My Favorite Books & The Perfect Dress For Bookworms

I always struggle whenever people ask me what my favorite books are. For me, growing up moving a lot meant that my most constant and intimate friends were books. The library was often the first place I'd ask to visit when we moved somewhere new and finding all of my favorite authors on the shelf there brought a sense of welcome and normality to each new home. So, I'm quite attached to certain novels and authors that helped me through difficult years or I happened to read at a important crossroad in my life. Attached to the point where when I start to talk about a book I really like or author I admire and hear criticism towards them it feels very personal. In college I had a professor who brought up Madeleine L'Engle only to be completely dismissive of her works and it really bothered me because L'Engle wrote books that helped me keep moving on days when I wanted to give up. (She's still one of my favorite authors and re-reading her works inspires me in new ways; I love how your relationship with a book and how you see the characters changes if you read it during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Each experience of the book is unique from the last one because you're in a different life stage; passages or characters you overlooked in the past suddenly speak to you in a new way.) My favorite authors feel like friends or mentors and it's hard to hear criticism towards them without taking it personally. My favorites aren't my favorites because of the quality of prose or an author's understanding of syntax or the story arc; criticisms of the writer's skill or grammar don't bother me. But dismissive attitudes towards the work as a whole, perhaps the genre in general (as someone who loves Science Fiction and Fantasy); a response of "oh you enjoyed that?" tends to make one feel defensive, but also ready to retreat. Why yes, I did enjoy that novel and I think I'd rather be reading it (or a sequel) than listening to the judgement in your tone!
So perhaps I'm overly sensitive, but it also comes from being overly attached to books, and it makes me like a dragon hoarding its treasure--I usually want to keep the books I enjoy the most to myself. I love the experience of reading. Of being so caught up in a novel that you forget to eat and you don't even hear someone trying to talk to you when they're sitting inches away. Novels can put my heart in my throat, make my stomach twist in anxiety, or even make me laugh out loud. My face is apparently quite a picture when I'm reading a good book. When I'm fully engaged in a book what is happening to those characters feels more significant than almost anything happening in my real life. Realities of living become minor interruptions between periods when you can get back to your novel and find out what has been happening to the characters while you've been away working. I'm always disappointed when I reach the end of a good novel, no matter how well the plot ties up the ending never makes up for the fact I would rather have continued reading that story for another few days. But they always come to an end and then it's on to the next novel or author, seeking something that gives you that rush again. I could ramble on about how I adore books, but instead I'll cut to the chase and list of few favorites that have made me feel. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I savored them at just the right moment for them to make a permanent impression on me...

Fun fact: books have not always been shelved with their spines facing out. Titling or shelf-marking can appear on all sides (including the edges of the paper) and may indicate the past shelving practices in some libraries. Above left is an example of edge marbling which became popular in Europe in the 17th century.

*pictures by Thomas*



  1. What an amazing place to take photos! I love your book dress!!

  2. I love how you've edited these pictures, the colours are so rich! :)

  3. Oh I adore I Capture the Castle, and the Hero and the Crown is one of those books that captured me completely when I was younger. I don't think I've ever met anyone else who has read it! This whole shoot is perfect!

  4. I'm so happy to hear someone else who is familiar with the Tripod series! My dad, who is a sci-fi author and has a ginormous sci-fi book collection, introduced me to the series when I was ten years old. Myself, I am a huge L. M. Montgomery fan and have her entire collection of 25+ novels. I used to hide them away from my book collection because I was tired of hearing her dismissed as a "children's" author, which she is not at all. But now I proudly display my collection because she helped shape who I am today.

    By the way, based on your book list, if you haven't already read it, you strike me as someone who would love Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea" trilogy!

  5. Gorgeous pictures, and what a great list of books! I LOVE I Capture the Castle, and The Hero & the Crown.

  6. I love this look! A mustard cardigan paired with old books is just my style. Have you read "A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab? It was one of the best books I've read recently. The sequel, "A Gathering of Shadows" was great as well. As a fellow fantasy fan, I'd highly recommend them!

  7. I love your blog and hate to seem overly critical of anything...but the font you used to list your favorite books is really, really difficult to read.

  8. I'm so excited to see others that love /The Hero and the Crown/! I also had never heard anyone else who had read it! It was one of the few books I took with me when I moved across the US.

  9. Wow! I couldn't agree more: libraries have a way of making one feel so at home! As I kid I was always on the move, too, but my favorite libraries were the ones we had in San Jose. Now that we live in louisville I realize how awesome our libraries were (ten stories? lemme at it!)

    Also, I just want to point out that I love that you love the Tripod Series because that was a huge part of my childhood (we - my two older sisters and I - had this song we listened to in the pool and at the very end we would line up and hold hands and jump in yelling, "WE LOVE YOU HENRY" and I don't know, it's a really quirky thing but it was one of my favorite things.) and quite honestly you are one of the few people I've ever ran into it (I don't know, what do you call these blogger-reader-relationships? haha) who's read (and enjoyed!) them. Ahh, so much fun!!

    You have such a beautiful library and those stairs oh my heavens!!! You fit in so well!! (and oh my goodness gracious those books ahh so so lovely!!)


  10. This calls to my heart and soul!: what you wrote (even if my own list is different); your dress; your location!!! Where I live there is an organization called Booksavers: if they can't resell or rehome a book, they can recycle it, even encyclopedia-sized books ... so when I do have to let go (even just a little ...), that makes it far easier.


  11. Northanger Abbey is one of my absolute favourites too and that dress! I want it so much its the best!


  12. You look stunning!

  13. Really lovely look! :) Superb dress that tells straight off of your hobby! ;) I love books too and I try to see libraries in the cities that I visit...

  14. What a beautiful place! I've never seen edge marbling before; it's exquisite! The top of my favourite childhood books list is the Narnia Chronicles. Fantasy is my favourite genre :)

  15. The Hero and the Crown! Loved it so much growing up, now I think I may have to go back and read it again.

  16. YES to L'Engle!!

    A Wrinkle in Time has been my 'comfort read' book since Grade 3. The characters and story just lit up my wee imagination when my teacher read it to the class. Meg was/is my "original Hermione" and like you said above, I love how each time I join her character in all of the Murry/O'Keefe adventures, my observations and relationship with her character continues to shift and evolve.
    I'm also pretty sure I still carry a little literary crush on Calvin O'Keefe, LOL!

  17. Oh Rebecca how I love this blog. The library is magnificent! I'm going to hunt down some of your favorite books one of these days and have a read. I must admit I'm not familiar with any of those---well maybe one.

    I'm trying to go back and catch up on some of your blogs that I missed while I was out of commission. An enjoyable way to spend some time as I recover from the new knee.

    I think you must be settling in to Northern Ireland quite well. It is truly a lovely place. Best to you and Thomas.

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