The used book area was really just a space cut out of the store's event room. A few bookshelves and a display table or two were all that furnished the area but there were enough books to choose from and I quickly put my hands on two I could not live without. You know how that goes.
The Outermost Dream: Literary Sketches by William Maxwell
This collection by the novelist and long-time fiction editor of The New Yorker is a splendid choice. It contains his thoughts on books of biography, memoir, diary or correspondence by such authors as Colette, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, E.B. White, Isak Dinesen and others perhaps not so well known. Mr. Maxwell relished reading true accounts of everyday lives. So do I.
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
I have a fondness for books like this. The author's life was profoundly affected upon reading Middlemarch as a young woman and this memoir intertwined with George Eliot's biography looks to be a fascinating read.
Many years ago, I was determined to read Middlemarch. I had an ancient copy checked out from the library. The hardcover book was small, just right for reading in bed, but the print was very tiny and crammed onto the thin pages. It's a wonder I made it through to the end. But I remember feeling such a sense of awe and accomplishment when I turned the final page. And there were many pages to turn.
Perhaps reading Ms. Mead's experience with the book will prompt a re-reading of the classic.
As you might remember, I had these books gift wrapped. I do hope I get around to reading them. I haven't unwrapped them yet...