Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stacks full of secret beauty


 It's that time of the semester when my head is stuck in a book nearly all day. I really like this time because I love to read, but it's also a time when my stomach ties itself in knots at the thought of all the papers I must write very soon.

Yesterday when the thoughts of "there's too much to do!" came on, I headed up to a tucked-away, magical place that's filled with the prettiest books around. It's a quiet stretch of the library with shelves and shelves of early- to mid-twentieth century books that seem to live there. No one ever checks them out, and I've yet to see anyone browsing their titles besides myself. It seems like a secret place that would be just perfect for a picnic-style tea party. Can you imagine spreading a quilt in the stacks and having cake and tea?


Robert Nathan's books are some of my favorites. I've never read them, mind you, but just to look at them snuggled together with their soft, faded covers worn from long-ago readers makes me feel so happy.

Anais Nin's books come in an array of wonderful colors. You can tell someone carefully chose the colors of cloth for the covers, thinking of how they would look all lined up together. 

Here are some more of Anais Nin's diaries, gloriously faded. I'm wondering how some came to be more washed-out than others. Perhaps they were donated by different people and someone stored their books on a sunny desk? I like to think that these books had a life somewhere before, curled up within arm's reach in a golden pool of sunlight.

Myrtle Reed's books come in grays, lavenders, and golds. I love those designs on the spines. If I were judging these books by their covers, I'd call them all wonderful.

I've already forgotten the title of this book, but doesn't it look like such a promising cover? So noir! This is one I'd love to curl up with on the couch, reading late into the night.

I'll leave you with this cover from one of Myrtle Reed's books. Isn't it dreamy? It takes me far away to medieval European abbeys and castles.  
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Do you have a place you go to get away from the world? I'd love to hear about!


  1. oh, these are all so beautiful! The absolute care that was taken in their design--it's just so rare with today's books. Thank you for sharing! It's inspired me to spend a few extra minutes at my own library to see if they have a similar secret line-up!

  2. So very pretty. I love old books; they were more respected then. You couldn't just get a cheap ol' paperback to throw about. They were for keeps.

    A secret place? I wish. With two little ones always in tow, it's hard to get away. I guess I'd have to say out in our backyard by the air conditioner. Because it's still close to hear screams or crying, but away from windows and doors. And no...the scenery isn't pretty or inspiring.

    But it is quiet. Except for the AC hum.

  3. I LOVE this post. The Nin books are wonderful all lined up like that.

  4. Such beautiful books....I have a few treasures I picked up from when I was a pre-teen. Titles like "The Corner House Girls" and "Ruth Fielding." I keep them in a very old wooden box -- just because it seems appropriate.

    And there's no secret place here -- this house is filled with the kids. If I want time alone, I walk the dog. But that's not much fun because she's a fatty and a horrible walker and I end up getting dragged around the neighborhood.

    Now you're making me want a secret place.

  5. You've probably picked up on my constant search for a secret place. In lieu of that, I trace my fingers through a labyrinth and envision myself enroute to my secret place and by the time I arrive at the center, I'm there!
    The books are just lovely. What treasures! I would like to write a story about that little niche in the library and the books that inhabit it and the people who love it.

  6. I love this post! So gorgeous. I could get lost in those shelves!
    Hmm, I tend to go to the field behind our house to get away from things. The sunrises are always lovely and the evening light is pretty magical too.


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