Friday, January 6, 2017

Bookstore Quest 2016: Part Two

We had our first snow of winter yesterday and the view from my window was quite white and holiday-greeting-card lovely. As I counted the slowly falling flakes, I realized that in the previous letter concerning my Bookstore Quest I failed to mention the titles of the two used books I purchased at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.

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.

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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.

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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... 


  1. I think it's fun that you had the books gift wrapped! Both of them appeal to me. I read Middlemarch in 1985 and can't remember a thing about it. Diaries, letters, etc., are favorites of mine, and I admire William Maxwell. My library happens to have both of these books and they're both now on hold for me.

    1. Joan, the gift wrapping is just a little treat, especially at Christmas. I love buying presents for myself!

      Bless the library. You will probably read them before I do...

  2. Only two you couldn't live without? :) They do sound good, especially the Mead. I love books like that, too. In fact, I wish I could write one! Writing a book is still on my life list.

    1. Kathy, I did show great restraint, don't you think? I most likely could have found more, but I was on that search for The Blue Book.

      You and I have both written a book full of blog posts. You know there are companies that will print them for you...and there is your book.