One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making Lists

I am a list maker. It’s one of those compulsive things I do to give myself the illusion of being organized, plus it helps reassure me that I am being productive—there’s nothing like crossing items off a list to calm the fearful jitters that come from worrying that I’m never doing enough. I love the linier quality of lists—the clear terrain, like smooth stepping stones on a path. Or like stair steps leading down into a peaceful valley of satisfaction. As a list maker, I am proud to be in good company; check out Liza Kirwin's Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventions, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists Enumerations from The Collections of The Smithsonian Museum (a great gift for a list-maker! Hint hint.)

I even have lists of lists. To-do lists; to-do today, to-do this week, to-do when I get a chance, to-do in this lifetime. Travel lists; places I’ve been (and what I've packed), places I want to revisit and the places I want to get to before it’s too late. Favorite lists (which are not the kind of lists that things get crossed off of, but rather constantly added); favorite recipes, favorite museums, favorite quotes, favorite books, favorite bookstores--which are also at the top of my favorite places to go list and my list of favorite Urban Landscapes. 

Yes, I definitely consider the interior of a bookstore as a textured and layered landscape—think of all those shelves of books, stacks of books, aisles to navigate, nooks to hide in, and every book a door to another world! 

This time of year, of course there is the gift list and always on this list is a list of books because everybody on my list gets a book. (Personally, I think that everyone on everyone’s list should get a book!) Plus buying books as gifts allows me to pay a visit to one or more of the bookstores on my favorite bookstore list. 

Without giving away the book titles that I’ll be giving this year, I've generated a list of ten books for the writer, teen, child, musician, cook, dreamer, scholar, or seeker in your life:

The Chronicles of Harris Burdock: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell The Tales by Chris Van Allsburg
Except If  by Jim Averbeck
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry edited by Rita Dove
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
Pilgrimage by Annie Liebovitz
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef  by Gabrielle Hamilton
Wordcatcher: An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words by Phil Cousineau and Gregg Chadwick
Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music by Glenn Kurtz
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman

So head out to your favorite bookstore and pick out a bagful of books for the lucky people on your gift list. And because it’s hard to stop, here’s a list of ten of my favorite bookstores:

Green Apple, San Francisco, CA
City Lights, San Francisco, CA
Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
River House Books, Saint Helena, CA
Aunties Bookstore, Spokane, WA
Elliot Bay, Seattle, WA
Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
Bear Pond, Montpelier, VT
The Strand, New York, NY

I’d love to hear about your favorite bookstores and what books are on your holiday shopping list!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tam and Sharry,
    I adore many bookstores in VT (with Flying Pig at the top of the list,) but I also LOVED visiting City Lights when I visited San Fran last summer. Yum!