what we are reading

This post is dedicated to my husband, Rich, who has happily allowed me to fill our house with books.


Book love.  My earliest memories involve books.  First, my mother and father read to me.  Then, when I could read by myself, I began with Laura’s Little House books.  They will always hold a very special place in my heart because I started my reading adventures with them.   All through my growing up years, I was reading books, most of which came from the library.  However, I also had my own personal collection of beloved books; every single LM Montgomery book I could get my hands on, for instance.  I kept my favorite books in a row on the headboard of my bed, which had a shelf on top.  I was very protective of my books and remember being horrified when a friend returned one of them to me with the binding bent all the way through and the cover aged almost beyond recognition.  I am still sad about my copy of Anne’s House of Dreams, because I myself dropped it in a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  I taped the corners of my new books as soon as I bought them, to try to keep them from getting dog-eared and ripped.  I carefully wrote my name and date inside each cover and read these books over and over again.

There was a period of time in my twenties when I didn’t read very much at all.  Let me clarify.  I did read, and I read every day, but the books I read were now written by authors like Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, & Mercer Mayer, and were about 20 pages long, tops.  I read these books out loud with small children in my lap.

Ah yes, I was very busy with life and having/raising babies, that I simply had no time to read much.

When life became more manageable, (and I am now in my thirties), I slowly came back to my books and discovered I still had an insatiable appetite for reading.  I realized anew that this was part of what made life good, in my opinion.  A big, delicious book and time to read it.

In the winter, my favorite time to read is at the end of the day, in my bed.  I also read quite a bit in the car when Rich is driving, or during Seth & Sarah’s nap time.

In the summer, I like to read outside in the sunshine while wearing sunglasses, as the children play.

This Saturday, Rich and I took Jacob and Ethan to their friend’s house, and because they live very near my favorite antique store, I asked him if we could visit it.

I had no strong desires to purchase anything, I just love to browse a good antique place (and this one is big and full of neat things to see).  What I was truly keeping my eyes open for was an old wire egg basket for my kitchen. 

But, while looking for kitchen things,  

I found a booth that apparently belonged to kindred spirits of the bookish sort!

Although not techinally antiques, I found several Tasha Tudor books, my friends.  Be still my heart, vintage (1970’s) editions, with hard covers.

This Tasha illustrated copy of The Wind in the Willows was 25 dollars and out of my price-range.

However, I held it, looked into it, and swooned.

“O terrible bad, sir, terrible deep the snow is.”


This is what I took home on an afternoon in which I had no intention to buy (of all things) books, but the book fairy led me to them and placed them into my life!

The maroon one is an old and quaint animal-stories book.  The whole stack belongs to me, but is to read out loud to the family.

You see, I still have small children to sit in my lap, and I do still love a good 20 pager now and then. 

Snowflake Bentley is a newish book, a true story about a man who was obsessed with photographing snowflakes and kept trying until he succeeded.  Made me cry. 

In the same booth, I found SNAKE BOOKS!  Remember, my seven year old, Caleb, wants to know and see anything about snakes.  We purchased him this one:


Snakes from the World, with illustrations from life, 1944

The text will be challenging for him, but the photos are great and he loves the book.  He took it to school this morning.

I am currently in the midst of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.  I purchased this one online and it came in the mail on Saturday (the book fairy was good to me that day) What a substantial, wonderfully-written novel it is.  I read it a long time ago and thought it was high time to read it again.  This one is translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, and in my opinion is much more readable than the last translation I used.  There is a lot to be said for old classic literature compared to some of the lighter fiction.  It’s like comparing a steak to a cookie.  My goal for this year is to eat more steak and less cookies.

(The old snapshots are something else I picked up from the antique store.  I plan on putting them into a journal.)

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”   Jane Austen


If you enjoyed this post, please feel at liberty to send me a Barnes and Noble gift certificate.

