'm gathering strength to re-read a biography of L.M Montgomery I read last year that traumatised me, but was fascinating. Thank you for sharing some of your favourite picture books - I'll definitely be getting a copy of the Gulf Island Alphabet - it looks so beautiful!

  7. We hardly have any books out here and it saddens me. I have boxes and boxes of them in storage in Canada but with our current lifestyle, it just isn't feasible to cart them around the world with us. Now I have to rely on my trusty Kindle which is certainly convenient but I feel like once we settle down somewhere, I'll want to re-buy the books to physically add them to my collection.

    I've also had people make comments about not having the time to read - that just isn't an option for me. It didn't matter that I'd worked 15 hours straight, the minute I crawled into bed, I'd pick up a book. Many times I'd only get through a couple of pages before falling asleep. There has never been a time where I haven't had a book on the go and I'm certain I'll always be like that. We're true readers, Gaby!

  8. I agree that it is really strange! My house is filled with books - my room, my mum's study, my brother's closet & bedside tables...

    So strange that some people just aren't readers...

  9. so true. it feels strange to me when i cannot see a single book in a house. i have a cousin who never reads. like ever. i always love reading ever since i was little. in the past year, i've grown love for crime-fiction books. so that's the genre that i read mainly. i'm currently trying to finish A 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared and running blind.

  10. I completely agree--books make a home! It's also a really good view into someone, too--what they read, or have read, or like to read, showcase a lot of who they are. Our little ones love the Bear Books (Bear Snores On, Bear Feels Sick, Bear Wants More)!

  11. I'm the same way, I love books I don't think there's a room in the house with out books.

  12. I bought The Signature of All Things over the summer and still haven't gotten to it! I'm reading Cloudstreet at the moment - it's taking me a while because I have to read and study so many other books for work that I find I need a break from books. Which is the strangest thing to me! I never thought I'd say that!

  13. Just stumbled upon your blog, and I love it.

    You're absolutely right. Home without books in my opinion is no home at all. I agree. Like you, I've been reading for quite some time and I can't imagine my home without any books.

    Glad somebody feels the same way. :)

    Naturally Jes

  14. I too, grew up in a home filled with books (our living room was practically a library) and my parents, in particular my mother, passed down their love of literature. I just finished reading "Daring Greatly" and am still mulling over that one. I have some parenting books on the go but am at an in-between.

  15. You should definitely get the app "GoodReads" so that I can follow along with what you have read and what you plan to read. It's great and really helps when you get stuck on "what's next".

  16. I was a voracious reader as a child but I have spent the last decade really not reading much so lately I have decided to change that and have been really getting into biographies. I loved reading Rob Lowe's Biography as I was a huge fan of lots of his movies as a kid. It was such a great book and a real eye opener to Rob Lowe as a person. He has had an amazing life. So worth a read especially if you are an 80s movie addict like myself.

    As for storing books I tend to gift books to people after I have read them so I don't have many around the house actually. Although I do have enough cookbooks to last a lifetime stored anywhere there is room. I love me a good cookbook!

  17. hello! I'm new around here, I came by following Sophie's mentions on Instagram :) It's Victoria, from Argentina.
    Oh, books... such a nice topic! I'm on the stage of "i want to read something, get stuck in a book but I don't know which one to start first". I started the year with a great reading pace. Read several books, back to back (two of my favourites were "the catcher in the rye" and "la delicatesse" by David Foenkinos) and after a trip I did in late Feb I got lazy again about books. Too many things on my mind, little concentration to focus on more than 5 lines, you name it, I had my reasons. But today...TODAY! I collected several unread books from my shelf and I sat on my bed with the stack of books and started to read them, the first lines from each one... until I found one (by the Spanish author Rosa Montero) that got me totally hooked and could not leave it for a couple of hours. "La ridícula idea de no volver a verte" is the title ("The ridiculous idea of not seeing you again"). So, there I am, reading that (and before I was reading "the language of flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh which was ok but haven't finished it yet).

    PS: a house without books is something I cannot picture on my mind. In fact, all I can think about is when I will be able to move out from this house and have my own place with LOTS of bookshelves, and books in the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, the hallway, I want to have books EVERYWHERE!!


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