Sunday, December 4, 2011

Season of Reading

Once upon a time, I was a poor college student.  I didn't have a lot of money to spend on luxuries.  And any book besides a textbook was a luxury for me.

So I used to go to a bookstore, pull a book off the shelf, find a quiet, private corner, and read.  One day I was in Barnes & Noble, running my fingers along the spines of the books, when my hand stopped at a beautiful red-and-gold hardcover.  I pulled it off the shelf.  It was Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, by Nick Bantock.

For those of you unfamiliar with this book, let me describe it.  Griffin & Sabine is no ordinary book.  It is a collection of letters between two people who live in different worlds.  The pages are printed with handwritten postcards, and there are actual envelopes affixed to some of the pages, with a letter inside that you draw out to read.  It is a masterpiece of art and literature, lushly romantic.  I fell in love with this book the moment I opened it.

I wanted to own this book so badly.  But it was expensive.  More than that, it was part of a trilogy, and the boxed set of all three books was in the range of $50.  That was a fortune to me at the time.  So instead of buying, I returned again and again to the bookstore, pulled the books off the shelf, and read them over and over.

Later that year, I met a boy.  He was sweet and funny and interesting.  After a few dates, I deemed him worthy enough to share Griffin & Sabine with.  So I took him to the bookstore and introduced him.  I watched his face as he read the book for the first time.  "This is amazing," he told me after he'd turned the last page.

Worthy, indeed.

He was a poor college student like me.  But when my birthday rolled around a couple of months later, he handed me a heavy package.  I knew what it was before I ripped the paper off.

It was the complete boxed set of the trilogy.

That boxed set sits on the bookshelf that I have reserved for Very Special Books (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce).  And the boy?

I married him.


What is the best book you've ever received as a gift?  Or given?  Comment below, and you'll be entered in a contest to win a trio of hardcover paranormal YA novels: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston, and Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

Follow this blog, and you'll be entered twice.  Retweet or Share on Facebook and you'll earn another entry.  Follow me on Twitter, and you'll get one more!

Happy Holidays!


  1. Is Griffin and Sabine still in print? It sounds amazing! And what an absolutely wonderful, sweet romantic story, too. Thanks so much for sharing - the story and the book.

  2. Very touching story, Nicole. I have never heard of Griffin and Sabine, but now I'll have to search for it.

  3. Yes! It's still in print...although the boxed set has gone up in price! I'm sure you could find it used. I hope you's such a wonderful book.

  4. Nicole, this post made me cry. It's so beautiful -- definitely my favorite of all your blogs.

    As for the best book I've given/received... I'd have to go with the first real book I can remember owning. I don't mean the children's books my parents used to read me... I mean the first book that I can remember holding in my hands and being MINE. That book was Great Expectations, which for some reason I'll never understand, my parents decided to buy for me when I was nine years old.

    I'll never forget the slick feeling of the glossy dust jacket, the sight of the small type (so different from the big letters we were reading in school), or the weight of so many hundreds of pages in my hands.

    I spent a really long time wading through the book, and to this day I'm not sure how much I understood, or if I even finished it. The only thing I remember is finding myself in its pages.

    There was something that struck me about the power of words: how on their own, they were mostly harmless -- but arranged a certain way, they could make my heart cry with their beauty. And by the time I finally put the novel down, I felt it in my gut that the book I held in my hands was my dreams made tangible.

    From that moment on, I knew I would spend the rest of my life striving to become a creator of beauty, an arranger of words, a writer. :)

  5. the best book i ever received was actually the complete sookis stackhouse series from my mom 2 years ago.i already follow your blog now i'm following you on twitter i retweeted and shared on FB
    heres the tweet link--!/terri_dion/status/144485276251725824

  6. Wondeful post! Let me book...there are soooo many...."Omamori" by Richard McGill - it's a period piece set in Japan from feudal times to WW II about an American who comes to Japan & begins a silk business with a Japanese Diaymo and follows through 2 more generations. In some ways it's a fluff read but it is accurate with the Japanese history. I think I read it at least once every 2 years or so....

  7. I love most books--can't think of a fave right now ;)
    Great giveaway!

  8. My parents gave me a copy of Smokey by Will James one year when I was into horses. I still have that copy andread it every once and a while.