A book is like a garden…

On a recent Sunday, I had the chance to visit The Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut. To call it a “store” would be insulting — The Book Barn houses more than 350,000 used books on its main campus and two adjunct shops.

The main location is — quite literally — a barn, complete with outbuildings and animals. Throw in lots of benches, chairs and nooks, meandering cats, coffee and donuts, and the aforementioned plethora of books…and call it a great way to spend an afternoon!

Just ask the woman who lay down on the sun-warmed grass with a book for a pillow and a cat for an armrest while reading a copy of Eat Pray Love!

What I enjoy most about a visit to the Book Barn is the randomness of the day’s purchases. Wandering from building to building, room to room, it’s hard to take it all in. And you don’t really…your eye catches on a cover or color or title and that is the direction you head.

Sometimes, the “find” is more magical — as if a kindred spirit has left the book askew on a shelf, or set out on chair, just for you!

Such was the case on this almost-warm spring day. As always, I had left my Book Wish List at home, safe and unprinted on my computer. Fighting the frustration of not knowing, I set about to wander. (Sometimes, when you don’t know, a little wandering is the best approach anyhow.)

And in the wandering, these were my magical finds…

The Human Form Divine: William Blake, Patrick Noon
Natural Health, Natural Medicine, Andrew Weil
Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver
A Survey of My Failures this Far, Gabriel Chad Boyer
The Endless Mirror, Jack Folsom &Friends
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Rituals for Sacred Living, Jane Alexander
The Joys of Everyday Ritual, Barbara Biziou
The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
The Secret Language of Dreams, David Fontana
Animal-Speak, Ted Andrews
The Rubber Stamp Album, Joni Miller

The second thing I enjoy most about a visit to the Book Barn is the message of the purchases. In being random, in the not-knowing and wandering…I found exactly what I was needing!

Unfortunately, the truth is, I don’t read as much as I would like to. I don’t read as much as I used to. When the presenter of the “Treasure Mapping Your Goals” workshop I took last week asked us to reconnect with our 12-year-old authentic selves, the first thing I remembered was reading books!

As surely as there are specific intentions in the books I purchased — art, health, laughter, inspiration and ritual — there is a greater insistence afoot: READ.

©2010, Jennifer Payne

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