Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fresh Food, Old Books.

I'm not (and never have been) the biggest fan of summer, as a season.  The heat is not my friend.  I do, however, heartily appreciate the fact that the heat makes things like this possible:

Green beans! Green beans so fresh that when you steam them, they squeak against your teeth!

Mint for my tea (or tabbouleh, or beet salad...), growing just steps outside the door!
Giant, amazing, some-of-them-are-almost-black cherries on sale at the supermarket!

And an unexpected squee for today:

Sometimes people just leave boxes or bags of books outside the door of my local library, and even though I have no time or space for the books I already have, I can never resist nabbing one or two.  Today someone had left several grocery bags of classic books there, and I sat down on the pavement to sift through them.  When I came upon this copy of A Tale of Two Cities, I decided to read its famous first line.  Imagine my surprise when, following best of times, worst of times, bla bla, there was more and it was droll and sharp and actually quite funny!

I should maybe explain that I have a stupid lingering suspicion about "classic" books.  I didn't grow up reading older literature, for the most part (except when they made me in school, which gave it a sour taste), so the more antiquated language of all the things you're Supposed to Read isn't something I was ever accustomed to or had the patience for.

I'm getting better in my ever-advancing age, though, and earlier this year I finished and loved my very first Jane Austen book (Sense and Sensibility), so I was thrilled to really like the first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities and find that Dickens, too, might be readable and enjoyable to me now. 

And as an added bonus, the book's former owner, Mr. William Garrigan of Brooklyn, New York, circa 1927, was nice enough to sign and date it and give it some added awesomeness.  While I myself hate to write in books, I love books that other people have written in, so I was doubly happy to carry this home with me.


  1. I love Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books of all time (I read it at least once a year, and watch the TV adaptation at least twice as well). I find Dickens a lot harder to read - he uses far too many words when only one would do. But his stories are great, and I love watching adaptations of them. Little Dorrit is awesome.

  2. Look at that perfect handwriting! Old books are so wonderful.

  3. I have a similar problem with "classic literature". Recently I decided to try out Jane Eyre because my library had it on their online store as a downloadable audiobook, and to my surprised, I LOVED it! It's definitely worth trying out things you didn't think you'd like!

  4. I adore Dickens and heartily recommend The Old Curiosity Shop. What a fantastic find!

  5. Great find - I don't write in books either, but I love really old books where someone else has - and their handwriting is usually really cool ;)

  6. I know what you mean about the antiquated language of the classics - you really have to concentrate hard! Makes me feel like such a philistine! I have A Tale of Two Cities on my shelf - it WILL get read one of these days! Well done on the veggies :) xx

  7. That's amazing finding a book with a name and a date from that long ago, really cool!