Saturday, November 17, 2018

A bookish gem...

How good it is to be among people who love reading!

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel is a love letter to reading. And I loved every word of it, from her thoughts on finding the right book (or letting the right book find you) to how to organize your bookshelves. ("You're a reader; your hobby is organizing your bookshelves.") But I have to say, her chapter on Bookworm Problems made me laugh out loud. Here are three of my favorite ones:

  • You have reached your limit on library checkouts, but nine books are waiting for you on hold.
  • Your To Be Read list holds 8,972 titles, and you want to read every one.
  • Someone asks you to name your three favorite books, and you can narrow your list to only five. Or seven. Or seventeen.

I don't know about you, but I've experienced all of these bookish problems to one extent or another. (Thankfully, my To Read list is NOT in the thousands of titles...yet.) My current bookworm problem? Lack of sufficient bookshelf space!
Anyway, I'd Rather Be Reading is a delightful's short, and humorous, and very relatable, and it'd make the perfect Christmas gift for any bookworm or bibliophile.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November's Bookish Art...

Frederick Carl Frieseke -- Girl Reading

"We don't need a list of rights and wrongs,  tables of dos and don'ts:
we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten,
but Once upon a time lasts forever."
--Philip Pullman

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Live Long and...What I Learned Along the Way!

"Success always begins with showing up. ... Any success I have had began by showing up on time, being prepared, and doing the best possible job. ... A good work ethic is the foundation of success. ...Show up and do your job and good things are going to happen."

"We have to yearn for things, we have to pursue them, and if we are fortunate enough to obtain them we have to savor them--and then set off on the next pursuit. ... The pursuit and enjoyment of passion, however the hell you want to define it, is what life should be about. I have great news for you:  I can report to you from eighty-seven years old that no matter how passionate you are, you will never run out of it. There is no limited reservoir of passion."

"There are people who lead a cautious life, but to me, that's like going through life with the emergency brake on. ... Comfort and predictability have never been sufficient for me. ... My regrets are for those things I didn't do, rather than the risks I took."

William Shatner's self-deprecating wit and unpretentious honesty make this book a quick and easy read. It's not as funny or as full of humorous quips as I thought it would be, and it's not quite as good as the book he wrote about Leonard Nimoy, but it's still a book worth reading.

Happy Reading!

And if you're a fan of Mr. Spock, be sure to check out this amazing book:

It's awesome!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Walking the Amazon

"I had never been to the Amazon ... but it had a mystique all of its own. Surely the trees would be much bigger, the wildlife had to be much richer and more diverse and the people would be that bit wilder and cut off from the outside world. It gave me butterflies to think of spending time in the Amazon."

On a lark, Ed Stafford and his friend, Luke Collyer, decided to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, all 4,345 miles of it. It'd be a first. No one had ever done it before. They thought it might take them a year. Instead, it took Ed 860 days. (Luke quit after 3 months.) Ed experienced mosquitoes, wasps, and snakes, heat and humidity, blistered and infected feet, flooded forests, hospitality and hostility, hunger, exhilaration, depression, boredom and fear. But through it all, he never considered giving up.

There's something about the Amazon that I find fascinating. I like to read about it and imagine going there someday, but I'd never want to walk it like Stafford did. (I'm not a fan of mud or bugs or snakes or 100% humidiy.) Walking the Amazon is both an interesting and readable memoir; Stafford does a good job of chronicling his long journey, but he focuses more on the day to day logistics--the guides, and tribes, money, gear and food, miles trekked, and the problems encountered along the way--than on the Amazon River itself and the surrounding rain forest. I would have liked a little more description, for him to paint a better picture of where he was walking, and what he saw. There's some. Just not enough for me. It's still a really good read. But I'd have to give it a B+ rather than an A for that reason.

Happy Reading!

Two other books about the Amazon that I enjoyed even more than this one:

Monday, November 5, 2018

A bookish update...

Just finished reading:

This book is a very intense and dark psychological thriller 
that reminded me of Pessl's Night Film.

So this year I decided to fully embrace Nonfiction November.
Here are the eight nonfiction books that I checked out of the library last Friday and plan on reading throughout the month of November: 

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Live Long And -- What I Learned Along the Way by William Shatner
I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Vogel
Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot by Joseph Cummins
Valley Forge by Bob Drury
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 by Laura Spinney
Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford

(Don't know if I'll manage to read them all, but I'm going to give it a try.)

Two stupid things that made me laugh:

The title of this  book:

And this misspelled word:


(I saw it on some website recently; and while I know they meant 
to write bookmark instead, I think I like this word better.)

Another favorite John Atkinson cartoon:

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Still lovin' this series...

Veiled by Benedict Jacka is the sixth book in his Alex Verus series; and it's just as good as the first. In this one, Alex's former teacher, a notorious Dark mage named Richard Drakh, has returned to England. And he wants Alex back on his team, which is the last thing Alex wants. So, to protect himself and his friends, Alex joins the Keepers, the enforcement arm of the Mage Council instead. Of course, it would help if the other Keepers didn't view him as the enemy, but according to many of them, "Once a Dark mage, always a Dark mage." So Alex will have to prove himself once again.

Of course, his first case, which should have been a simple and straightforward investigation, gets a lot more complicated when Alex encounters an Air mage assassin, a scared young runaway, an ice cat, and a deadly conspiracy. Luckily, Alex has another sense--"my diviner's sight--and it multiplied what I could see a million times over...a diviner can actually be quite an effective fighter, in an unconventional sort of way. We aren't any stronger or faster than regular folk, but all that information gives us an awful lot of leverage...(Because) when you can see the future, it changes things a lot."

This is one of my new favorite urban fantasy series. And Alex Verus is one of my all-time favorite characters. I've enjoyed every book I've read so far about him and his friends. But just so you know, this is a series that's best read in order.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


I love visiting cemeteries, the older the better. There's something about them that's both creepy and cool. And I like how they conjure up stories in my head, especially when they're haunted...or look like they could be. Here are some of my favorite photos of hauntingly beautiful, sometimes spooky cemeteries. I haven't seen them all in person, but I'd really like to someday!

Okuno-in cemetery in Japan

Flaybrick Cemetery, Birkenhead

Highgate Cemetery

Le Pere Lachaise Cemetiere
(I've actually visited this cemetery in Paris, and I totally loved it! 
It's such a great place to wander and dream.)

Stull Cemetery

Stull Cemetery 

Stull Cemetery in Kansas is  one of the seven gateways to hell. Supposedly, there are hidden steps that lead to the Netherworld here. These steps are only visible during Halloween. But if you find them, don't go down. Because once you do, it's impossible to come back up.

Aakanksha Wahi, India

South Park Street Cemetery
South Park Street Cemetery

It seems there's more than one haunted cemetery in India. This one is in Kolkata.

It's cool, isn't it?

So where's your favorite haunted place? 

Happy Halloween!