Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Book, A Bolster And A Bite

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...

-Emily Bronte
(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.

-Andy Warhol
(Vogue, 2006)

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)

For more Rug Company news, click here.
For more Nigel Slater recipes, click here or here.
For more on Stella Tennant, click here.

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.


Unknown said...

The idea itself is so divine! Creating a personal literary experience. Would so love to do so, and visit your inn (when- not if it comes up :))

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Book me into Lizzie's room, would you please.

pve design said...

I can only imagine a stay at your fine establishment would leave me "Happy Now!"

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Oh my, oh my, you've graced us again.
This is too much for mouth or mind -- least of all, lumbar! -- to handle ;)

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

When can I book my reservation - pun intended.

Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

I'd never leave the place (though I will probably switch rooms often- just to experience the whole range of what you'd have created.)

Hausfrau said...

Incredible. Book a room for me now--I want to be one of your first guests!

Miss Whistle said...

Please may I come to stay at your Country Inn? It's such a wonderful idea.

Color me Cassandra.


Mrs. Blandings said...

A happy fantasy. I'm checking in next week.

Susan in TX said...

Just open the doors -- we'll be there! :)

Anonymous said...

Hungry already.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

To All : Ooh, it would be so fun to have you all as guests for a literary weekend! Gotta make it happen somehow... :)

Ginny said...

Extraordinary post for this wonderfully gray morning here in Sierra Madre. Going to make mincemeat crumble later today as I am reading the Brontes Go To Woolworths.

Anonymous said...

Please I cannot seem to access Nigel Slater's website.
Does anyone have another link for the Mincemeat Crumble? Sounds perfect for Thanksgiving

Rose said...

I really like that first pillow (although all of them are interesting). And the food, well it doesn't take much to tempt me!

24 Corners said...

I'd have at least a twice a year standing reservation at your inn my dear...or maybe even seasonally and I do hope you will be selling your literary knitwear in the gift shop, along with your stichery panels!
Once again...your genius has surfaced with another absolutely brilliant scheme!

Oh, and I'm reading 'Shirley' at the moment...if you could have a white muslin gown awaiting me upon arrival, along with stewed pears and a pillow featuring an old English cloth mill, I'd be most happy! ;)
xo J~

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...


I just checked Nigel Slater's website ( and you're right, it does seem to be down. It was fine yesterday -- maybe ABL readers crashed it?!

I would imagine it would be back up later today...

I found a recipe of Nigel's for a mincemeat crumble tart here (reposted from The Guardian):

(scroll down -- it's near the bottom)

Good luck!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...


Looks like my link got cut off -- so annoying.

Never mind. Google "Nigel Slater mincemeat tart" and look for the link from

Alternatively, go on type "mincemeat crumble" into the search window.

Unknown said...

I just love the idea....please, may I make a
And I am reading Stefan Zweig's Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman. Any ideas?

xx V.

helen tilston said...

Hope there is still room at the Inn for me. I don't mind sleeping in that little single room under the eaves,with the open fireplace and the wind whistling down the chimney. I am reading Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor. I will leave the choice of lumbar cushion to you Lisa.

Hill House Ramblings said...

Ohh. Yes please to all! Stella Tennant is just divine. Gorgeous images!


Emily said...

Oh dear, I might have to tell you a small fib, because the book I am currently reading is nonfiction, "The "Omnivore's Dilemma". Let's pretend my current book is "The Great Gatsby" while I visit your inn!

angie@bonita-interiors said...

Longtime fan and your posts just seem to get better and better...dare say even poetic.
Thanks for a great, inspiring blog

angie said...

Longtime fan, your posts seem to get better and better, dare I say poetic. Thanks for another great post!!!

Laura said...

I cannot believe that I have never thought to visit Nigel Slater's site! I can't wait...and I am officially obsessed with that mouth pillow, Vivienne Westwood and The Rug Company so rarely go wrong.

Meenoo said...

I love this post--first time commenter here. I love the idea of personal literary experiences. I do that all the time in my own life.

vanessa choy said...

hey lisa, nice to run into you at the holiday boutique. i really enjoy reading your posts and following your blog. i find great info in your side bar too, a few links of which i have added to my own blog. thanks for the inspiration! my blog is a baby and i'm just having fun with it. check it out when you have time: click on my design website and you'll see our house under BECK HOUSE. see you around!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa, I would like to make a reservation for the grand opening of your Inn, oh, it would be wonderful. I am reading 'The Last Lion' by William Manchester, any suggestions please. Best, Joyce

Sunday Taylor said...

What a great idea. I agree with you, for the ultimate reading experience, your need the perfect ambiance. I just returned from a cozy Vermont Inn, where I read "The Cookbook Collector" in the library, with its red walls, glowing fireplace, and jigsaw puzzles waiting to be tackled. Will never forget that literary experience.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Only you could assemble a literary experience of such perfection!

Who needs a spa, when we can have this?!

The Eternal Intern said...

This sounds absolutely amazing! What a wonderful and thoughtful idea. x Ophelia

Faith said...

Genius post--many thanks.

Casa Très Chic said...

Nice post, love that first pillow.
Have a nice week.

Megan Taylor said...

Dear Lisa,

Have you made the onion soup yet? I did - tonight! and it was splendid! It's really all about those Gruyere toasts - plopped atop the soup, creating the perfect gratin. Oh, yum - just thinking of it!

Thanks for sharing...


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Megan: I have not made it yet -- maybe this weekend -- but onion soup is one of my faves. So glad you liked it! xxx

Angie Muresan said...

Yes, please have that inn. I cannot wait to book myself into any of those rooms.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I'm here on my Crate and Barrel sofa, in a cozy Target steal-priced wool sweater, eating Milk Duds and reading your blog in front of the fire on a rainy afternoon on the Northern California coast. Thanks for today's compleat literary experience... I love your work!

Unknown said...

Absolutely brilliant. You never cease to inspire! Modern Sophisticate


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