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Musing: book recommendations

October 11, 2010


I like the word “recommendation.” Aside from the fact that I feel a pang of anxiety when I have to spell it (which is frequently when you happen to be a junior English teacher and college application season is in full frenzy), I like the connotation of passing on, of sharing something particularly favorable to others.  In a sense, the very nature of Belle Squeaks is recommendation.  Passing on my enjoyment of the little things in life.


Samuel Johnson, Dictionary Author and Immodium Gulper



And here’s where I give away how nerdy I truly am: I decided to look up the definition of the word “recommendation” in the dictionary (plus, I needed to double check my spelling.)  Not just any dictionary would do.  Oh no, I got all giddy about consulting the great Samuel Johnson’s seminal tome, A Dictionary of the English Language.  Aside from the fact that he appears constipated in his portrait, Sam really did the English language a favor because not only did he provide clear definitions of the words, he also illustrated the definitions through literary quotations containing each word.  Case in point, Johnson submits that recommendation’s parent word, “commend”, means: To present as worthy of notice.

As one literary illustration, Johnson quotes Hale’s Origin of Mankind:  “Among the objects of knowledge, two especially commend themselves to our contemplation; the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves.”

So I find it only fitting that books, which offer me the clearest reflection of myself and this great experience called life, become something that I present as worthy of notice.

The following book recommendations will assume a photo essay format. I could say this format is an artistic flourish.  Or that I find photos pleasing when reading blogs.  Or that judging a book by its cover is, I believe, a credible criteria for selecting a title.  But I’ll be honest: I just haven’t had time to look at my pictures and write out a list of titles.

Why do I have pictures of books in the first place? Big Friend, an early adopter and rabid consumer of technology, shakes his head in bewilderment at me.  I have pictures of recommended books because I figured whipping out the old iPhone would be a faster way to record titles than my former media choice: ye olde pen and paper.  “But isn’t there an app for that?” you wonder.  Probably, but for now, I’m impressed I’ve moved from scribbling furiously as I wander through a book store to a simpler point and click.

I just hope my book photos are legal.

Scribble down the titles quickly, just in case I’m overstepping some law and soon find two men in dark suits and sunglasses (yes, I’m picturing Men in Black) standing on my front porch.  With a subpoena.  And tasers.

Many thanks to The Edisto Bookstore, originator of these selected titles.  My favorite place to browse for books, The Edisto Bookstore is an independent seller located on Edisto Island and a haven for book lovers and souvenir shoppers alike.  Have you read any good books lately I should add to my growing list?  Hang on…let me grab a pen and paper.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 8:37 am

    Well, it looks like I will be adopting ye olde pen and paper as I transcribe all of these delicious titles (plus your favorite beach ones from a previous post). Next step will be finding a quiet haven where I can digest them all!

  2. October 12, 2010 7:34 pm

    From looking at the books you recommend – I might suggest checking out “A Vintage Affair” by Isabel Wolff and/or “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison. I found both to be very sweet and moving, perhaps you will too.

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