If I ever become proprietor of a small country inn, I will kindly request that all guests provide me in advance with the name of the book they are reading so that I can create a personal literary experience for them. For me - and you too, don't deny it - the very act of reading, while divine, is not enough. To achieve perfect harmony, your physical comfort and your appetite need to be indulged as well.
I have ideas.
* * * * *
Say, for example, you are reading Wuthering Heights:
Catherine's face was just like the landscape -- shadows and sunshine flitting over it in rapid succession; but the shadows rested longer, and the sunshine was more transient...
(Photo by David Sims)
I would make sure you had this pillow nearby to support your lumbar region.
(Sam Taylor Wood "Heathcliff" pillow, The Rug Company, here)
And after checking you were settled, I'd return with something sweet and filling to warm your bones.
(Mincemeat crumble, here)
Or say you've plunged headlong into the sybaritic adventures of Edie, An American Biography:
I preferred the way girls in New York looked -- stranger and more neurotic. A girl always looked more beautiful and fragile when she was about to have a nervous breakdown.
I'd make sure you were sprawled out with this fabulous thing.
(Vivienne Westwood "Mouth" cushion, here)
And bring you something to nibble that raised the bar on sybaritic pleasures.
(Hot chocolate pudding, here)
Perhaps you're caught up with the adventures of Lizzie, the Victorian anti-heroine of "The Eustace Diamonds":
To have her meals, and her daily walk, and her fill of novels, and to be left alone, was all that she asked of the gods.
- Anthony Trollope
(Photo by Tim Walker)
I'd tell you to go unfold yourself on that leather Chesterfield in the corner - the one with this pillow on it.
(Suzanne Sharp "Home Sweet Home" cushion, here)
And give you something locally-grown and delicious to quell your stirrings.
(Early autumn apples on hot toast, here)
Or you're lost in the passionate world of Cassandra Mortmain in I Capture The Castle:
What is it about the English countryside - why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?
- Dodie Smith
(Photo by David Sims)
No need to speak. I have just the cushion to prop yourself up on.
(Home cushion by Committee, here)
By the time you turn the page, I'll be back with something fragrant and hot to keep the wild wind at bay.
(Onion soup with Madeira and Gruyere Toasts, here)
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Editors Note: The Nigel Slater website appears to be temporarily indisposed (it was working fine yesterday). It's an inspiring spot if you've never been there before, so do try again later.