Our guest contributor today is Annie Wald, author of Walk with Me (linked to my review and giveaway). I met Annie on my first day in Morocco when I was jet-lagged and dealing with the inevitable worry of moving to a new country–will I find people here that I can be friends with? Will anyone be like me? Annie’s husband, Jack, invited us for dinner and showed us how to find their house. I walked in and saw bookcases everywhere! Of course my first reaction, after Jack and Annie’s warm greeting, was to check out the books. I went home that night with a pile of borrowed books and a peace in my heart–I knew I’d found new friends. –Elizabeth
One of the first things people say when they come to our home for the first time is, “Wow, you have a lot of books!”
I can’t deny it. Almost every room in our house has a bookshelf (or two or three) stocked with books. There’s a saying that books are a window to the world, and here’s a brief glimpse of mine.
In the living room, you’ll find an oversized coffee table book filled with page after page of gorgeous photographs. The title is Morocco: Sahara to the Sea, the country where my husband and I have lived for the last twelve years. Our home is in the capital, Rabat, on the Atlantic coast. But we’ve also had a chance to visit many other places in the book: from the edge of the Sahara, to the High Atlas mountains, into the ancient city of Fez, and up to the Straits of Gibraltar.
You may be surprised to find books in our dining room. In fact, with bookcases on all four walls, the room might be more accurately called a library. Here we keep the books given to us by a retired Scottish woman. As soon as Noreen heard that our sea container en route to Morocco had been lost, (including all of our books), she gave us her personal library, bookcases and all. Many are old leather-bound editions, and one that has come to have special significance for me is a 1910 edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, since John Bunyan’s classic inspired me to write my own allegory. However, I suggest readers start with a contemporary English version if they aren’t comfortable with King James language.
Upstairs we have a little reading nook where we keep our beloved children’s books. There’s my childhood copy of “Little House on the Prairie”, and the storybooks we read to our two daughters when they were growing up. Our family favorite is probably Winnie the Pooh. We still play a game of Pooh sticks whenever we go on a family vacation, and now our grandchildren join in too.
In my study, I keep my books on the art and craft of writing. There are also books for background research on my current writing project, and stacks of novels. You’ll see multicolored flags sticking out from the pages where I’ve marked noteworthy examples of description and plotting and characterization. One well-flagged novel is Cry, the Beloved Country, the poignant story of a Zulu pastor and his prodigal son (and yes, I highly recommend it).
Finally, on my nightstand I have a row of books I’m currently reading. I’m one of those readers who has about a dozen books going at once, plus a few extra dozen in the ‘I really wish I had time for this’ pile. One is by Brian Doyle, an author I just discovered this year who writes about life, love, and parenting. I’m slowly savoring his “Epiphanies and Elegies: Very Short Stories”, a collection of prose poems infused with humor, wonder, and insight.
Have you connected with people over the books you’ve seen in their homes? Leave a comment and join the conversation!
Annie Wald is the author of “Walk with Me: Pilgrim’s Progress for Married Couples” (RiverNorth/Moody). She is the former editor-in-chief of Princeton University Press, and her fiction has been published in numerous journals including Image, The Southern Review and The North American Review.
Read Elizabeth’s review of Walk with Me: Pilgrim’s Progress for Married Couples at 5 Minutes for Mom and enter for a chance to win your own copy.