Wednesday, 23 July 2008

To Smell A Book

I was sitting in Relief Society yesterday, waiting to sing the first hymn and held the hymnal up to my nose, closed my eyes... and breathed it in...immediately my mind was overwhelmed with wonderful thoughts and memories. I am not sure if anyone saw me or not, but who cares, we're all allowed a moment of wierdness once in awhile.

I have enjoyed a lifelong love affair with books. It started with my father reading to me when I was very young. I remember two stories in particular...Heidi and one about Tom and Jerry. My father would put on character voices and to this day has the Tom and Jerry book do I....."Jerry mouse stepped out of his mousehole one day. "My, he called over to his friend Tom as he looked across at the big people's kitchen, "What a beautiful day! Let's go for a walk, let's go for a sail, lets go for a PICNIC!" I can still hear my father's voice all squeaky and excited as he regalled me with this tale.

The love affair continued on and when I was old enough I would take my bicycle and pedal to the local library every day in the summer months and at the weekends during the other months. We were only allowed to take out two books out at a time and so I was there every day as, not only was I a voracious reader, I was a very quick reader, and I was hungry for books, books and more books. I read my way through all the Nancy Drew series, Trixie Beldon, the Adventurous Five, The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, etc. not once but several times. I loved anything by Enid Blyton and still do to this day. (I recently bought some of her works for my grandsons, but haven't parted with them yet . . . I promise I will!!!)

I also read the entire Book of Knowledge encyclopedia that my parents had bought us children. That is no lie . . . I read the entire thing. I was amazed at all the things between it's pages and as I read it I dreamt of far away lands and peoples and distant times and places. I was as pleased as punch when my mother gifted me with it several years back. I know it was old, and alot of the information in it was out of date, but it was special to me, and I treasured it.

I hope that I instilled my same love of books in my children. Every night after bathtime we would gather on the big double bed my two daughters shared....faces all dewey, pink and clean from their bath..eyes shining...and I would read to them, putting on the voices for each of the characters, just as my father before, invoking as much enthusiasmand expression into each telling as I could. Sometimes I would make up my own stories for them and tell them those, which they enjoyed as well. They each had their own favorites....."Oliver and the Sticky Buns" Alison Uttley's "Little Grey Hare" "Goodnight Moon" "Just Me and My Dad" ohh, and I mustn't forget "The Cat in the Hat" and "The Pants With Nobody In Them." When one was finished...they would beg me . . . just one more mom . . . and how could I resist . . . one more it would be!

I continue my love affair to this day . . . my side of the bed is stacked with books I am reading, as not only am I voracious, I am greedy and I can never read just one at a time . . . I generally have several on the go. I am always finding books that I just have to read . . . and I have a bookcase full of favourites that I can read again, and again . . . and again.

Now where was I . . . oh yes . . . to smell a book . . . next time you get the chance . . . take a book, put it up to your nose, close your eyes . . . and breathe it in . . . you will smell paper, leather perhaps, adventure, the past, the future, hope, despair, sadness and joy, history, love . . . ruffle it's pages and smell it again . . . and then . . . don't stop there . . . dig in and read . . . experience one of life's greatest pleasures . . . a book . . . expand your vision and your mind . . . and if you are really lucky . . . your heart . . .

Here's one of our favourite summer salads. Great when you have leftover roast chicken that you want to get rid of!

*Curried Chicken Salad*
Serves 6

This is a very delicious salad. I make it quite often. It's one of our favorites! Prep time is the time it takes to roast the chicken breasts. Time does not reflect chill time.

6 chicken breasts, bone in,skin on
olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup major grey chutney
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 large celery ribs, medium diced
1/4 cup chopped scallion (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted salted cashews

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*f. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin and dice the chicken into bite size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, raisins, and mix well. Chill for several hours to let the flavors blend. Add the cashews and serve.


  1. Marie, this post is me all over! I dearly love to read and like you, read my way thru many series, still do! I have books piled beside my bed and buy new ones and love my old ones. Great minds think alike??! Hope you are having a lovely holiday! That salad looks scrummy! Much love - Raquel XO

  2. I love to read but struggle to find the time anymore, apart from when Im on holiday. Im usually far to tired when I go to bed. However, Ive recently started to read my 15 month old daughter bed time stories, she especially likes Peter Rabbit! Im definitley going to find the time to read more again.....and the curried chicken salad looks great, my kind of salad (and hubby's)

  3. I love books as much as you do! I've always thought it what a shame when people give up reading books because they feel their lives are too busy. I'm hoping to change all that!

    I love the curry salad! Ben's demanding new recipes (again), he's tired of baked chicken and he loves curry, so this will be perfect.

    Miss you!

  4. I too love the smell of books, especially old books. I'm so happy when I have a great book to read. I'd love that chicken salad, especially the cashews!

  5. The curry salad looks yummy!

  6. Hi marie!! guess what? your page didn't freeze on me today!!!! funny you should be posting about books because i was just thinking i need to post a list of the books I have read so far this summer..i have been reading like crazy!!
    love and miss you!

  7. i love books, love to read them, love to smell them, love to taste them(not literally:) and the salad looks super!

  8. I love books too!!! And the smell!!!! Prudy I love the smell of old books!!! I remember when I was in school (many,many years ago) I go to the Library always!! I love to read but I love the smell and the peace of the Library, sometimes I help at the Library only by the smell I (and the books of course)think!! I discover now I enjoy too when arrive a new Issue (im susucrited someones of USA) when arrive I feel how a girl, only I want is going to read soon xxxGloria

  9. I love books . i am in love with books .

  10. I have certain affinity with books , dont know why ,.


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