In 2009, I read and reviewed a classic novella, The Snow Goose, written by Paul Gallico. It was beautifully written, short and powerful, and a very poignant story. I copied the beginning of the book into my reading notebook because it so perfectly set the stage for this powerful story of loneliness and love and sacrifice. If you’ve never read the book, it should be read in one sitting and treasured on a quiet afternoon.
The Great Marsh lies on the Essex coast between the village of Chelmbury and the ancient Saxon oyster-fishing hamlet of Wickaeldroth. It is one of the last of the wild places of England, a low, far-reaching expanse of grass and reeds and half-submerged meadowlands ending in the great saltings and mud flats and tidal pools near the restless sea.
Tidal creeks and estuaries and the crooked, meandering arms of many little rivers whose mouths lap at the edge of the ocean cut through the sodden land that seems to rise and fall and breathe with the recurrence of the daily tides. It is desolate, utterly lonely, and made lonelier by the calls and cries of the wildfowl that make their homes in the marshlands and saltings–the wild geese and the gulls, the teal and widgeon, the redshanks and curlews that pick their way through the tidal pools.
…the marshlands of coastal Essex in England…
Looking through some of my old notebooks the other day, I found an extensive bibliography of a book that I vaguely remember reading: Images of Women in Fiction: Feminist Perspectives, by Susan K. Cornillon. It was a library book, I remember that, and I was particularly interested in the extensive bibliography the author included. At that time I was a young stay-at-home mother with a 2-1/2 year old, so I must have been very Impressed because I took the time to copy it down, filling 5 pages in my notebook. With my cell phone, I took photos of those five pages to share with you because it’s a terrific book list! And it was fun for me to realize that over the years since 1974, I have read many of those books even though I hadn’t looked at that list in years! Do you keep notebooks? They really do turn into treasures after a few years…
Note: You can stop the slideshow and then click on the page to enlarge it if you want to look more closely at the list.
After finishing my book yesterday, I faithfully logged the title and author into my old Record Book, which lists books I have read since 1964 when I started keeping track of my reading. When I first started, I used index cards and filed them in a little wooden card box. In 1968, I met a friend who was very influential at that point in my life. He kept a Record Book listing all the books he had read–entering only the title, author, and year read. He always used a black ballpoint pen and his handwritten entries were small and neat. So I bought myself a small black and red Record Book, and began my list by going back through my cards. 1964 was the beginning, although the list for that year is incomplete. (I had started keeping track mid-year and didn’t try to remember what I had been reading BEFORE that time.)
So yesterday, when I finished reading Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, I added it to the list in my old record book. Then I went to the computer and added it to my fancy Excel spreadsheet list of books I’ve read. That’s the list that can tell me instantly how many books I’ve read since 1964, how many mysteries I’ve read, or which author I’ve reread the most times. I love it, but I won’t stop logging my reads into my old Record Book!