Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Friday, April 29, 2011

About writing...

Every single person who will ever read these pages is grateful to the people who write.   Books, words, expressed thoughts, typed ideas, they are our lovers, our passions, our savory life morsels, our presents.   They are the "why" of Mrs. BG's Book Nook's existence.

DeLynne is writing a book.    My sister is writing a book.  I am writing a book. 

Actually, let me correct something here, because I try not to make a habit of presenting untruths: DeLynne talks about writing a book. I talk about writing a book. My sister talks about writing a book and I suspect Lesa would talk about writing a book if she didn't have to spend so much time taking care of Mrs. BG and her delicious book nook.

What drives us to write, or to create at all?    

Sorry.  This isn't that post.  If I knew what it was, I'd cure it, because it is like a drug.

I don't know what it is, but I know how it feels.  

To write is to dance with the Universe.  

There's a reason so much art has been offered up to the mythical forces that seduce creativity from the ether through little ol' us.

But it's hard.  

It's hard to keep your toes (ego) out of the way.

It's hard to keep up with the muses because they have those annoying trim, lithe, dancer bodies and we all have the cubical, baby weight, not fifteen year old bodies, or exactly fifteen year old bodies with the exact gangling that comes from all that power we've yet learned to wield.  

It's hard.

It's hard, and yet, not to be melodramatic, not that you'll think me so if you've had this dance, but I almost can't breath without it.

DeLynne, Leslie, any of you out there dancing, write.   We owe it to ...well, pretty much everyone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (8): Plum and Newbery Edition

Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

A book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

BBB is the place to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that you have scored on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Lesa is hosting this week!

Howdy, bargain book lovers! Any superduper discounted books to show off this week? 

My haul is small but mighty and I'm so excited to share it with you! Especially a couple of  y'all in particular...

I picked these books up at the permanent book sale at the library-- the same library from the very first BBB post.  Regular hardbacks are .50 each with new ones costing $1. Paperbacks are .50 each or three for $1.  These four books cost $2.

 Do you read the Stephanie Plum series?

DeLynne is a huge fan and has written about it here, here and here. She first raved about Plum to me several years ago but I didn't read one. Then colleagues and local friends raved about it but I still didn't read one. I didn't read one till I spotted the first in the series in a pile of free giveaway books at school!!  No way could I pass up free and I figured the universe was telling me something.

So I read it. And it was a quick entertaining read-- it reminded me of a zany but occasionally intense tv cop/mystery show but about a bounty hunter.

No, I didn't laugh till I cried or even laugh at loud like some but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I've been planning to continue the series... sometime...

And the time is imminent! I spotted the hardback first and debated reading the series out of order then spotted number two in the series on the paperback twirly rack. Woohoo!

But then I had to find two more paperbacks to take advantage of the three for $1 deal...

a bit scarred but that doesn't bother me...
Caddie Woodlawn!! Yay!! Have you read it? I've been wanting to read this since Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar wrote about it here

Don't know how I missed Caddie Woodlawn as a kid seeing as how I was so wild about the Little House books and any book about the frontier, really.  And it is a Newbery Winner-- one of my personal goals is to read all the Newbery winners and honor books.  

And guess what?! I already read it and it is superior to the Little House books. I'm planning a Caddie Woodlawn post to tell more about it. Don't hold your breath though, it may take me awhile.

Then I spotted this Newbery Honor Book, Rufus M. I know absolutely nothing about this one but it is an Honor Book!

I'm am so pleased with my small but mighty and wonderfully serendipitous bargain book haul!

Thank you, Bargain Book Fairy!

Can't wait to see your BBB posts!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books I Could Actually Stand...

Well hello there, book lovers! Okay, I admit, I have been very much on the slack side lately. I have gotten into the habit of just reading the same books over and over again, to avoid having to think. Lazy much? So I developed a post about books I could read again without wanting to shoot myself or the book or the people around me. So here goes.

1. The Key To Rondo by Emily Rodda

I actually didn't have a choice but to read this over and over again because it was for a competition called Reader's Cup. But I found it was the only book I didn't eventually get sick of taking notes about and analysing each paragraph.

