visiting the antiques


As perfectly described by the author known simply as Elizabeth  …


“… I was idling in the library, not reading but [browsing through] the books, taking out first one and then another, dipping into them, deciding which I would read next …” and pulled this one off the shelf.


When we came across this version of Sir Walter Scott’s famous tale, with its stunning cover, in an antiques store, I snatched it up to add to the collection. The story was first published, in 1820, in 3 volumes. This edition (with Scott’s own footnotes) was published in 1830.



I first read this book, in paperback form no doubt, while commuting. I don’t remember whether it was during the hour-long bus rides to and from high school or the equally long subway/train rides to and from my after-college job in Washington, DC. But I do remember enjoying the story much more than I had expected to. It’s one of many that sit and wait in my to-be-read-again pile.


And I also love it simply as a gorgeous antique. Whether I read (or re-read) the books in our old-book-friends collection, I relish the chance to sit and visit with them, to (as Elizabeth described) “idle” in front of our bookcase, “taking out first one and then another [and] dipping into them.” Even if they do make me sneeze.

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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help too-busy-to-read bookworms and those who want to be readers maximize life’s simple joys — like reading a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (mentally and physically) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”


“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”

Helene Hanff

“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”

Elizabeth von Arnim

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim