“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


50 books

the morning was cold.
there were moments of wind howling through the windows that don't quite perfectly meet the walls.
there was sleet.

i am grateful to live on this street, on this small block, where i think nothing of tucking pjs into boots and running into neighbors' yards to take pictures.  where they  think nothing of it, at least they've not said anything.  indeed, one neighbor has told me it makes him smile to see me running about with my camera.  in truth it probably makes him laugh, but he is kind to just say smile.

my small world.


perhaps it's because i have a fear of travel - not a fear of other places, but of travel - that i find so many books about other places on my list.  i all the time travel in my dreams, and i all the time travel when i read.  even so, when uncle typewriter tossed out the idea of listing our favorite books, and kelly said 50 books  for her Year of 50 Things, and i said i'm in, i was surprised at all the places i've been.

i've often said plot is secondary for me, that it is the beauty of the words i find more important.  my list is full of foreign lands, magic, safety, courage, and a bit of baseball.  the first 5 or 6 are indeed my first 5 or 6, but the books beyond are in no particular order. numbers 9 & 40 i may never read again - they were such hard, beautiful reads - and number 10 makes me defensive; do not judge this incredible poetic book by the chick flick movie (and i say this as someone who loves the movie).  some are true stories.  all are pages to other places.  magic carpet rides.

  1. a short history of a small place / t.r. pearson     
  2. wind, sand and stars / antoine de sainte-exupery
  3. the far pavilions / m.m. kaye
  4. to kill a mockingbird / harper lee
  5. out of africa / isak dinesen
  6. west with the night / beryl markham
  7. the milagro beanfield war / john nichols
  8. the last place on earth / roland huntford
  9. cold mountain / charles frasier
  10. under the tuscan sun / frances mayes
  11. seabiscuit / laura hillenbrand
  12. gates of fire / steven pressfield
  13. love in the time of cholera / gabriel garcia marquez
  14. the secret garden / frances hodgson burnett
  15. chocolat / joanne harris
  16. the story of edgar sawtelle / david wroblewski
  17. the night circus / erin morgenstern
  18. anne of green gables (series) / l.m. montgomery
  19. midnight in the garden of good and evil / john berendt
  20. the big sleep / raymond chandler
  21. the swiss family robinson / johann d. wyss
  22. on the road / jack kerouac
  23. little women / louisa may alcott
  24. zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance / robert pirsig
  25. beloved / toni morrison
  26. going back to bisbee / richard shelton
  27. the electric kool-aid acid test / tom wolfe
  28. a confederacy of dunces / john kennedy
  29. a good year / peter mayle
  30. seaworthy: adrift with william wallis in the golden age of rafting / t.r. pearson
  31. blood meridian / cormac mccarthy
  32. corelli's mandolin / louis de bernieres
  33. atlas shrugged / ayn rand
  34. heart of darkness / joseph conrad
  35. the little prince / antoine de sainte-exupery
  36. sometimes a great notion / ken kesey
  37. the secret life of bees / sue monk kidd
  38. the once and future king / t.h. white
  39. into thin air / jon krakauer
  40. the life of pi / yann martel
  41. the language of flowers / vanessa diffenbaugh
  42. bella tuscany / frances mayes
  43. harry potter (series) / j.k. rowling
  44. the time it never rained / elmer kelton
  45. the right stuff / tom wolfe
  46. the boxcar children, book 1 / gertrude chandler warner
  47. the orchid thief: a true story of beauty & obsession / susan orlean
  48. a passage to india / e.m. forster
  49. if i never get back / darryl brock
  50. men at work: the craft of baseball / george f. will

my current read is taking me through venice. 
there are gondolas.
where are you?  it's your turn to share.
i'd love to see your list.



  1. swooning over your list
    and I so get the love of wordsong
    and the pictures painted between the lines.
    oh how this makes me want to smell
    freshly turned pages,

  2. This is how I feel about travel, myself. I'm not afraid of it, no. But I've never gotten the chance. So I escape through books. And I've been to just as many places as you, it seems. Sadly, I've been too caught up with my blog, school, work, and other things that I haven't spent enough time reading. I'm trying to get more reading time in before bed, but sometimes I'm just too tired to function at all. I failed miserably with my Goodreads goal last year, for example. Oh well. Perhaps this year will be different. :)

    1. i understand this. i always read in bed, but so often fall asleep 5 minutes in. i just said to someone on twitter that one of the things i love about books is that they are patient creatures and will wait for us. thank goodness.

  3. Oh, yes, I found myself nodding again and again all the way through, there are many here that almost made it onto my list... and those that I have not read will be making it onto my wish list now. If seen Under the Tuscan Sun but not read the book, it will be going at the top of my list.

