Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Life with Books, Flowers, and Good Things to Eat

"She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live"
Annie Dillard

Many years ago I stayed in a home without books. None. Zero. Not one book visible anywhere. There was a single magazine in the living room, about car racing, I think. It struck me as surprising, and rather sad. Books add such richness to my life, and are present in every room except the bathrooms. 

Here books litter tabletops, fill shelves and baskets, and are continually moved from one spot to another. There is a stack of four beside Tim's reading chair, a selection on the coffee table that belongs to me, and a pile on the piano still to be read. 

A couple of years ago, while boating for two weeks, I lost my glasses over the edge. Plop. I watched them sink and my heart sank with them. Although Tim hadn't known the Annie Dillard quote above, he said, "I feel so sorry for you, for I know that for you, reading is like breathing." Indeed. 

My sourdough starter has been lounging in the back of the fridge since early January. It had a layer of hooch on it that I poured away before feeding and coddling the starter over a couple of days. It's bubbly and active now, and I made a batch of bread on the weekend. The texture is a little weird, as you can see, but the taste is wonderful. 

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
Stephen King: On Writing

 I took these photos of my bookshelves without any tidying up. I can see that they need to be organized, dusted, and neatly shelved. Perhaps a project for a rainy morning. The trouble is, I'd fall down the rabbit hole reading a snippet here and a snippet there, dustcloth discarded as I sit on the floor among piles of books. Best to allow a full day of organizing, then. 

In my previous post I mentioned the chocolate mousse I was planning to take to dinner with friends. I served it in teacups, with a strawberry sauce on top. Teacups proved to be the perfect size for a serving. In the garden, the mint is beginning to grow. You just can't keep mint down! I picked a few sprigs and tucked them in as a garnish. Delicious to nibble on, too. 

Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?
Henry Ward Beecher

On top of the piano I keep two stacks of books - one for the library books, and one for books borrowed from others, or my own that I want to get to soon, or books that I'm currently reading. Some books are devoured in an afternoon or evening as I rush to the end of an exciting story. Other books are savoured chapter by chapter. I read a little, then go off and do something else while the words I've read settle into my soul. 

The tulips I brought home from the grocery store a week or more ago become more beautiful as they age. Translucent petals twist and turn so wildly, exposing the star at the heart of the flower. 

I'm off to school on this sunny morning. This afternoon I'll pick up two grandchildren and spend a couple of hours with them. They've come to think of Nutella and apples as Nana snack, and always ask for it. So we'll have some of that and maybe play some games. 

Books, flowers, good things to eat - what does your world hold lately?


  1. The mousse looks delicious.
    A weakness for maple flavored bacon and sausage is a struggle for me. I have one or the other, not both. I bought a new brand of sausage, and to my surprise, I can smell the maple before the package is open. If no maple sausage is available, then I drizzle on maple syrup.

  2. I an a reader, too, I can't imagine a house without books in it. I read 14 books while we were on vacation. Felt good as I seldom have time to read anymore. Nothing like good food, flowers and good books. xo xo xo Diana

  3. Oh, I'd love to spend a rainy afternoon with you dusting and rearranging bookshelves, and to share gorgeous snippets from whatever book we're dusting at the time, each disappearing together down our rabbit holes, knowing full well we'll find our way back ... eventually. The idea of it refreshes and makes me smile.

    Your bread looks so delicious. And that lovely presentation of desserts must have given eyes a real gleam when you set those teacups in front of people.

    Lorrie, it's always a joy to visit! Thank you for the sweet moment of retreat.

    Brenda xox

  4. Especially the books! My shelves look a bit like yours but I never get round to tidying them.

  5. I love the idea of serving a dessert in tea cups. That would make any dessert look special.

  6. I love to read, but I usually read on my nook. That dessert sounds and looks wonderful.

  7. I feel like I should include a photo with this cornbread is in the oven at this very moment! I used your recipe and made mine into muffins! They smell SO good cooking! hugs😍

  8. Dear Lorrie,
    Your bread is a winner. It looks perfect. You are an amazing lady. Everything you do (and you do many things) is perfect.
    I have books in every room, lots of them. In fact I am donating some of my floral design books to our local Library.
    A house without books would be a dreary place.

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  10. Our home i s filled with books too we would be lost without them. I loved the look of the mousse and the perfect way to serve them.

  11. Lorrie, I love the idea of doing dessert in tea cups! Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  12. Oh I would have shared this post with John, if I could have. He’d understand it so well. ☺️ Nutella and apples sound heavenly. My grands thought of snacks here as “apple fries” that I so often made for them. It looks as if we may have an early or “normal” spring this year. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  13. I love the Stephen King quote...that books are uniquely portable magic. So true! I don't read as much as I would like to. Your teacup dessert looks like the perfect finale for a special meal!

  14. I love books but our home is too small to keep them all.
    The grandchildren are coming here after school today too! I am off to buy snacks for them. They love chocolate milk and fresh fruits and this Grammy has their wish list made out!

    Enjoy your afternoon with the grands!

  15. Anonymous4:41 PM

    I agree with you we all need books. Books can be a comfort when troubled or a get away to another place and time. Books can take you away from your every day problems and woes.

  16. Can't imagine not having books around. Sometimes I start and stop them many times before I get on a roll and actually finish. Lately I have been trying to pass on some for others to enjoy. I really don't need to keep them all. Unfortunately here, we've got coronavirus craziness. Schools closed for two weeks. So mostly hanging out at home. Take care.

  17. i love to read, too, Lorrie. And, like you, I can't imagine not having books to read. It soothes the spirit and takes you to places you've never been. That's pretty cool.

  18. A chocolate mousse in those exquisite teacups doubles the happiness.
    Books, flowers, good things to eat, what more could one possibly need? Perhaps some exercise and fresh air in a forest...
    You made me curious. What kind of people live in a house where there are no books? :)

  19. I can't imagine having a home without books. They are paper friends/companions to me. What a fun way to serve mousse. Hope your first week in March has been a good one.

  20. Your mousse in a cup copy is awesome! I love your beautiful photographs. My kids think of my mom when we have snacks that she always had on hand for them: POP, Barbecue Jays Chips. IF it was girl scout cookie or boy scout popcorn time then she had that too. ! i

  21. I too have always surrounded myself with books, I used to read more than I do now, I sometimes wonder if I have allowed social media to do this.
    That mousse looks scrumptious, and the tea cups are perfect.
    Enjoy making memories with those grandchildren.


  22. I absolutely love Elizabeth Goudge. And reading, so I am always interested in other people's to-read pile. While I am not a child, my favourite snack these days is cut up apple with local Fatso peanut butter, the salted caramel variety. Seriously delicious for grownups.

  23. I'm so glad that you served the mouse in the teacups. They look great!

    I'm also a bookworm, but my book piles are more modest!

  24. I can’t imagine a house without books!

  25. Ahhhhh Lorrie, I'm wanting to try that mousse in the teacups!! What a beautiful presentation and with the strawberry sauce and mint on top...perfection. I love that your grands speak of Nana snack, with the apples and Nutella. I must remember that one. I always love seeing your reading choices. I have a pile on my nightstand right now, but they're my devotional/religious ones.


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