0 thoughts on “what we are reading

  1. I love books! Of all kinds! I even have those ancient books which are handed down from generation to generation (0n hubby`s side) with old Latin, Italian, German & Greek languages of which no one can really read anymore. Those books collection in the shop are uniquely old. Can I say it like this? hehehehe …Oh, antique shop! I love antique shop. Once, I bought a secretaire as my birthday present from hubby the last 3 years and I found one that it almost so old in an antique shop. It was quite expensive but it is worth it. I found our later that on the leftside border of the secretaire there was a carving of a signature of a woman named Karoline Dether and googled for her. Found the route of original family tree there and I wrote a letter to the family to tell them of their family antique secretaire and send off the pic of it. I was very surprised that the grandma of the family Dether responded and told me that the original owner of that secretaire was her great-aunt and she send off the pic of Karoline with that secretaire.It was the most loveliest moment for us both and we are connected through with that one antique secretaire. Love antiques!

  2. I love love love the Tasha books and was thinking, in a very greedy fashion, how much fun it would be to go there together..the weekend will not be long enough! The Lord’s prayer is the very best find of all of them, but seriously, to find that many Tasha books?!!!! Wow! Last night I was watching a cooking show and the chef smelled everything before adding it to the dish, I so do that with old books!I agree with Fwren I love any old childrens’ books and think it is so sweet that Caleb brought his book to school with him!Wind In The Willows is a Favorite of my fathers so I never pass them up.Love your posts Shanda!!!Love, JO

  3. oh, i LOVE me some books too! our home has more than i really think is necessary, and yet, i sooo enjoy a good book! old books, new books, what have you. we have a lot of them! i for one, am not interested in a Kindle or whatever; i still like to hold my books in my hands to read them!i did so enjoy this post!! =)

  4. We still have contacts and she has no phone. So writing letters are most beautiful and full of wonder in itself just like in the old days. She is 71 years old this coming Feb and a lovely woman who has been through much in her lives. She has been at the Nazi camp with her whole family when they were little and I was indeed very surprised there were still few of the Nazi survivors lives today. Her stories are full of wonder in so many ways which no words can do justice to justify it all. Her times were of other world and I love her ways of writing wheneve she writes to me.She lives in an elderly home far in the woods up in Zurich and I met her twice the last year for her birthday and before Christmas. She is full of adventure herself and the instance I met her and the way she speaks her words into my heart, I knew it that we mend a special friendship since then … It was like fate written that I have her family secretaire and we have this special friendship.She asked me just one question when she saw the pics of that secretaire …`You must so love writing that you bought it, right? I mean what a secretaire are for but laying thoughts on the leather journal. Do you have many?` Oh, she knew my heart well! hehehehe …

  5. Have you seen the Anna Karenina movie yet? I haven’t heard many reviews, but I’m anxious to hear if it’s even close to the book, which I adore.My good friend, who is an editor for a large Christian publisher, just started an online book club. The books are not necessarily Christian, but many participants will be. Perfect for busy moms who don’t have time for book club meetings, but who want to discuss a book after they finish it. Here is the link in case you are interested! http://stephanierische.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/announcingthe-2013-book-of-the-month-club/

  6. We are such kindred spirits, Shanda. I have so many of my childhood books still—and Boyscout laughs at me because I go into antique stores and buy old Eloise Wilkin picture books or Tasha Tudor books. :)Last New Years we spent the entire day in an old antique book store browsing titles, dedications and epilogues of books. It was a nasty, cold day well spent! πŸ™‚ <3Love the pictures and you’ve inspired me to read Anna Karenina.

  7. @SpazzyMommy – I love how blogging lets us connect with others who have the same interests!  Yes, we are kindred spirits and I’m so happy we are friends.  Maybe you can post pics of your finds on your site someday soon!  So I can see them!  Eloise Wilkin is also a favorite of mine, her illustrations make me happy every time I read her books to the kids.  Let me know what you think of Anna Karenina!  817 pages, my dear!  LOL

  8. OHHH, since grad school classes start this week, I know my reading for fun days are over again. (I did read a big fat book over the vacation…not too entertaining, but NOT academic either πŸ˜‰ Can you believe that we don’t have a bookstore in our area? (except if you call Walmart a bookstore). The one close to us closed. I loved to go and sit with a cup of coffee and just look through the books.