I have always had a weak spot for fantasy: Harry Potter, The Shadow Thief, Series of Unfortunate Events, that kind of thing. This book was perfect because it didn't have that really dark aspect that sometimes keeps me away but did have the exciting fantasy.

In the book, A boy named Leo inherits a music box that comes with a strict set of rules. Mimi, Leo's hated cousin, and her dog come to stay. Quickly the strict rules are broken and they find themselves transported to a land ruled by the evil Blue Queen. This book is filled with quirky characters and nail-biting moments. Feel free to read it over and over again.

2. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Alright, we've probably all seen the movie, but the book is ten times better!

It talks more in depth about things like her mother's death, her romance with Prince Charmont, and her curse. I guess when you talk about it  like this it sounds pretty typical fairy tale, but if it's anything it's probably anti-fairy tale.

Ella, a beautiful girl from the kingdom of Frell, despises the Prince, the most wanted boy in the whole kingdom. She protests for ogre rights and takes down the king, the evil one in the story. Lucinda, a fairy who bestowed a "gift" on her when she was very young, is a ditzy, stubborn woman.

The whole fairy tale concept gets turned on its head by this story. Lesa actually gave this to me! We all knew she had excellent taste.

3. Teen Vogue

I know, I know, it's not technically a book. I had to write about it, though, because I just read them over and over again! It is amazing the amount of times I can pick one up and notice something new. It's like with a goldfish, you put something new in their tank, and because they have such a short memory span, they get surprised every time they pass it! Okay, not the best comparison, but you get the idea.

 The magazine is filled with advice on problems I actually am facing, amazing fashion (not in my price range but what do you expect) and up-and-coming stars with interesting backgrounds (except that time they put Justin Bieber on the cover). It's also very affordable and I don't feel like my brain cells are frying every time I pick one up!

I really like the section where they photograph girls wearing things from their own closets. It reminds me to op-shop every now and again.

I know it isn't targeted for adults, but it makes a great gift for teenagers from 13-17 years of age. And my Mum likes it, too. But maybe that's just her.

Follow me, I'm desperate!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (7): Wine Country Edition!

Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

A book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

BBB is the place to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that you have scored on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Tracy is hosting this week!

There is so much stuff in my house, my husband and I have to take turns turning side ways to get into it.   That's an exaggeration, but some days it doesn't feel like much of one.  I am not a collector.  My husband is not a hoarder, but somehow, in the dark of night, the stuff cavorts and more stuff appears.  

This is why I do not do souvenirs. I also don't do jazz hands, but that's a story for a previous day.

Still, when one goes to the immense trouble pleasure of taking a trip, one would like to have a little something tangible to remember said logistical nightmare delightful five days.  

That's a difficult aspiration to marry with the one I have of de-cluttering my life.  Good thing I have made up my own rules about what defines clutter and what doesn't.

Books don't.  

Last weekend, in a little town north of here, I walked into a local bookstore and walked out with some souvenirs that now sit happily on my desk. 

Depending on your idea of bargain, they may not have been much of a bargain, but if I want something and it normally costs me X dollars but I can get it for X/6, then that is a bargain.

 A tasty, thrify and non-toxic bargain book collage...

Bargain 1)  I was in wine country, so there had to be at least one obligatory wine book.  I'm all about going the extra mile and got two.  The sacrifices I make for you people *sigh*.   

One is titled "In search of Bacchus"  and I'm taking it with me to read this weekend while I'm in search of viognier.  

Yes, I'm going to go drink more wine.  For research. For you.  Of course.  

I've just started it, but basically, if you like wine and you'd like to spend your lottery money traveling so you can have a little wine from all the little places that produce it, then this is a story of someone who did just that, and I find I don't even hate him.  Much.

Bargain 2)   Ignore all the other stuff in the photo. That is an "I hate my house and am going to pretend I'm going to redecorate it" experiment.  

The book is the star:  "Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma".  If you're going to go there, go get this first.  It's a gem, and lead me to one of the best days of my adult life not to mention a 20 year old bottle of wine that makes my head spin just thinking about it.

