Reading my sister’s post on Sunday, The Days of Wine and Covid, led me to thinking about my own “list habit”. I do love a list. A to-do list, a list of my favorite quotes, books I’ve read, books I want to read, movies to see, ideas for blog posts. Many people now keep their lists digitally, but I am old school and prefer an actual notebook. My family must be aware of my preference because for my birthday this year I received a lovely new journal from my youngest son. It was handcrafted in Sri Lanka from a mixture of elephant waste (poo!) and post-consumer paper that was pulped to perfection by the elephants and I love it! Thanks, Adam.
I’m not sure if it was Jeanne’s post or my own stream-of-consciousness thinking, but when I was having a conversation with my oldest granddaughter over the weekend and she started telling me her list of favorite animals, favorite books, etc., a lightbulb went off. Right then I decided to send her a notebook so that she could record her lists. It delights my grandma heart to imagine her developing her own notebook habit and tucking them away when they are full to revisit decades later. The notebook is on its way, Olivia!
And all the talk about notebooks reminded me of a book I recently read, The Red Notebook by French writer Antoine Laurain. Laurent Letellier, a lonely bookseller, comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street with nothing to indicate the owner. Laurent tries to figure out who the owner might be from the remaining contents of the bag, including a red moleskin notebook containing the unknown owner’s own intriguing lists.
It’s a clever, funny book. Laurent’s trepidation of going through a woman’s purse – a transgression a man should never commit – reminded me of how my father felt about my mother’s purse! It’s was a quick and satisfying pandemic read, part detective story and part romance. If like me, you occasionally find yourself in need of a sliver of the sublime these days, give it a try.
C’est la vie.