“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day…”

Ah the delicious first sentence of one of my favorite books of all times: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

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Little Jane, reading in the rain.

This gem fell into my lap a couple of weeks ago – a beautiful gift that was promptly buried by about 300 other gifts of roughly the same shape and size!

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The back of our car, about 9pm.

Yes, you heard me right. Fitz and I are the proud new owners of a sizable portion of Mike and Judy Ryan’s library… great additions to our ever-growing library at Curio.

Mike and Judy used to own 1 Amber Lane and, as small towns would have it, we’ve stayed in contact here and there. They are in the midst of moving to a new house, a move that does not warrant the schlepping of massive libraries. As such, they generously donated books of our choosing to Curio. All we had to do was come and get ’em! (3 flights of stairs – the heat of summer – 300 books… but, life-saver: never-ending glasses of lemonade! Whew!).

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Fitz sorting!

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Ah! We hardly made a dent in the offerings but we tried!

So many amazing treasures – to discover once we have a chance to actually OPEN a book. I did treat myself to a couple of chapters of Jane Eyre though… It’s a great edition – signed by the illustrator of the intricate wood carvings. Definitely captures the shadowy secrets tucked behind the closed doors and long hallways of Bronte’s mind.

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Wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg + signed!

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I can’t wait to find some time to read the rest!

For now, I draw on fond memories from my days as English literature major — that the first sentence of a book is one of the most important. I still remember “un-packing” the nuances of Jane Eyre’s first sentence with Professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood. We were all SO eager to spend an entire hour lecture on just the first chapter of a book… sometimes even just the first paragraph! I remember how he’d read the first chapter out loud and then roll up his sleeves, as if we were beginning to dissect a cadaver. He’d then launch into the most complicated web of analysis, drawing connections and finding word twists and turns I’m convinced even the author had failed to notice.

What joy! …What simpler times!

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