Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Walled Garden Full of Tame Dragons

Barbara Holland
The final essay in Barbara Holland's Endangered Pleasures is entitled Books. Not that books are endangered but that reading for pleasure might be. Children, she writes, are encouraged to read not for joy but for profit. Read to succeed.

"Still," she writes, "there are books, other books, that will never lead to success but that provide an odd, separate, impractical pleasure not offered by anything else on earth. I don't mean noble ideas or philosophical insights, since I seem to be immune to them both, but the books that move permanently into one's head and construct their own space there, a kind of walled garden full of tame dragons, that we can walk around in whenever we want."

I love that image. I find I have a garden that holds Scout dressed in her pumpkin outfit walking home through the rustling leaves. Another garden contains Zuckerman's farm and a clever spider named Charlotte endlessly spinning her web. Still another is a garden within a garden - a Secret Garden discovered by lonely orphan Mary Lennox.

Who or what inhabits your walled gardens?


  1. Actually, the same characters that inhabit yours, but, I would add the artist/illustrator/writer/and gardener extraordinaire Tasha Tudor.

    My library system has Endangered Pleasures and I will check this out sometime soon.

    1. I have a picture in my mind of Ms. Tudor standing in her garden wearing a sun bonnet! I know of her but don't know much about her. I will have to investigate. Thanks.