Wondering and wandering about books

The summer grains of sand kept on slipping into the bottom of the hourglass as we approached the dog days of summer and I finished my daily bedtime reading out loud of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling, and started her second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

I had already purchased the first four Harry Potter novels some years ago, and just prior to the opening of the latest (and presumably last) Harry Potter movie this summer, I bought the last three novels at Borders just in time before Borders began closing all of its stores.  We still have a Barnes & Noble bookstore in San Diego, but it seems that there are far fewer books stores now and many attribute this to discounters, online booksellers and electronic books.  There is no doubt that e-book readers, such as Kindle, are great devices for Airstreaming, since they are small, lightweight, and can “carry” hundreds of books.  I, however, prefer a book that can only be fully experienced and appreciated as an integral whole… its size and weight, the feel of its cover and pages, its images, its smell, as well as its content.

A good example of this is Wanderlust Limited Edition (#0704), Wanderlust – Airstream at 75, Russ Banham, Greenwich Publishing Group, Inc., Connecticut, 2005, with 192 glossy pages and a riveted aluminum slipcover measuring 10″x 12″… a stunning presence.  We were lured into getting our first Airstream trailer in part by beautiful Airstream-themed books and Airstream Life magazine.

I am currently a juror on a 3-week long case and each day I take with me Bill Moyers Journal – The Conversation Continues, which I read during breaks and the hour and a half lunch period.  I use my time clock attendance certification paper as a bookmark within its 594 pages.

The wit and weight of Mark Twain await me in the form of Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, all 737 pages and 4 pounds worth.

I am especially intrigued by antique books such as The Works of Charles Dickens, Volumes VI, XI, and XIV, Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, Edinburgh, New York, 1901-1903… a fly was also curious.

At the beginning of Volume XI, Hard Times, by Charles Dickens, is a wonderful illustration of the character, Tom, talking to his sister, Louisa.

“… Tom went and leaned on the back of her chair, to contemplate the fire which so engrossed her, from her point of view, and see what he could make of it…  ‘Wondering again!’ said Tom.”  (page 56)

Wondering and wandering in books…

So, wouldn’t this be a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie, a steaming cup of hot coffee, and a Neverending Story.


  1. insightout says


    Wonderful book selection. NPR research suggests that many older readers are turning to the ‘young adult’ section.

    Twain and Rowling among the very best…..but inquiring minds can’t wait for your next entry, i.e.

    I am currently a juror on a 3-week long case


  2. Bill D. says

    Thanks Dr. C (insightout), I agree these are wonderful books… and I am finding that something wonderful happens when they are read out loud with loved ones nearby at bedtime.

    Listen to Jim Dale read out loud Harry Potter:


    Something magical and therapeutic happens…

    I was inspired by Keith Olbermann’s readings of stories by James Thurber:



  3. says

    Oooh, a fellow book lover! I love my nook for traveling. We just bought our first Airstream and took off on a three-week cross country trip. (With our two dogs!) Wouldn’t have made it without some good books.

  4. Bill D. says

    Thanks Catherine for your comments here and for your fascinating So Shiny blog account of your adventures and misadventures as you and your family (that included two Mastiffs, Courage and Chewie) traveled in your new-to-you 27′ 1973 Airstream trailer:


    (On her blog Catherine Shaffer states that she “… is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and a freelance journalist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan… She lives with her husband, her twelve-year old son, two English mastiffs, and two cats.”)

    And, as you stated in your “What I’ve learned from being an up-and-coming science fiction writer… for fifteen years”:

    “Keep writing”!


  5. says

    Bill, looks like we also share similar interests in books! Particularly Mark Twain. We should be in Anza Borrego by Christmas and look forward to the prospect of seeing you all — back in the desert.
    Thanks for comments and thoughts on our “diseased” Airstream, problems of which have now been resolved.

  6. Justyna says

    I bought on carboot sale last year 16 small books looks like on your picture from Thomas Nelson and Sons… but there is no date do you know how old they are? it is red leather cover looks very old. plese if you can kindly please let me reply for my email below if you have some knowlage obout this king of beutifull books.

    • Bill D. says

      Thanks, Justyna, for your comment. (I have omitted your email address for your privacy).

      The three handsome red leather books pictured above were published by Thomas Nelson and Sons between 1901 and 1903.