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Is it the chicken or the egg thing? » Apart From My Art
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Is it the chicken or the egg thing?

Los Angeles Memorial Library

Do I love reading because my father insisted that I get books from the library, or do I just love reading? In the beginning I resisted, “Do I have to?” Without fail, every two weeks Dad would drive me to the library. I would take the choice of books very seriously, read the flaps that described the book, and carefully consider my choices. We were only allowed seven books at a time so it was an important decision. Two weeks later they were finished and I was ready for more.

The library was beautiful, situated in a park across from LA High School, a kind of Mock Tutor English Mansion, dark woods, stained glass windows built in honor of the twenty Los Angeles High School graduates who perished in World War I.

Stained glass windows of Los Angeles Memorial Library

That is the exact spot where I would forage for books.

I discovered these beautiful photos on a website, “Big Orange Landmarks” which is somewhat of a puzzlement. The photos are by Floyd B. Bariscale. He’s described in the LA Times as the “Pseudonymous blogger Floyd B. Bariscale.” Quite the mystery man, since he is also mentioned as a character on the Dick Van Dyke show. How weird is that? If you’re interested in Early Los Angeles, he has photographed and documented it all.  The website is a fascinating place to look and see, “the way we were.”

The park with its benches and green grass was an oasis for reading and discovering  adventures in far away places, worlds I knew nothing about.

Front of Los Angeles Memorial Library

My favorite books were, “The Secret Garden,” “Little Women,” in fact all of Louisa May Alcott’s books. I’d read them over and over. The “Mr Poppers Penguins” series was always funny. Oh how I loved “A Little Princess.” Not only did I read it as a child but listened to it as a Book on Tape during a long car drive up to Idaho. Remember Books on Tape? Loved the family in  “Cheaper by the Dozen.” So did some movie makers. “Heidi,” I read, over and over again, loved the grandfather. No one told me what to read, I just read. I used to walk to school reading a book, had lunch reading a book, and ate dinner reading a book. Books were my favorite companion, so of course I would hear my mother say, “Enough reading. You need to be outside playing  in the sunshine!” Maybe, she said that, because growing up in Russia, it was cold and grey, as opposed to sunny Los Angeles with orange trees all around us. Orange trees do not grow in shtetls.

I remember watching my father sitting at the kitchen table after dinner reading the dictionary. We would make fun of  him for doing that, and using big words like ‘mucilage’ instead of  glue. I deeply regret that I didn’t appreciate his hunger for words and education. Books and education were not offered to him in Russia.

Now, the whole reason I’m bringing this up today, is that I just received the latest book by Kate Morton.

I’ve read all of her books, loved them, saved them and was planning on photographing all of them together for this posting. So, I went looking for her books on my bookshelves. Hmm? Not with the “I’ve read these.” Not with the, “I’m going to read these.”

Books I have read

Books I have read

Even checked the royalty group, not there.

Books on royaltyYou know what? I couldn’t find them.

That’s when I realized my system, if I had a system, which I don’t have, was all messed up. So to be honest, I have no idea where on my shelves her books are. How to organize books? Some people organize by color which looks very cool but how in the world do you find a book by the color of its spine?

Books arranged by colorThe artist in me would love this. But if I were  trying to find a book, I would need an aspirin.

Organize by subject? Well, I do have two royalty shelves. Love royalty. Then I have my books on crafts, the art world,  flowers, (lots of those), books on computer programs, Photoshop, Aperture I could go on and on. How about organize by author? Fiction? Non-fiction? It makes me weary even thinking about it.

It’s enough that I alphabetize my herbs and spices. I’ve never admitted that to anyone. Seems a tad too obsessive, but it works.

Herbs and spices arranged alphabetically

Herbs and spices arranged alphabetically

But I still can’t find my other Kate Morton books!  Anyway I’ve strayed from my subject. Here is her website. http://www.katemorton.com These books will enthrall you.The quotes are from Amazon’s website.

The Forgotten Garden


From Amazon: A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own…

The House at Riverton

From Amazon: The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.

The Distant Hours

From Amazon: It starts with a letter, lost for half a century and unexpectedly delivered to Edie’s mother on a Sunday afternoon. The letter leads Edie to Milderhurst Castle, where the eccentric Blythe spinsters live and where, she discovers, her mother was billeted during World War II.

Let yourself get lost in her books. Enjoy!