  9. We just read snowflake Bentley too! and cut out paper snowflakes andhung them in the window, and then went out and played in the snow. You’ve got to watch this little video on his life with your kiddos after you read the book. We really liked it!

    I am swooning with you over that Wind in the Willows T.T. copy !!!! That was one of my earliest ‘draws’ into the world of books! Our library hasd a pretty, well-worn hard-cover copy that i just loved the feel of in my hands. πŸ™‚

  10. laughing about your book fairy! because i have one too. πŸ™‚ sounds like yours is soso good to you! hahaha.loveLOVE books. and we are currently reading the little house books to sarah and jacob, the older boys heard each copy oodles of times. when we traveled out west this past summer…my heart ached πŸ™‚ not being able to visit de smet s.d. and the town near the banks of plum creek. get this shanda, we drove within 40 miles of both places! and i’ve dreamed my whole life of visiting! but we were on our way to visit dear friends and didn’t have time. happy reading! and with the crowd of friends who are enjoying this post…let us know what you buy with your gift certificate. πŸ˜‰

  11. You know Barnes and Noble gives discounts to homeschool teachers, and you are still schooling those preschoolers! We certainly do like a lot of the same things. I like to go looking in antique stores, even though I don’t need anything. The beauty of many items and the displays can be inspiring to me, or feed me, like looking at quilts or flowers. Those books are wonderful. I have a few Tasha Tudor treasures I found at rummage sales, and used book stores…they are so pretty and such a delight to find. I have “Give us this day” and love it. I was pondering reading choices during our morning drive to the doctor this morning. David was snoozing. I have been picking light books this year to pick up at Doctor appointments or for my moments here and there in the day. I think I am looking for happy little reads. So let me know if you have any recommendations. I will put in a few serious books too, often missionary biographies as they challenge me and often deepen my outlook.

  12. I love this post.  And we love books at our house too.  But I am out of the loop because I don’t think I’ve ever read a Tasha Tudor book.  I love hearing of new (old) books.  Have you ever read The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes?Happy reading.  I want to read more and better this year too. 

  13. I thought of you when Diane and I visited a large antique store in Maine last week. There was a collector who had a section of Fiestaware dishes. I was looking for a good book, but there were not any book collectors in that store. There were a few books, but nothing wetted my reading appetite.

  14. We just cleaned some books out of our library before Christmas — donated some old college books that belonged to my husband (outdated material) and gave some that we’ve read several times to family. I read many books when our children were little and now we have a large basket of books that we read to grandchildren when they are here — children love to be read to!! I love your antique store — we don’t have anything so neat and organized in our area — wish we did.

  15. Yes, I’m doing the book club. I tried to be part of a “real” book club, but I couldn’t commit to the meetings. This is perfect b/c I can do it on my own time and jump in and out as time allows. I’ve started the first book and it’s a real page turner! Hope to see you there!

  16. I love books too. My husband read all the Little House books when he was recovering from hepatitis in Africa. I had read them before, and took them with us to Africa for the children. The bookstores in our town closed too, but we do have another used bookstore in town now. We also still have a Christian bookstore in town. I’m going to buy a gift certificate for my son/s birthday present there.

  17. Always love your book posts. Sophie is my Little House books lover. She is collecting all of them in hardcover. Her question for you is if you can recommend a Laura Ingalls biography suitable for a nine-year-old to read.

  18. I DID enjoy your post, but I can’t manage a gift certificate! I think you would love the Jan Karon books. Have you ever read any of them? They are so sweet and innocent. I loved Father Tim and his strong faith and tender heart. I have always loved books as well. I am SO thankful I can read. I have a Kindle Fire now, and although I miss holding an actual book in my hand, it is easier living overseas because I can get e books on Amazon and just download them to my reader. So much cheaper and easier than begging my sisters to send me books in English!

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