    And you in your boots and pajamas, that made me smile and smile.

    1. the book is totally different - well, not totally, but it's a true story about a married couple rebuilding this house, not a single woman. it's full of recipes and magic and thoughts about home. i recommend it highly.

  4. I have read many of the books you've listed which indicates a similar sense of taste, so I'll be looking for the rest and putting them on my to read list. Thank you for sharing your love of books!! (I would add the poisonwood bible by kingsolver-brilliant!!)

    1. oh. poisonwood bible. i love barbara kingsolver, and almost listed prodigal summer, but poisonwood bible was a book i just couldn't get through. it is so well told and so well written, i would find myself shaking while i read it, and i finally put it down. i just couldn't take it. it is on my list of books to finish, but i will have to buck up. not sure it will be this year - lol!

  5. I love this list and know I will be returning to it again (and possibly, again after that). Some I've read, some I haven't. #9 was so good, but yes, such a hard read. #10, yes yes, what you said. #23, yes. And The Far Pavilions, #3. My parents had this book when I was growing up. It was a big brick of a book, with purple mountains on the cover. I've read it exactly halfway through, twice, both times while my sweetie was away on military tours. I love the story, love love it, but I have no idea what happens to Anjuli and Ash and it occurs to me that it is time to find out! This is a wonderful list, and a topic dear to my heart, and I'm going to read Kelly's now too and make my own list. And then there is this: I posted to my blog a couple of years ago about To Kill a Mockingbird and you posted a comment and that is how we met and so, just another lovely association to an already revered book.

  6. it seems like we've always known each other - how cool that we met over a book. and thank you for the comments about #10. :)

    i have that same copy of the far pavilions, with the purple mountains on the cover. i also have a small worn-out, water damaged paperback version i take to the lake every summer; i re-read this every year. it's such a long wonderful read. i hope you manage to find out what happens to anjuli & ash - i will just give one word as a hint. afghanistan. (i hope that's spelled correctly!) xoxo

  7. such a wonderful list! so much beauty.

  8. I had to smile when I read this post. Now that we are living in the Seattle area, I am thoroughly enjoying every little "different" thing in my life! I share your chilly air that comes through a window that doesn't quite meet the walls (but oh how I love living in this 1933 remolded craftsman in Kirkland!) and your pjs tucked into you boots just to go out and take photos? Yea, I get that. :-) Stood out on the frozen deck just a few weeks ago to take photos of my crocheted snowflakes. I've also been dubbed by one neighbor that sees me with my camera in the hood as "rain walker!" God I love it here!
    A happy day to you! Oh, and thank you for the book list...I glanced and saw Box Car Children...I must read that again someday.

  9. I love that we have so many books in common!!

  10. yes, the boxcar children. i found a most worn hardcopy of is in a FREE box at a yard sale years ago. i took it, went to my truck and held it close to me and cried. that is a book of my early years and i had not thought of it in years. now i read that copy ever so often. how could someone put it in a FREE box?
    in my fondest. tilda

  11. oh yum...
    This book list thing of Kelly's, Brilliant!
    my list of to read is growing...

  12. Your list is gorgeous and there are some here that I see popping up again and again in the lists of others which leads me to believe that they are worth reading and worth remembering. Thank you for this ♥

  13. I hesitate to make my list because it won't look like anyone else's. A silly reason, I know, but the literary world still looks down on the fantasy genre, and that is what I love most. It takes me not just traveling to foreign times and lands but to places that are far richer and more imaginative than anything that can be found in reality. And here's the odd serendipity of blogging again: just a few minutes ago, I finally got the nerve to devote an entire section of my blog to the part of me that loves fantasy so much.

  14. I'm I guess in England somewhere. Just started Pride & Prejudice!
    I know I'm the last human being to read her. We have family who live beside Jane Austen's estate in England so I wanted to familiarize myself with her and her stories before going over.

    I am in LOVE with your list. It's really sad that I haven't read much lately. I'm printing your list and going through it. Thank you.... xo G

  15. I am a huge fan of the Anne of Green Gables series, too. It has been a long time since I picked that up.

  16. I have wandered over to your blog from jude's place...it's cozy here! I'm completely at home with your photos and words, thank you. I chose this post to leave a response since I wanted to share titles that rocked me the last few months:

    Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
    Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
    Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
    Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

    thanks again,

    1. christi - thank you for wandering over and for making me smile. i almost added dovekeepers - almost; it's hard to narrow down to 50 (i'd thought originally it would be hard to find 50, but i was so wrong) - and i loved both ahab's wife and remarkable creatures. i've not read year of wonders, but your likes mirror mine so much i am adding it to my list.

      thank you also for your kind words. so nice to meet you!


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .