Tuesday, February 16, 2010


We all do so much online...are we missing the wondrous magic of browsing? On Sunday, I had some extra time to spend in a bookstore. The shop was small and jam-packed with enticing tables of books arranged by new fiction, old non-fiction, etc. All the cookbooks are together as are accessories such as journals and day books, which were on sale. After all, the year is getting to be two months down, so who would buy a day book? Shall I respond with a resounding, ME.

I know I will get wonderful comments telling me you discovered Paperblanks a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had because a lot of gifts would have been easier to find. I found slim volumes with the most beautiful reproductions of French silk patterns. Not only did I buy an almost out-of-date book, I bought several. The price was right and the quality of the product just captivated and amazed me.

When I worked on a furniture collection for Hooker Furniture, I gave all the people who worked with me on the project guest books. They were very nice, discrete leather-bound books. But Paperblanks gives you so much more in patterns and textures and many with pedigrees like Tiffany or William Morris. They will be my choice in the future. Unfortunately they don't sell online, but they do give a guide to finding a retail store in your area. I discovered there is one right next door to the hair salon I frequent.

When I started this blog, I wanted to pass along endeavors just like Paperblanks. It is obvious they have a point of view and a quality that is refreshing. And if you think they are a bit pricey, then do what I did, browse and you just might find a bargain.

I also found a book I couldn't resist. It's called The Cello Suites. I hadn't heard of it before, although it has won much acclaim. It's a mystery as well as a book for music lovers of Bach and Pablo Casals. Again, one of those things that make me realize there are still folks who do the heavy lifting so the rest of us can share some mighty impressive things. Once on a flight I sat next to Yo Yo Ma AND his cello--a fact I can't resist sharing.


  1. Thank you for the lovely book suggestion. It has been added to my reading list. I am jealous that you got to sit next to Yo Yo Ma and his cello.
    I love the William Morris and Tiffany printed paperblanks I have seen in my local bookstores.

  2. I still love browsing in bookstores, Nancy...preferably used. Love journals of all kinds, too. I've "tried" to stop buying cookbooks but still succumb occasionally. Also love books by Alexandra Stoddard and Susan Branch. So much to enjoy! Thanks for today's post. Sincerely, Susan from writingstraightfromtheheart.blogspot.com

  3. I just love this post and I also enjoy buying journals and books. I call the notebook I keep in my handbag my "DaVinci" after the notebooks I read that Leonardo DaVinci kept his entire life. I could use a new DaVinci right now as the one I have is filled with quotes, recipes, sketches, and things of rememberance. Every handbag needs one!

    Just Saturday, I bought my new sister-in-law a small purse size notebook at the Trinity Church in Boston where they have a large collection of small journals as well.

    And I loved your comment about those that do the heavy lifting. You are so very right and I am so very grateful!


  4. I have a special place in my heart for large stringed instruments, since the time I sat next to a charming young musician in the Metro in Paris. I had just listened to him play with an amazing group, in a sunset concert at the gem-like St. Chappelle. I asked him (in tragically dreadful French) if it was a new instrument, as its "head" was a carved lion's head. He smiled, and patiently explained to me that it was carved for him, at his design. We had a wonderful talk and to this day, when I hear the vibrations of a cello, I think of this leonine young man who proudly told me his passion for the classic music he played. Oh, it was one of those moments (and you'd better believe, I sketched it in my "Da Vinci" notebook!).
    Love, Karen Marline

  5. I don't know where to start; your chance traveling partner, Yo Yo Ma, and his cello, the journals and guest books, or the book you found browsing. I just recently heard an interview on NPR (as in the last few days) with the author of The Cello Suites, and here you are, piquing my interest even further with your delightful post. It is most definitely on my list of books to read.

    These journal covers look so lovely. I love to put pen to paper, though I use the computer more and more. I will have to find where these are sold locally. A friend of mine did a very informative blog on the Book of Kells and if I am not mistaken the journal you show is from these ancient books. She may like one . . .

    You are one of my favorite spots to stop and read and always make my day.

  6. Its one of my husband's and my favorite things to do... browse in a bookstore. If you're even in Monterey, CA look for Book Haven (559 Tyler Street, Monterey, CA 93940-3029 (831)333-0383‎). A small treasure trove stuffed full of reasonably priced special books. No website. (:

  7. Dropping huge wads of cash on shopping sprees under the guise of "retail therapy" is nothing compared to the joy of chancing upon a used bookstore and discovering a gem - a book of poetry, a favorite novel - tucked away among gently used and well loved books. I have found old friends as diverse as Gladys Tabor, Kate Douglas Wiggin and Edwin Way Teale on the shelves and in the stacks. Usually the book reflects the mood of the visit to the shop.

  8. What a fantastic post. Truth be told, I have never been much of a browser or shopper -- except when it comes to bookstores. I could stay out of malls and fashion traps, shoe barns, furniture stores, and even intimate small boutiques all day. But put me in a bookstore, and I am fairly content to live there.

    Just across the street from the skyscraper of an energy company where I worked for 12 years was the loveliest old bookstore called Smith & Hardwick (think Audrey Hepburn's bookstore in "Funny Face.") With its dark wood, tall rows of shelves, and many tables, it was a wonderful place to lose myself on my lunch hour (who needs to eat when there are books?). It was tucked in a space between another skyscraper (a bank) and a very old but refurbished larger building used for law offices. I can still even remember the smell that greeted me when I went into that store and the vision of table after table, shelf after shelf of all kinds of books. I purchased my Penhaligon's Christmas Scented Treasury of Verse and Prose there, along with some other wonderful classic books. Sadly, the bookstore went out of business some years ago. Though I love to browse in any bookstore, I particularly miss that one. So thanks for sparking that memory.

    I do love journals and daybooks -- these look like treasures. I had not heard of Paperblanks. I, too, am a sucker for a good bargain on an out of date daybook, calendar (I have around ten of these just because I loved the artwork and they were on sale), or planner. And, the cello is my favorite instrument. If I had been you, seeing Yo Yo Ma and his cello at arm's length, I would have been sorely tempted to ask him to play!


  9. You struck a chord with me. Yes, in the past couple of years, I find that many of my favorite old routines have changed (or totally disappeared) because of the time I spend online reading blogs and e-mail, or fiddling with Facebook. While I enjoy these online connections, I do feel they've impacted by 3-D life and relationships in not-so-good ways....

    Funny thing, today I made myself take a break from the computer to visit the local bookstore. It did me a world of good.

  10. Christi, your post reminds me of the snowy Saturday about 18 years ago when my husband and I discovered a used book shop on a corner in a residential neighborhood full of Queen Anne homes. Door chimes tinkled when we entered, and the clerk was brewing a strong herbal tea. She sold more than books, and I recall being saddened by a basket of old family photos on a back shelf. Who did they belong to and why had they been abandoned? Such shops still exist in large cities, but rarely, I find in smaller towns these days.

  11. Hi Nancy,
    When you can't sleep, off blog hunting I go and somehow I found yours. It seems timely as i sit across from a huge stack of Victoria magazines. I just re-did my studio space and am debating whether to keep as I have been for years and just can't seem to part with them though I should.....so many! Victoria magazine was a huge inspiration over many years and it must have been a dream job for you. It was the saddest day when they folded and I couldn't believe that such a wonderful magazine couldn't make it (which doesn't seem to be the criteria anymore). Happy to have found your blog and all the best.