3.21.2006

Happiness is...



This weekend brought an embarrassement of riches by way of the mail and second-hand bookshops. Unlike the writer of yarnstorm, I am a great amasser of objects. When I become very interested in something, I find myself obsessively collecting everything relevant to that subject, even those only tangentially related. Because I have a finite amount of space in which to store and display things, I do attempt to place limits on what I acquire by putting purchases to the question of "do I really want this or do I just want to have it for the sake of adding to the collection?" However, probably to the consternation of anyone who has ever or will ever help me move, book collecting is not something that I apply that selective criteria to. As of the last time I changed residences a year ago, boxes of books far out numbered anything else I own. Really, I can't stop buying books for the simple reason that they give me an unequivocal sense of happiness. I love that I can lose myself anywhere anytime I want just by opening a simple, text-filled oblong object. Accordingly, I have stuffed my bookshelves with narratives that I love, volumes of instruction that I feel I can't live without (yes, I consider a book on the esoteric subject of mathematically designing Celtic knots to be one of such), and books that are simply beautiful. Speaking of the last category, I found this little gem.


I first picked it up because I find the cover utterly delightful. The colors used, along with the quirky typeface of the title and the simple depiction of the four essential baking ingredients all comes together to form a wonderful image. I flipped through the book and quickly found myself enthralled. The author writes very well and very engagingly about the histories of the use of sugar, butter, eggs, and almonds in baking. And there are recipes! (It bears mentioning here that I have not so much a sweet tooth as many sweet teeth...and I love baking.) This is only second book in which I have ever come across a recipe for financiers, which I had never heard of until this terrific book, even if they are supposedly "the little black dress of French desserts." Since I loved the little cakes the first time I made them, I am very excited about trying out another alternate recipe.
I'll leave you with an image from another book that arrived this weekend. This one falls into the beautiful books category (you can see more of TD's magical and whimsical illustrations here).
Will-o-wisps...ever wondered what they might look like?

4 Comments:

Anonymous francoise said...

Books are the only things I have collected over the years. When I moved to England, they were the first to come!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous yuki said...

You can also find a recipe for financiers (with variations) in "The Secrets of Baking" by Sherry Yard. It's a gem of a book-- though I've never tried that particular recipe, I have tried the truffles and they were absolutely delicious! This book has won the James Beard Foundation/ KitchenAid Book Award and includes a forward by Jacques Pepin. Do take a look.

I definitely share your passion for collecting books and understand the happiness you feel from acquiring them!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Mmmm, books. It's a good thing I started knitting; at least I have two areas to spread my impulse purchases between (oh alright, if you include clothes and tea that's four). The 'Sweet Quartet' book looks gorgeous, and I spy a 'Bloomsbury Needlepoint' amongst the top pile. It's a handsome, wonderful book.

But wait, what's this? Do I spy a 'Happy Hooker'? Are you crossing over to othe other side?

12:30 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Ooh, I'll have to look for "A Sweet Quartet"! (One of the best kind of reviews!)

I love the "Bloomsbury Needlepoint" book -- I worked the Shell cushion about two years ago.

9:45 AM  

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