All images appearing on Is it the chicken or the egg thing? are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Anonymous - love this and have noted the books! thanks!! xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Enjoy! Thanks for reading.ReplyCancel

      • wilma engel - hi sandy,
        thanks for your blog or comments or thoughts and memories….love reading about you…and what wonderful memories of our library across from LA High… would you believe that I have not read one book by kate morton. and you know I love to read everything…..which one do you suggest I read first?ReplyCancel

        • sandra - Read the synopsis and see which appeals to you. I started with “The Forgotten Garden,” because I loved the idea of the garden.ReplyCancel

  • linda gordon - Love your blog. Am thinking I should read some of Kate Morton. Which one should I start with?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I started with “The Forgotten Garden.” I think I started with that one because it had “Garden” in the title. (G)ReplyCancel

  • Linda Shecter - Can’t find the Subscribe button?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Go to the “Home” page is should be on the right hand side. Tomorrow I hope I get some of the details fixed.
      Thanks for reading.ReplyCancel

      • sandra - Linda, it’s to the right of the post. It’s in grey, maybe that’s why you missed it.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - OK, Linda go to the “Home” page and it’s on the right hand side.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Ross - “The Secret Garden” was one of my favorites too. In the summer I used to stay with my Grandmother. I would walk by the Library on the way and would pick up a book to read. There was no one to play with so I read all day. I generally read a book a day. My granddaughter has inherited my love of reading. I’ve enjoyed sharing my favorites with her.

    I have considered getting a Kindle to make it easier to read now but after hearing how Amazon treated one user I will never consider getting a Kindle now. http://www.bekkelund.net/2012/10/22/outlawed-by-amazon-drm/ReplyCancel

    • sandra - So glad you loved “The Secret Garden” also. It’s is so soothing to the soul.

      Re: Kindle. I still prefer a book. But maybe a Kindle would be easier for you. I just read the link. Surely, Amazon will reply to this craziness. Start something on Facebook and see if it gets any traction. Maybe Twitter?ReplyCancel

  • Carla - I love it that you selected our library. This fills a whole part if my history. I’m looking forward to reading the whole text. It so sweet and interesting you connection with organizing your bReplyCancel

    • sandra - This was “the” library I went to all of the time. Regarding organizing. My whole life needs constant organizing.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie Fuller - Fabulous! Endearing. Perfect.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Did you go to that library also?ReplyCancel

  • Janine Smith - The Distant Hours is in the first group of books you photographed.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - It was hiding behind a whole stack of books. Not fair.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I think it was hiding behind other books to confuse me. Let me know if you find the other ones. (G) Eagle eyes!ReplyCancel

      • Anonymous - I’m just sayin’. You couldn’t find a book in plain sight. Maybe time to re think your filing system?
        Mine is: fiction separate from non-fiction. By author.ReplyCancel

        • sandra - Isn’t it best to hide in plain site? I’ll try your method. I’ll try anything.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Sheffner - Sandy,
    Here you go again doing something creative and delightful. I love it!
    As soon as I sign off, I am going to subscribe and download a book.

    • sandra - Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the books as much as I have. I must say, this was the first time I had Amazon simply send me the book as soon as it was published!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Holley - Hi Sandy, So glad you got your blog off and running! I’m busy reading tour & guide books for the next few weeks and trying not to stumble on crumbling pavement as I multitask………my favorite reading and activity. LisaReplyCancel

    • sandra - Are you traveling yet and where? You’re a great traveler and planner.ReplyCancel

  • Susan K-Scott - Sandy, thank you for the reminder of that wonderful, magical library. It certainly was a kinder, more gentle time! I’m looking forward to “getting lost” in a Kate Morton novel. SusanReplyCancel

    • sandra - I was so tickled to find those photos of “days of yore.” Enjoy “getting lost.” We all need some of that.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Briscoe - Sandy..I am enthralled with your blog. No wonder you have had little time for WWF! I feel so fortunate to have found you. Keep up the great writing..I’ll be out here reading every word.
    Judi in Austin Texas.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Judi. Yes, I have been absolutely obsessed with writing, editing, photographing and learning the blogging software. Our cupboards are bare.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Ateca - Your blog post brings back many fond memories. When I was a girl, I loved going to the library with my father at the Ft. Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas. I enjoyed reading the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. Thanks for rekindling happy memories!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you. It’s so interesting how these posts seem to bring up so many memories for so many people. A shared DNA.ReplyCancel

  • Matthew - These sound great! Especially the last two…ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Matt. Your approval is important to me. (G)ReplyCancel

  • Judith Eton - Loved The Forgotten Garden, I had forgotten all about it, thanks for reminding me!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - So glad you enjoyed it also. Try her other books. I they will grab you also. I’ll be making more book recommendations in the future by other authors.ReplyCancel

  • Margie Brizzolari - Enjoyed reading this.Reminded me of my childhood when I always had a book in hand. I once walked into a post at primary school because I was reading while walking between classes. I loved Enid Blyton’s books then. Later, I read “Ann of Green Gables”, among others. Thank you for the reccomendations.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I just looked up Enid Blyton. I had never heard of her books. Looks like a fun series. I understand about posts getting in the way of reading. Hope you enjoy the books.ReplyCancel

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