August 14, 2017
Interesting Books to Read While Staying at the Topanga Canyon Inn
By: Karina Anastasia Roche
Your hosts at the Topanga Canyon Inn Bed and Breakfast are a family of avid readers and writers. Naturally, you will find that the Inn has many bookshelves and is well stocked with a variety of reading material. There are some collections and pieces we especially treasure. These books lend the Inn subtle but unique personality. Such details and individual character of bed and breakfasts is what distinguishes them from hotels, and brings guests who are seeking a one of a kind home-away-from-home.
1. Little Journeys
Little Journeys: To the Homes of the Great is a beautiful antique set of volumes published in 1928. The author, Elbert Hubbard, was the founder of Roycroft Arts and Crafts, as well as a philosopher, lecturer, critic, essayist, and writer. In these elegant volumes, he visits and reflects on the homes of the greatest thinkers of the Western world. We happened upon the collection when purchasing Roycroft furniture for the Inn, and are delighted to have this precious and rare set for both us and our guests to enjoy.
2. The Story of Civilization
We have 19 volumes of the famous Will and Ariel Durant history. An exhaustive work, it begins at the beginning—and the historian husband and wife are not impatient to hurry through to the end. This is not your typical light vacation reading—but the volumes are inspiring to look through, there are many historical maps to study, and it is certainly a valuable set in any library.
3. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
Winston Churchill was not only the leader of a nation but an ambitious writer as well, producing four history books on the English-speaking world. I found this 1965 collection in a used books cart at the library one day, and felt that it should be placed on a somewhere it could be appreciated. It even has a handwritten note inside, from an uncle to his academically excellent niece, dated 1965. I love old books with personal notes, as it creates a little window into another life lived long ago, and lends the individual book unique character and value. Since placing the set in our book cabinet, other guests have gifted us their Churchill history book.
4. Books Written by Guests
We have had many writers stay with us, some of who escape to Topanga Canyon for the serene and inspiring rural environment. Occasionally they leave their books with us. Mary Jo Hazard gave us a charming book, The Peacocks of Palos Verdes, about the beautiful birds who grace the equally beautiful Palos Verdes, located south of Los Angeles. It was a fitting gift, as Topanga is also home to many peacocks.
On a very different topic, in In His Hand, Sophie Berecz and Arpad Soo tell an astonishing true story of fleeing Soviet-held Czechoslovakia and making their way to find freedom in the West. They captivated us and our guests during breakfast conversation, and left a copy of the story in print for others to read.
5. Published by Your Hosts
As mentioned before, your hosts are writers as well as innkeepers. You can find some of our writing on the shelves, or ask us about works in progress. Perhaps it's the mountain air and scenic views—we all have an urge to write, or paint, and create.
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