The flurries are in the air, the roads are slick, and the last of the pine needles have been swept away like Old Man 2008. So what's a vintage gal at heart to do when the winds blow and there are drifts instead of thrifts?
Why curl up with a good book, a blanket and a nice toasty beverage!
I've spent a share of the last week myself revisiting some old leather-bound friends. And you know, the funniest thing happened...
When I opened up the Treasure Box for this Wednesday's post-- what did I find inside? But a list of some of favorite romantic novels to share with you today!
Now, I suppose I should explain-- I use the term "romantic" here more in the spirit of the classic Georgian and Victorian novel-- and less like something with a 100% probability of a painting of Fabio on the cover. (Yes, I'm sure Fabio's a super-nice guy; he just didn't have a cameo in any Dickens or anything. I mean Hard Times was not about him being unable to believe it's not butter.)
And while what we read educates us and even reflects how we feel about life.... It can also influence our moods, transport us to new worlds... and even make us long to bring back just pocketful of it all into our real lives.
Those are the sorts of books I've been thinking about... The ones that linger.
My favorite of all time is still Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. At the time I first read it, I was doing a lot of traveling for work, feeling a bit existential and powerless in my everyday life, and Jane-- Jane was my heroine! Jane seemed to have all the Gothic romance bells and whistles-- orphanages and cruel teachers, sickness and friendships, mystery and suspense, desolate landscapes, plucky heroines, deep secrets, intriguing anti-heroes, mysticism and magic... I read it, and for the first time in my lengthy reading life, I recalled thinking, "Hey, there might just be something to this classic novel stuff!"
I went on to read Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte-- one I think well-worth a read, though disturbing in its lack of obvious moral compass. I mean, if anyone is in need of serious anger management counseling, it's the story's lead, Heathcliff. And why, Catherine, too, could be in therapy for months with her codependent behavior.
But talk about windswept moors, and mansions, hauntings and craggy hills! Fans of melodrama and the macabre would do well to open its cover.
On a lighter note, what about a different Jane-- Jane Austen? With loves won and lost, confusion and conniving, politics and polite society, (from Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Predjudice to Northganger Abbey), any of the Austen novels make a light, pleasant read for a winter day.
And you know, sometimes with that cocoa in hand, it's east to feel a bit like a kid again. So the romantic reader might also find the fun in the tales of Frances Hodgeson Burnett-- like The Secret Garden, or The Little Princess (in earlier editions called: Sara Crew or What Happened at Miss Minchin's).
Another writer worth a read is T.H. White. Whether it's his Sword in the Stone series about the humorous exploits of young King Arthur, or whether it's Mistress Masham's Repose (White's continuing story of Johnathan Swift's Liliputians!), these reads are a pleasant way to spend the day.
I hope now that 2009 has stepped onto the stage, and it's back to the daily routine again in spite of sleet and snow, you're able to find some things you enjoy, a warm place to enjoy them and possibly... quite possibly... an old friend to enjoy them with.
Even one of the papery kind.
- If you missed last Sunday's post of repurposing Christmas decor for everyday use, click here.
Otherwise, I hope to see you this coming Sunday!