"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
(Austen Phelps, 1820-1890)
When I was in London recently, I didn't buy anything that was cut, sewn or stitched, which I think is the first time ever that I've come home without indulging in some sort of sartorial fix. I did purchase some books, however. Thirteen, actually. And Luca bought twelve.
The night before we flew home to LA, the stack of tomes had grown to an alarming height on the desk in our hotel room. Using my expert packing tactics, I managed to cram most of them into my suitcase but when the zipper threatened to throw a fit, I buried the rest in Luca's. The Divine Italian muttered something about bricks the next morning when he heaved the suitcases into the cab, but I busied myself with looking for my sunglasses and pretended not to hear.
Here are my new companions in their new Hollywood digs, with titles below...
1. Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner
2. Three Men and a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
3. Diary of a Pilgrimage, Jerome K. Jerome
4. All Passion Spent, Vita Sackville West
5. The English, Jeremy Paxman
6. Craven House, Patrick Hamilton
7. Two People, A. A. Milne
8. Voices from Dicken's London, Michael Paterson
9. The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett
10. The House by the Churchyard, J. Sheridan Le Fanu
11. Widow Barnaby, Fanny Trollope
12. The Haunted Hotel, Wilkie Collins
13. Rhapsody in Green: The Garden Wit and Wisdom of Beverley Nichols
And here are Luca's:
1. Read Me and Laugh, Gaby Morgan
2. Horrid Henry Robs the Bank, Francesca Simon
3. Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman, Francesca Simon
4. A Hat Trick for Horrid Henry, Francesca Simon
5. Legend of Captain Crow's Teeth, Eoin Colfer
6. Digory the Dragon Slayer, Angela McAllister
7. Secret Agent Jack Stalwart, Elizabeth Singer Hunt
8. Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire, Tommy Donbavand
9. Beast Quest: Torgor the Minotaur, Adam Blade
10. Beast Quest: Sepron the Sea Serpent, Adam Blade
11. Beast Quest: Epos the Flame Bird, Adam Blade
12. Beast Quest: Trillion the Three-Headed Lion, Adam Blade
I highly recommend this one. Luca begs me to read it aloud to him when he's in the bath, which of course I am more than happy to oblige. His favorite poem so far is "The Day I Got My Finger Stuck Up My Nose" by Brian Patten, which he can now recite by heart, complete with dramatic effects. Despite the cautionary message of the poem, his finger has yet to leave that particular refuge, but I'm still hoping.
Here's the reading nook I had built in his bedroom.
I filled the little side shelves with some of my favorite childhood books like "The Phantom Tollbooth", "The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles" and "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase", but he hasn't reached for them yet. Maybe when he's exhausted his "Beast Quest" obsession, but I think they publish them as quickly as he devours them; at last count, there were 18 different titles on Amazon.
I know I need to remind myself that half the adventure of reading is in the choosing -- the narrowing down of endless possibilities to the author whose story you want to discover. If I want Luca to love books as much as I do, he needs to embark on his own journey and I need to keep quiet and let him.
Ooh, but it's hard.