How much do you like trees?
I mean, really like trees. If you asked me to list off trees, my list would probably be something like this: mesquite, evergreen, pine, sequoia, palo verde, cypress, palm. And then at some point I would repeat palm again, because that’s a lot of what I see here in the Valley.
I appreciate trees, the shade they offer from the scorching summer heat, their participation in our air quality. But, I’m not Will Blacklin. He studied trees in college, stared at them for hours on end. He took Cordelia Kenn on a date where all he talked about were trees.
Cordelia is the protagonist of one of my favorite books, “This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn” by Aidan Chambers. And Will Blacklin is the instrument-playing boy she falls in love with.
(Not sure what a Pillow Book is? See one of the most famous pillow books here.)
The book is a tome at 808 pages, but it never slows down and never grows tiresome. The first time I read “This is All” was early on in high school. I enjoyed it, but while I scanned the pages, it seemed that the ideas and themes of the book went over my head. I felt like my life was just beginning, which is how Cordelia felt in the beginning. But towards the end, I was lost.
I picked the book up again recently and started to read. I reminisced in the moments that once made sense to me, falling in love with a boy who accompanied my piano-playing. But now, I can feel the pain of losing that boy in my bones, the frustration of people coming in and out of my life, the playfulness of a new and foreign environment and the occasional loneliness of it.
I realized that this is the beauty of Aidan Chambers’ work. One day, maybe four or five years from now, I’ll pick up the book again (for the 9th or 10th time) and read the moments that lead up to the end of the Pillow Book. Perhaps I’ll be able to relate to those events in ways that I have not been able to relate before.
If you haven’t read this book before, it is worth a gander. It is real, it is timeless. Plus, it’s the perfect fall book (especially since there’s a cute guy that loves trees, and trees remind me of fall).
Do you have any other fall book recommendations? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @marie_eo.