I was getting tired of my black-and-white but mostly gray banner image: a little depressing. So I hauled a bunch of my books outside on this bright March day and set about creating something a bit more colorful.

The sprawl effect didn’t quite work:

I finally had to get down to grass-level for a bookshelf-style shot, en plein air, complete with brass book-ends and chicken.

I included some of the books I’ve already read—this year or before—as well as some that are still on my list, such as Loving Frank, Amy and Isabelle, and Mrs. Tom Thumb. I also tossed in some favorites, like Sherlock Holmes. And, as a tribute to my wonderful husband, I added his copy of Mindfield, by Beat poet Gregory Corso. Tom read me his favorite Corso poem on one of our first dates:

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don’t take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It’s beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky . . .

I didn’t know if he was sharing his poetic side or trying to warn me off!