Bargain 3)   Well, this would have been a bargain no matter what the cost.  Ms. Izzy is as yet unable to move to Southern California and teach me how to dress more like a Audrey Hepburn and less like Maxine  so I had to get literary assistance.   It's entitled "The Style Strategy" and it's full of things I can actually understand, a post unto its own very frump-ista friendly self.

Bargain 4)   I want to make jam that won't kill me or anyone I know and love.  'Nuf said.

What bookish bargains did you nab this week?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Favorite Readin' Spots n' Stuff

So, I am sure that most of you have, like, a life, right? Yes? No?  Ok, ok, no, that's fine. I can still work with this.

Well, I am sure most of you do anywho. So, it may come as no shock that it is quite difficult to squeeze in a bubble bath, while reading romance novels and eating European chocolates....

...At least it is for me. Oh. Not for you? Ok, no, no, it's fine. I can still work with this.

So, anyway, during one of those..umm..unusually hectic weeks (I only have 52 hectic weeks a year), I try to create, if you will...or even if you won't, an atmosphere. Or at the very least, a non-hostile environment. This tends to occurs on the nights my hubby goes and plays soccer. I power up the Wii for the boys and turn on an "educational" DVD for the little one.You know, like Spongebob Squarepants- fascinating documentary on modern sea life, by the way.

And then I am free for the night, BAY-BEE! Woooo-hooo! Time to get my read on! AHHHH YEAH! And yes, I am totally aware of how pathetic this is.

Any. Way. I have a favorite spot. It is a fat squashy sofa, and I get an obnoxiously-colored quilt I stole from the Cabin and a cup o' coffee in my favorite mug, and settle in with a good REAL book (No offense Kindlers), from the public library, no less. Good and germy!

I like to sit next to this window for the light, of course, but also, I can watch for my brood to fight see my darling little ones have a lively discussion. This window looks out over the patio and backyard. Um, yes, this blinds when my kids are out.

And yes, Tracy, these are new sofas. Give me a break, will ya? Always bringing up my bizness! Seriously! As it so HAPPENS, mom got these sofas and changed her mind, OKAY?? And who gets her sloppy sofa seconds? Me, that's who! It's a burden I must carry.

Back to the story.

Isn't that a cool cup? I have only four. Two Nutella colored and two milk chocolate. See how I incorporated another favorite thing here, although it's completely unrelated to bookishness? That's called "getting off topic". I am not sure why I am bragging about it.

And no, I do not normally eat that many cookies. And if you hear different, they are LYING. This was quite simply for the sake of photography. I sacrifice so much for my art.

But that does bring up an interesting point...are there any un-favorite things that I avoid? Well, yes. I think it highly improper to eat anything like greasy chips or a drippy mustardy sandwich while reading. Or stuff that sticks to your hands, like salt crystals or melty M&M's . Really people. Show some respect for the book, please.

"So," you are wondering, "what about outside? Don't you ever read outside, especially now that it is purdy out?"

Why! I am so glad you asked! Excellent question! That's why YOU are my favorite bloggy friend!

Yes, I do read outside. And that is my second favorite reading place - right after reading inside. I go outside and read when my kiddos are in our Olympic sized lap pool!

Ok, maybe not quite Olympic size...

I usually pull up an antique porch rocker, a fancy art nouveau table, and a tall glass of iced tea....

Ok, ok, so no iced tea either...

...and read. Yes, I DO watch them. I glance up occasionally, at least.  As long as they don't splash me, we are all good.

And that, Gentle Reader, is how I get my read on. So, how about you? What are your favorite readin' spots n' stuff?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ways of Seeing Words: Library Tree and William Blake

The redbud is Oklahoma's state tree and this one at the library is in full bloom!

Bee-yoo-ti-ful, isn't it!  

In case you couldn't tell from my recent Locus Focus post, I have a thang for the great outdoors and I really really dig trees. Yep, I'm a nature girl...

And as a nature girl who is also prone to flights of fancy, this quote by William Blake pleases me...
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself."

- William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Do you ever think of nature as the imagination of God*?  I do and this quote reminds me of how, for me, nature, spirituality and God (the Creative Force of the Universe)* are magnificently intertwined.  

