A Book — Best Friend This Side of Heaven

100_1725I am getting down to unpacking the last of my books. I opened a box yesterday and shouted for joy, finding beloved treasures–Cold Sassy Tree and Leaving Cold Sassy, both by Olive Ann Burns. It is a book that reminds me to savor life for all it is worth. Olive Ann Burns died before she could finish the second book, Leaving Cold Sassy, but the publisher used the book to share the inspiration of Olive Ann’s life.

Books are the shoes with which we tread the footsteps of great minds. ~ Unknown

Others from the box, an eclectic mix:
America’s Popular Sayings, by Gregory Titelman, where I found that precious P.G. Wodehouse wrote in 1920, “So always look for the silver lining, and try to find the sunny side of life.” Reminds me of a song from the depression.

All Over But the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg, a novel whose voice and honesty sang me home.

The Gift of the Blessing, by Gary Smalley and John Trent. I first read  it when my son was in his teens. I began blessing him each time he left the house; he braved this with ducked head. One time, however, I forgot, and suddenly the back door open, and he rushed in, saying, “You forgot my blessing.” Oh, treasure of memories! And it seems a reminder to begin again blessing my dear ones.

Putnam’s Phrase Book, April 1927 edition, a small book billed as An Aid to Social Letter Writing and to Read and Effective Conversation, with Over 100 Model Social Letters and 6000 of the World’s Best English Phrases, compiled and arranged by Edwin Hamlin Carr. Belonged to my great-grandfather and proves fascinating reading. I had no idea how many phrases I know and use on a daily basis.

Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life.–Jesse Lee Bennett

Is it only me?–I have a need, and suddenly a book will appear to speak to me, often not what I expected, but what I need to know. It has become common occurrence, which I no longer doubt, to walk through a library or a bookstore, and have a certain book all but jump off the shelf into my hands.

Books are the most faithful companion on earth. One does not have to feed a book, or tend it. One can take what one wants from a book and pass the book along. A book is never too busy to speak, is available day and night, and takes no offense at being set aside and ignored for years and years. In fact, it often becomes more valuable with age. A book says things that the wisest teacher and closest friend, lover, spouse cannot say, at least say and be heard. A book is always constant and loyal and will not leave you, as many humans do–although my mother has said a book sprouts legs and walks off.

There is the age-old question, which I read just this morning, of what one book would you want to have if stranded on a desert island. Well, my first thought was that choosing one book was in impossibility. Okay, enlarge the choice to two books, not much better, but more fun.

My choices, which are only of the moment: The Bible, which provides fascination for hours, and then America’s Popular Sayings, which could make me laugh.

What would be your two choices from your best friends?


8 thoughts on “A Book — Best Friend This Side of Heaven

  1. Hello Curtiss Ann,

    I really like the quote you shared today, “Books are shoes with wich we tread the footprints of great minds” LOL I just wanted to say that in my mind once again just so I don’t forget.

    HOw true! These people has this gift of not only writing but making you be swept away from the word written in a page. And you belong for you also have this gift.

    Aaawww I can’t name two. See I’m the type when the feeling is there to read then I read 🙂 I do like reading from pages with inspiring words and stories. I had this book a long time ago entitled 3 Little Words. They are the most simplest thing but it hits you (in a good way). WHich reminds me, it wasn’t returned to me at all 😦 I also like reading stories 🙂 Amazing how the imagination runs through ( I like the Anne series which I haven’t read all books yet). And yes, the Bible. It’s the only thing that stands firm, unchanging, and very rich.



  2. The book I read most these days is “Streams in the Desert,” daily readings for those going through hard times, a book that moves me and teaches me. I wouldn’t want to be without my Bible but I read myself to sleep with novels.


  3. Curtiss Ann, it is such a pleasure to catch up with your life by reading your blog. I can see you settling happily into Mobile, North Carolina girl that you are. I love that you’re close to grandchildren and son. And a new book out, too? Life sounds good. Very good indeed.


  4. I remember laughing out loud a lot when I read All Over/RB.
    Curtiss Ann, We have a new little blessing to begin affirming. We are novice grandparents.


  5. Lordy, girl, you sure can write. Books singing you home. Amen to that! Ah, favorite books, you know mine must be The Secret Garden. How could it not be? Add to that The Bible and a beautiful one I just read and will soon review, Designing the New Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Bartley. All about monastic gardens and ancient Islamic pleasure gardens and how they relate to that first garden of Eden.~~Dee


  6. That famous desert island question begs for clarification. How long am I stranded for?

    If I knew it was only for a day, a week? Maybe I’d want a book from the TBR pile. I’m not big on re-reads, so I don’t think I’d want a favorite book I’ve already read.

    Castaway? Better have the Bible.


    • Oh, darling, you are so quick and clever! I did not think of the vast difference between months and years of stranding. If one is stranded for months, one likely can recall enough Bible verses to get through, and two beloved novels– or maybe a survival manual– would be helpful indeed. However, if it is years, one must have the Bible and another book that stands the test.

      Amazing the thoughts we have. 🙂



  7. Books have long been dear friends of mine, answering so many questions for me, encouraging me to ask more questions!
    I see some familiar Larry McMurtry books on that shelf! Grab Lonesome Dove and give it another read, it is always entertaining.
    It’s always fun for me to see what my friends are reading and which books they dearly love. You can tell a lot by looking at a person’s bookcase, I think.


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