Nearly every time I am at my wife’s childhood home, I look for something to read – and that is because my in-laws are magnificent reading people. I was extremely lucky to have found my wife and her family, and one of the best things about them is their home.
Whether it is the latest magazine and the most interesting book (new or old) or the latest column on the web – my wife’s parents know about it and love to share it. They subscribe to everything with a word or sentence in it and will entertain a new book at the drop of a hat. Who do you know that reads Sound & Vision, Architectural Digest, Family Handyman, AND Oxford American? I know someone and it is them (and why they are this week’s special photo above)!
I remember early in our dating life together when I would be invited over for dinner or to watch a college football game or assist in moving a piece of furniture or just stopping by to pick up their daughter for a date – and the books! You wouldn’t believe it. Every topic of every kind hidden within the pages of old, new, tattered, classic, big, little, hardback and softback books; beautiful works with spines covered in colors and titles and drawings that practically asked me to pull every single one of them from the shelves (and made me nearly late for romantic dates and exciting football games and abundant family dinners).
And the way in which their books are used – it is as though this family believes that books are much more than books – they are for display and decoration and art as much as they are for reading. The built-in bookshelves surround the fireplace and the walls and provide the backdrop for the sofas and recliners, while other rooms include desks and end tables with just the right amount of space for special books that have lived with the family for generations. The books themselves might be standing up straight with their spines facing outward, while others are casually leaning up against an antique clock or stacked diagonally over and under one another. There are always new and interesting books on the coffee table and even a variety of magazines pouring out of a big woven basket near the recliners. More than 20 years later, it never fails to amaze me that I can enter this great home a hundred times throughout the year and find something new to read every single time.
It is no secret that I fell in love with my wife and her family in those early days of our life together, and that marvelous house full of books and words and columns and conversation remains the icing on the cake.