*(God  a.k.a. Creative Force of the Universe so as not to offend anyone since 'spiritual' talk can be a touchy subject in mixed company. Folks of all creeds are welcome at Mrs. BG:  Christians, Buddists, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, Jedis.
Except for radical fundies of any persuasion-- they are scary and tend to support book banning so must be screened first!)   

And yes, this is Lesa-- and no, I haven't been 'body snatched'-- I do occasionally stray from the silly side of the street and think serious semi-profound thoughts. 

but not for long...

Definitely the home of a bookish dryad, don't you think...  (a tree nymph, for you less fanciful folks)

Can you imagine someone not noticing this tree or worse, thinking it was in the way? Maybe even destroying it? 

I bet you can guess which bookish character that part of the quote reminds me of:

Bad Saruman-- A wizard should know better!

Isn't bark interesting...

Remember the deep dark secret I revealed in my recent Locus Focus post-- Well, here is another one:

 I am a macro maniac! 

To learn how my macro mania began (and to learn what a doofus I really am) click here.  

Macro enhances details not seen by the naked eye and makes even the most mundane things beautiful and fascinating.

Nature macros might even move some to tears of joy as William Blake stated trees are wont to do. 

Well, not my nature macros, you understand,  but someone's... hey, it's in the realm of possibility and I bet that someone owns a bonafide dSLR camera! 

  This lovely little blossom blooming right out of the bark of the main trunk didn't make me blubber but it did bring me joy.

Nature, imagination and ways of seeing words...

Please visit Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos to see amazing macros.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Independent Bookstores: City Lights

The kindle has changed my book buying experience irrevocably.  

Gone are the days when I would wander through the shelves of the "big book store", and you know who you are. In fact, since I started using my kindle, I'm ashamed to say I haven't even walked inside a library.  

There are too many free books to be had for this e-reader to use what little time I do have in the pursuit of what may or may not be a decent book.

All this changed two weeks ago in San Francisco.

I went inside the veritably hallowed ground of City Lights Bookstore for the first time in years and remembered something about what a book store is and why I should take myself into them.

 For the young or the underexposed, City Lights began as a periodical and became a book store when poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin joined together to publish small works, by little known and at the time very unpopular authors, unpopular with the police in particular.

Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac are two of the most commonly known of the group, but their attitude defined and inspired a generation of young people who were tired ( beat , thus beatnik ) with the status quo. 

I do not, in any way miss the "big book store", but I truly do miss places like City Lights.  

It even motivated me to buy an actual bound three dimensional paper book and in the future I'll be talking about more of them, the books and the places that love them as much as we do.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Want To See Made Into Movies

Hi! Lesa here!  Thanks for commiserating last week about my cold of apocalyptic proportions.  Wish I could say it dried up like a well behaved cold should but, NO, it morphed into bronchitis.  The symptoms are not fun and the associated head/eye pain and exhaustion have kept me off the computer quite a bit.  But, I am now with antibiotics so hopefully will kick this crud soon.   Hope all of you are staying healthy and crud-free! 

Now for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is very appealing because some books are just perfect for film. 

 For me, it is usually action thriller or fantasy reads that I'd like to see on the big screen. Surely, I'm not the only girl who grew up watching Bond, Sinbad and all manner of cowboys and swashbucklers. Ooo--love those swashbucklers!

I was very curious which books the other ladies of Mrs. BG would choose so here is our collaborative Top Ten Tuesday!

Lesa's Picks:

1. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

    This is my favorite newish fantasy series. I would love to visit a sanctuary for fairytale and mythical creatures but the next best thing would be to see it on the big screen.

2.  Any of the Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Pendergast is an amazing cross between Bond and Sherlocke Holmes. If you aren't familiar with Pendergast, I wrote about him here.

3. Repairman Jack Series by F. P. Wilson.
Jack is so cool-- he lives off the grid in New York City and creatively 'fixes' situations for people who can't go to the authorities for help. If you aren't familiar with Jack, I wrote about him here.

4. Any James Rollins science thrillers-- the old stand alones or the Sigma Force series.

5. Temple by Matthew Reilly but I want to see all his action thrillers made into movies-- reading a Reilly book is just like watching an intense action movie. 

