Every room in my house, including all the bathrooms and the basement, has books. My mother and three sisters have similar decorating tastes. A family acquaintance once commented, rather snidely, that it was like we lived in a library. We didn’t keep her around long because who wouldn’t want to live in a library?
If you push me, I will admit to believing that heaven looks a lot like the Huntington Library; a lovely old mansion, seriously great books on the shelves, beautiful art on the walls all surrounded by a stunning garden. Since it’s my heaven, I would include the chamber orchestra playing Mozart that happened to be performing the very first time I visited the Huntington Library, and a Starbucks-free, of course.
I love books. I love the way they look. I love the way they feel in my hands. I love the way they smell–especially old books.
Not just novels, either, although I have tons of those. I also adore math books, especially geometry. I’m mad about all sorts of children’s books from Pat the Bunny and The Spooky Old Tree to The Bridge to Terabithia and Nancy Drew. And knitting books. I have a collection of tiny old books, all about the size of my hand.
But, if I had to pick just three books for my keeper-shelf . . .
COLD SASSY TREE by Olive Ann Burns
Cold Sassy Tree is the story of fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy, his Grandpa Rucker and Grandpa’s scandalous new wife, Miss Love all set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century small town Georgia. This book made me laugh out loud, Will Tweedy’s tall tale about his aunt inflatable bosom. And cry until I couldn’t see to read, Grandpa Rucker and Will Tweedy lining Grandma’s grave with a blanket of roses.
THE END OF ETERNITY by Isaac Asimov
The End of Eternity is a love story. I know. I know. It’s science fiction. But trust me, it is a love story. Andrew Harlan is an Eternal whose job it is to “adjust” time for the greater good of humanity. But every modification has a price –some people’s timelines are changed out of existence. Harlan and other Eternals live in Eternity a place outside of time, so these adjustments have no consequences in their lives. On one of his assignments Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambent, who is not an Eternal. If Harlan completes his modification of time, Noÿs will cease to exist. Yet, if he saves her, the resulting paradox will destroy all of Eternity.
THE CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters
The Crocodile on the Sandbankis the first book in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mystery series. Amelia Peabody is a forceful English Victorian spinster with a passion for Egypt, cleaning, and issuing orders. Her match is Radcliffe Emerson who has a passion for Egypt, issuing orders, and as it turns out Amelia. (He doesn’t care so much about cleaning.) This novel has everything I love about traditional mysteries. The setting is historical. The POV is first person. Peabody and Emerson are tons of fun.
So, if you had to pick three novels for your keeper shelf what would they be?