When I lived in England after college, I worked at Outward Bound in the Lake District. The closest town was called Penrith, and I would go there on my days off to eat at tea shops and browse the local bookstore. It is a lovely shop, still there nearly twenty years later, called The Bluebell Bookshop (the link is not for the store, just their address as they don’t seem to have a site).
One of many treasures I found there was a whole shelf of John Rowe Townsend books, a writer I posted about here already. They have a great Young Adult section for such a small store. The rest of the shop is packed with wonderful books on the Lakes, England, Scotland, art, photography, poetry, and fiction. Not surprising, this shop is one of the first places I took my husband to in 2004, when we went to visit.
As I perused the YA upstairs, he drifted around, looking at this and that, a bit of everything. When I came downstairs, he had a small, white* book in his hand. “We have to get this,” he said, holding it up. Well, it’s not like I really am one to say no to any book purchase, and so we left the store with it.
That evening, he was so engrossed in the little book that neither I, nor my friend Carole, could get a word out of him. When he was done, he said, simply, “You have to read this.” And so I did.
What he gave me was a novella called Snow by Maxence Fermine. It is one of the most beautiful, lyrical, and loveliest books I’ve ever read. On the cover, it says: and they loved each other suspended on a thread of snow
Frankly, I think that should be enough to make you go straight from here to order a copy for yourself. But if it’s not, just try and resist this:
Yuko Akita had two passions.
On coming of age, Yuko is expected to become either a monk or a warrior. He decides instead to become a poet. And to write poems about snow. But to become a master poet he must also master the arts of painting, and of music, and of calligraphy.
And lastly, the art of love…
*I know this cover is pink, but the one we bought is white.