As I approach the end of this week, I’ve found it harder to narrow down “books that have had an impact on me” to just seven. In truth, books have shaped me in so many ways over the course of my life. They’ve taught me lessons, opened my eyes to new ways of seeing, pushed my writing further, introduced me to characters who’ve made a home in my heart, and brought me countless hours of joy.
All this is to say that I may just continue these book love posts as a regular feature here at the blog. Because the world could always use more book love!
For today’s entry, I decided to cheat a little, and select an unusual anthology I stumbled across many years ago in a used book sale. 1000 Beautiful Things, by Marjorie Barrows, is a curiosity cabinet in book form. It’s a collection of poems, short stories, essays, psalms, quotations, and excerpts of larger novels and plays. Whatever Ms. Barrows found to be examples of beauty in word form. Compiled in 1945, its contents may show their age, may come across as a bit stuffy to modern readers. But there is something very dear to me that I can open this book and find a few paragraphs from John Ruskin, writing about the transcendental majesty of water. Or find a tiny poem about a quiet, starlit night.
Ms. Barrows and I are alike, in that we are both magpies, collectors of beautiful words. I have files and folders in my computer where I store quotations and poems and favorite short stories. I have a little tin full of short phrases and interesting images written on slips of paper, that I can dive into whenever I’m in need of inspiration. I once papered an entire stairwell with photocopied poems.
Words are my joy, and that joy can come from so many sources in so many ways. So I plan to keep adding to my little curiosity cabinet. And when I am feeling down or discouraged or uninspired, I can open up my collection, and find something to refresh my heart.