The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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July 30, 2010

At home with writers

Do you like to visit the homes and haunts of your favorite writers? I love to. There's something about seeing their front doors, and their rooms, and their furniture, and their stuff, and the place where they wrote the books I love to read...I've even been known to make little pilgrimages just to stand outside one. (My sister is the most wonderful travel companion, not least of all because she not only remembered that I wanted to make a pilgrimage to 53 rue de Varenne, but traipsed across Paris with me to make sure that I could.)

Speaking of Edith, I'm hoping to drive out to the Berkshires next week (maybe Monday!) to visit The Mount again. And that reminds me that there are a lot of other writers' houses nearby -- The Old Manse, Orchard House, Emily Dickinson's home in Amherst, the Harriet Beecher Stow House in Hartford -- that I haven't been to in a long time, or ever. {We would often go to the Mark Twain House on field trips and with company, but I've still never been to Stowe house right across the way.}

Recently. while I've been tooling around the Web, I've found a lot of interesting sites and resources about writers' homes. which have all reminded me that I should do more of this visiting. Some that I've noted:

  • Writers' Houses, a wonderful new site created by A.N. Devers (@writershouses on Twitter)
  • American Writers at Home, from the book American Writers at Home by J.D. McClatchy (added to my reading list), published by The Library of America
  • Literary Destinations, a site listing everything from authors' houses to literary resting places. (Somehow, seeing authors' graves has never interested me very much...)

{The library at The Mount}

And just so I can plan more visits...


Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Oh, my, you *must* tell me how your visit to Edith Wharton's home goes! I've just picked up The House of Mirth, so I'm very intrigued -- can't wait to hear! And thanks for stopping by my blog for my Hemingway post and shooting over the link to the Writer's Homes -- I think I might be obsessed!! :)

Anonymous said...

I went to Emily Dickinson's house last time I was across the pond - it was absolutely remarkable and I highly recommend it. Her brother's house next door is a real time capsule - they had only just opened it to the public when I visited and loads of the family's stuff was still packed into the rooms waiting to be catalogued.

Now I am moving to the US I too am excitedly planning visits to my favourite authors' homes - I can't wait to visit Orchard House and the other Transcendentalist homes and ALSO I am DESPERATE to visit The Mount! Not sure how I am going to get there with the distances involved but I will make it happen!

Rachel - Book Snob
(blogger isn't allowing me to post as me for some reason!)

JoAnn said...

The house and gardens at The Mount were gorgeous! We spent several hours there a couple years ago - also had lunch on the terrace and spent too much money in the gift shop! I'm hoping to visit at least one of the other destinations you mentioned next month.

Thank you for visiting!

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