 Temple  takes place in the jungles of Peru with two storylines, one from the past and one in the present. Several factions are furiously hunting for a lost Incan idol that holds the secret to a deadly weapon of war. 

Fun fun fun!! I'd love to have that sort of  jungle adventure--  except for the parasites and creepy crawlies, of course!  

6. Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

This fantasy series is too massive to be made into films but it would make an amazing animated series. I'm thinking something similar to the style and complexity of Avatar:The Last Airbender series. Do you watch it?

Ok, I've monopolized long enough!

DeLynne's Pick:

7. The Phyrnne Fisher mystery series by Kerry Greenwood because the costumes would be stunning!

Phryne (pronounced Fry-knee) has more money than she knows how to spend, luxuriates in expensive cosmetics, wears bespoke clothes, and solves mysteries while shocking society. She is a ballsy, unconventional woman with an amazing intellect who began her life distressingly poor. DeLynne wrote about Phryne here.

Leslie's Pick:

8. The series by Celestine Vaite - Frangipani, Bread Fruit, and Tiare in Bloom.

I think it would be a fabulous movie for a mother, daughter, sister, best friend, aunt, cousin, neighbor....the women in the story are beautiful, hilarious, wise, and know these women, you are these women....and it is set in Tahiti...

Tracy's Pick:

9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire... I know, it's been a play, but I don't do jazz hands...

Izzy's Pick:  

10. The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda.

And a Mary Poppins that is true to the original (i.e. Mary Poppins is stern and a bit scary), not Disney-fied. Also, L.A.Candy by Lauren Conrad.
Love Izzy.

What book would you love to see made into a movie? or a better remake?  That might make an excellent Top Ten Tuesday Topic too. Hmm...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (6)

Welcome to the sixth edition of Bargain Book Bonanza!

BBB is a linky party to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that we book lovers score on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

DeLynne is hosting this week!

Trips to the big city are rare for me, but even more special because they don't happen often. They involve a two hour train trip each way, which is a great opportunity to sit and read.

Last time I went I found I had nothing to read for the trip home, so whilst racing to the train I ducked into a book store.

Almost a year ago, Miss Shirley, an
Off the Beaten Page reader on Heron Island, talked to me about Agatha Christie's complete short story collection. She said they were too short for her taste. I wasn't sure if the same would apply to Sir Doyle's collection, but decided to take a punt on them anyway.

I was really happy with my purchase. It cost $6.50, which is nothing to crow about when some of us are posting about free or 25 cent books. However, with the price of new books in Australia this is a bargain. And I got lots of enjoyment from it.

On the train I ran into some of my students, and was able to chat occasionally in between stories. It was also great by my bedside for weeks, where I would read one story before lights out.

This counts as a bargain in my book, but I have some even cheaper ones to post about someday soon.

Can't wait to see everyone's Bargain Book Bonanzas!

BBB is linking up to Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Passages to the Past.  Welcome Mailbox Monday visitors!  Are there bargains in your mailbox?  If so, you are invited to join Bargain Book Bonanza to show them off. The more bargains the merrier!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (5)

Welcome to the fifth edition of Bargain Book Bonanza!

BBB is a linky party to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that we book lovers score on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

Lesa's Bargain Book Bonanza
Hello, bargain book lovers! This is not the BBB that I planned to post this week. I had intended to show the books Talon and I bought at the Scholastic Book Fair last week. We got some goodies and one of the pictures book is an absolute delight.

But, my friends, you will have to wait to see the books and Talon's vlog review.  Why? Because I'm sick as a dog and too groggy to take photos or film,  that's why.  Just a miserable cold but it is a bad one.  If I could only get enough oxygen!!  And is there anything more maddening than a nose that is stopped up but drippy at the same time?!! Ugh!!   

Anyway, I know you will be grateful to miss my grossness on Talon's vlog-- and now you have something to look forward to-- a mystery picture book that is so cute you won't be able to stand it!

Until then, check out this Bargain Book Bonanza. It is full of cuteness too. Plus, I already had the photo ready to go. :o)

Guess where I picked up these fun little picture books?  At a yard sale for .25 each!

Do you ever stop at yard sales or garage sales to check for books?

Can't wait to see your Bargain Book Bonanzas! 

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