Still Life With Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads. 


Leesa Cross-Smith | 4.2 Fiction Contributor 

Reading: DRUMS OF AUTUMN by DIANA GABALDON | Currently on page: 227 | Favorite lines so far: Gabaldon’s writing is so detailed and feely, it’s hard to say! But I love her descriptions of clothes and smells so much. She writes re: Jamie, “He smelt of wine and candlewax, of herbs and Highland wool.” And earlier, describing Jamie’s clothes she writes “The coat and waistcoat were not spectacular, but quite acceptable, courtesy of Cousin Edwin; a quiet gray broadcloth with a good hand and an excellent fit, buttons not silver, but not of wood or bone either—a sober pewter, like a prosperous Quaker…and the missing button on the waistcoat was hidden by the graceful fall of his lace jabot, the sole extravagance he had permitted himself in the way of wardrobe.” I get happily immersed so quickly in her world and with descriptions like these, she keeps me there and I never want to leave.| Books’ origins: I got into Outlander because I asked my dear friend Sarah what she was reading and she got this dreamy look in her eyes when she told me. Not long after that, I went to the used bookstore and prepared myself to read the entire series because I fell in love. My husband helped me carry all of the books out because that’s how huge and heavy they are. Years later, I’m forever listening to Outlander podcasts, rewatching the show when it’s Droughtlander waiting for the new season, just got an Outlander cookbook in the mail, I’ve knit more than four Outlander cowls for my girlfriends, etc.



meg willing | Assistant Production Editor / Designer  

Reading: Little Boat by Jean Valentine | Currently on page: 14 | Favorite lines so far: The poem “Photographs at her Wake” takes my breath away (pictured above in full). It ends with the lines, “Can you feel / a hair under a page of the telephone book? / under two pages? / under three?” | Book’s origin: On loan from my local college library. I love walking to the library on rainy days and filling my bag so full of books it almost breaks. But I hate not being able to underline and write in the margins, so I photocopy the poems that pop and tape them to my studio wall. The due date is a friendly push to finish reading whatever I check out.

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