O for a book and a shady nook,
Either indoors or out;
With the green leaves whispering overhead,
Or the street cries all about;
Where I may read all at my ease,
Both of the new and old;
For a jolly good book whereon to look
Is better to me than gold.
~John Wilson (early 19th century Scottish author)
…for people who love books and need
To touch them, open them, browse for a while,
And find some common good––that’s why we read.
Readers and writers are two sides of the same gold coin.
You write and I read and in that moment I find
A union more perfect than any club I could join:
The simple intimacy of being one mind.
Here in a book-filled sun-lit room below the street,
Strangers––some living, some dead––are hoping to meet.
You know who you are.
You are the person who stockpiles stacks of books
on the bedside table and next to your favorite chair.
The person who sacrifices sleep to read
just one more page.
The person who reads the cereal box when
nothing else is available near the breakfast table.
The girl who falls into an uncovered manhole
walking down a busy street while reading.
The objects of your affection may be
as precious as the Book of Kells.
or as sappy as an Archie and Jughead
It’s the words, the words,
that keep zipping by, telegraphing
an urgent message: What’s next?
~Lois Edstrom “Bookworm” from Almanac of Quiet Days
Most of my life has been a reading rather than a writing life. For too many decades, I spent most of my time reading scientific and medical journals, to keep up with the changing knowledge in my profession. Even as a retired physician, I still spend an hour a day reading medical articles but now have the opportunity to dabble in books of memoir, biography, poetry and the occasional novel.
As a reader, I am no longer a stranger to the author or poet whose words I read. In a few instances, I’ve had the honor and privilege to meet my favorite authors in real life and to interact with them on line. They are friends on the page as well as in my life.
I am no longer strangers with many of you who read my words here on Barnstorming every day – I have been able to meet a number of you over the years. There is no greater privilege than to share words with one another.
No matter where I find my books – in an independent bookstore, in a little free library standing along the roadside, or inside the world’s treasured libraries filled with books of antiquity – I’ll seek out the sanctuary of a shady nook, either inside or out, where I can open the pages to meet up once again with my friends.
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This is a perfect book of words and photos for your shady nook – available for order here: