snow day

Ok, we don’t get them here, so I’m dreaming. While the rest of the country freezes, it’s sunny and warm here. Boo!

But this post is a tribute to staying in, bundled by the woodstove, cracking open a new book and going on adventures! I had a stack for my convalescence, but only got through a few. Give me snow days!

Brooklyn, taken by my Wawa (great-grandfather) in 1917

One of my favorite jobs ever was as a teenager at Old Schoolhouse Books in Vermont, where I could sit on a sheepskin in the bay window and watch the snow fall, reading through countless pages of old and rare books. One day is burnt into my memory, snow coming down like mad outside, reading the Bell Jar for the first time, shocked and numb and grateful that the weather kept anyone from coming in. The owners had an old Scottie dog named Katie, and she often kept me company.  Creaky old wooden floors in a Victorian storefront, rows and rows of ancient and musty books, the snow coming down thickly outside. Heaven.

Photo by my sister-in-law, elflovebaby on flickr
Photo by my sister-in-law, elflovebaby on flickr

Howards End

No, really. I just re-read it and found myself dog-ear-ing a million pages.

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into your daily lives? Haven’t we all had to struggle against lifes daily greyness, against pettiness, against mechanical cheerfulness, against suspicion? I struggle by remembering my friends; others I have known by remembering some place – some beloved place or tree.”

The Children’s Book

Perfect sprawling escape, I cried and cried.

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name

I think this is next on the list.

Misfortune: A Novel

Looks like “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” but for grown ups. We shall see!

The Destiny of Isabelle Eberhardt

Only halfway through, but wildly interesting.

The Times We Had

Marion Davies was so misunderstood! I watched a documentary on her after reading this – she’s whip smart and adorable!


2nd next on the list!

Coming Through Slaughter

More Ondaatje.

The Book of Lost Things: A Novel

I read this a few days after Janna died, it was sad and escapist and lovely.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

In the middle of it – oh, exactly what I needed, right now. I’ve been thinking so much about the state of lost, I had a dream recently about it, and death. So recommended, this book.

What else? I wish I’d read more over the break! I was feeling listless and ouchy and spent it mostly cuddling by the fireplace. Not a bad way to pass the time! One of my favorite bookshops relocated a block from my house, danger!!! The stack threatens to grow…


  1. Oh to live in a place with real seasons! Where it actually snows in winter! I’m with you there, those perfectly wonderful days when all you can do is stay in with a book huddled round the fire or heater. I haven’t read any of those books so looks like I’ve some catching up to do! 😛

  2. The Children’s Book is top o’ my wish list! I hope I get it soon, it’s been too long for me and dear A.S. Byatt! Miss her.
    Coming Through Slaughter stayed with me a long time, even though I only read it after I left New Orleans. The Book of Lost Things is awaiting me, in the stack next to my bed. Also Hakawati (hexmas gift from Colin!), Gone to Earth, The Magic Mountain, and The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (finally!)
    But right now I’ve just started a Winter’s Tale, and it’s lovely and timely.
    Good to be back in Victoriana-land after devouring The Crimson Petal and the White (recommended by a commenter here, thanks!) and Sherlock Holmes, mmm… Cozy cozy snow snow, yes one day I’ll come up to your world and see it for myself. Only seen snow a handful of times in my life!

  3. hello. that was ME who recommended The Crimson Petal and The White! i’m so pleased that it was devoured appreciatively. you could now progress directly to The Apple, a collection of short stories involving some of the characters of The Crimson Petal. i so want him to write a sequel, leaving those characters behind at the end was a wrench.

    Tamera, i know i have already told you excitedly about this, but i have just read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and loved it. it’s unputdownable. i have loved everything Sarah Waters has ever written though. i’m reading Pat Barker – The Regeneration Trilogy is unspeakably sad and moving and beautiful. i also have A Winter’s Tale lined up – i read a few pages and it hasn’t hooked me yet, but i hope it does. i do love a bit of Victoriana.

    oh, i think i have mentioned it before (in fact i know i have) but Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and the Ladies of Grace Adieu are both WONDERFUL. Suzanna Clarke has such incredible vision – Jonathan Strange was her first novel!!

    lastly, i long for snow, i long to be snowed in, we have the lightest dusting today, everywhere else is buried deep it seems. i think i may just pretend.

  4. I just read Howards End for the first time this year and loved it. All the inner/outer life stuff, and reflections about class, and progressive thinking–so good. Also, have you read Zadie Smith’s On Beauty? She lifted her structure for that book from Howards End (and did excellent things with it).

    The snow’s coming down here in Minneapolis today. A snow day, for sure–too bad I have to go to the office at some point.

  5. Oh I’m so glad you mentioned The Children’s Book. I started it but it got eclipsed by East of Eden, which we are reading this month for the book club I run. I really love how so many of my favorite vintage fashiony girls online are also book lovers :-)

  6. I’ve only read The Book of Lost Things out of all the books on your list & it was enjoyable. I couldn’t finish Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell-it was like a sedative-every time I tried to read more I’d fall right to sleep. I still need to give it another go one of these days. If you haven’t read If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, it’s beautifully written. Also good was The Meaning of Night.

  7. Writing from Brooklyn to say that The Children’s Book is what I am reading right now. Reading Possession when I lived in SF changed my life a little, and I was so glad to see another by her- about Victorian Bohemia too! Unfortunately, I bought the hardback and couldn’t pack it- too heavy. I am reading a book described as “fungal noir” instead called Finch.
    (turtledoves are looking in at me from the fire escape!)

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