Wordsworth and the Lake Country

“I wandered lonely as a cloud…” early morning along a footpath, soaking in the inspiration of the Lake Country in England. I wondered if Wordsworth met friendly sheep in his walks. He certainly had the waterfalls, lakes, and ferns to keep him company. Maybe he sat on the moss, as I did, to write, listening to the birds and breathing the crisp cold air.

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Waterstones in Edinburgh

Waterstones bookstore on Princes Street in Edinburgh has the ambiance of those venues I fondly remember. Four stories of books, comfy big chairs in nooks in the stacks, and a coffee shop with plenty of tables and chairs. The free wifi is a bonus, and a display of Gabaldon’s “The Fiery Cross,” reassuring. Big carryall bags proudly proclaim their philosophy:

“Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically.”

A group of ladies at a nearby table were sipping tea and discussing a book, with a few forays into their personal lives. Although I tried, my eavesdropping could not reveal the name of the book. Later, when I browsed the store’s piles of books, I found Fiona McFarlane’s “The Night Guest” proudly displaying the sticker – W Book Club. Of course, I bought it and am now reading it to scare me to sleep at night.

“In an isolated house on the New South Wales coast, Ruth, a widow…lives alone. Until one day a stranger, Frida, shows up…announcing she has been sent to be Ruth’s caregiver….(After a while), Ruth senses a tiger prowling through the house at night. Is she losing her wits? Can she trust Frida? ….can she trust herself?”

I can’t wait to find out.

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Edinburgh Books and Writers

Off the tourist driven Royal Mile, down a secluded alley – called a Close – the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh welcomes readers with quiet homage to a few of Scotland’s greatest writers – Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott. Steep winding staircases lead to rooms in a restored 17th century house, displaying first editions, writing instruments, even desks used by the authors. Of course, their portraits are everywhere.

A poster in the gift shop advertised the Edinburgh International Book Festival nearby, with some of my favorite authors speaking – Maggie O’Farrell, Sophie Hannah, Haruki Murakami, Martin Amis. Too late to get a ticket to hear even one, but I wandered the grounds, browsed through the books in tents, and, of course, bought some books.

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