Friday, December 19, 2008

Things of Happiness: Books.

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."
-J.D. Salinger,
The Catcher in the Rye

It has been an unimaginably long time since a thing of happiness! This one is also painfully obvious, but no less wonderful, for me to post about. Books are, in fact, the greatest thing on the face of the planet. As an English major, or perhaps, former English major at this point (I'm not exactly sure how that works post-graduation), this is a natural aspect of my personality--to love books with fanatical abandon. But still, they are inescapably wonderful. This semester, since the summer, I have somehow made little bits of time to read entire books that have nothing to do with school, and it is delightful.

There is something very appealing about a book itself. The weight of it, and the satisfaction of words printed on pages, book covers. I especially love spines of books, although I suppose everyone does, in their exposed kind of way. Books are a wonderful prop, and almost always photograph well.

1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. bookshelf spectrum, revisited, 4. adult head, 5. wrapped up in books, 6. no more books, 7. Arcadia, 8. spines

"From then on, Matilda would visit the library only once a week in order to take out new books and return the old ones. Her own small bedroom now became her reading-room and there she would sit and read most afternoons, often with a mug of hot chocolate beside her. She was not quite tall enough to reach things around the kitchen, but she kept a small box in the outhouse which she brought in and stood on in order to get whatever she wanted. Mostly it was hot chocolate she made, warming the milk in a saucepan on the stove before mixing it. Occasionally she made Bovril of Ovaltine. It was pleasant to take a hot drink up to her room and have it beside her as she sat in her silent room reading in the empty house in the afternoons. The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemmingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."
-Matilda, Roald Dahl

One of my new favorite things on the internet (I spent ages trying to figure out what sort of sentence I wanted there, and I'm not quite certain I like that one at all, but it will do) is R&R: Karin Elizabeth's book reviewing self-portraiting series. I mostly follow on her flickr but both are quite nice. She takes such wonderful, dreamy photos of the act of reading that are witty and clever. Her reviews are concise, but useful, and the books she reads are admirably varied! It's a fantastic combination of aesthetic thingies and bookish pursuits.

(I am fond of adjectives and adverbs. And I almost forgot this last quotation.)

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."
-Louisa May Alcott


  1. oo this post is perfect for me, as a probable English major (I have yet to declare my major officially as a freshman) and just all around lover of books and good photography I can fully relate (love love love Roald Dahl, aww Matilda I might just have to reread that now) and take true enjoyment in the blog you shared!

  2. I looove all of those pictures and the first quote is so true. Books are just epic.

  3. you truly are a girl after my own heart!
    Oh and Merry Christmas!

  4. That's one of my favourite quotes from the catcher in the rye! Books are simply and utterly amazing :)

  5. there is nothing better than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book. as a fellow english major, this post speaks to my literature-loving heart. i think ronald dahl was one of my first "favorite" authors. i'm about to go see if i can find my tattered copy of james and the giant peach right now! what a lovely post.

  6. woah, that's me at #4!

    and as a fellow english major, and a former bookstore employee, i heartily agree -- yay for books! there is almost nothing better.

  7. the quote is cool
    if i'll link you it's ok?

  8. fab collection of book photos. :) I love them too, I am so sad that my book shelf is full, it stops me from buying more.

  9. Oh! Books truly are a thing of happiness. I love that quote by Salinger--and I've never heard it before. My sister would shame me--Salinger is her favorite author. :)

  10. Oh, I love books! This is fantastic! :)

  11. i am also an english major, though i am thinking of switching to comparitive literature. i love love love books. this post is perfect.
    i'd like to know, what are some of your favorites?

  12. Roald Dahl made it to my favorite author list when I was a little girl. I love his whimsical children books to this day and hope to pass on my love for him to my 3 year old daughter...well...once she learns how to read ;)

  13. ah, aspiring literature student that I am, books are my greatest love!
    there is nothing more satisfying than getting completely lost in a story or admiring the words someone put together so perfectly, feelings expressed in letters. divine.
    I would love to know: what are your favourite books? I just did a post where I asked people to give me some advice on my next read and I´d love to know yours!
    so far my favourites are "the unbearable lightness of being"/kundera and "playing with the grown-ups"/dahl.

  14. Your blog is just lovely - and what a brilliant post! It reminds me of 'A Little Princess' - I can't remember the lines exactly, but doesn't the father describe Sara as devouring books like a wolf? That's how I feel about them! And thank you for the link to the book reviews with accompanying photos! I hope you don't mind the link on my blog. :) x