Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

March 03, 2017

Books, Books, Books and A WIP

It's world book day so I thought I'd post today since books are important to me. Where would I be without books? Good question. And it's a question that I can't answer definitively, or short and sweetly. I will say, I'd be a whole lot poorer. Over my reading life, books have allowed me to armchair travel; they have also given me joy, understanding, and I hope enhanced my compassion. They have provided me with many different ways of looking at the world and the people in it. Further, I am sure that certain books have save me a few times.
Looking up at my poetry shelf, I'd  also say that, for me, books have, thankfully, been The Road Taken.

So today, I like to say a great big thank you to all the writers and illustrators out there who have poured out their hearts and souls into their work.

~ If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear you thoughts about books and a few of your favourite titles. 

One of my favorites: Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends." 
Charles W. Eliot

One of the books I'm currently reading with a lovely blue jacket.

Not a book but plants have the power to uplift too.

On my Desk . . .WIP

It's coming along. Hopefully four colourful birds will tweet their way around this watercolour painting. 
These days I'm working by daylight. Unfortunately, I had to send back my daylight lamp. It was  wonderful--you might say illuminating, but it hurt my sensitive eyes so much that I couldn't use it.'s back to the drawing board before the light fades.

“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the       power to change us.”💗

Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
 (haven't read it but what a great quote)
 Have a lovely weekend...

December 29, 2015

Happened Upon...

For those who want to draw or paint flowers, or just look at beautiful books these two books fit the bill. I borrowed these books from the library, however, I wish I owned them because they overflow with information and are truly uplifting. Since they are an inter library loan, I can't renew them, but I  do wish I had more time with these treasures.

For me, it has been a productive drawing year, I've nearly filled five sketchbooks with "the good, the bad, and the ugly." :) It's been so much fun to get lost with a pencil in hand. Besides being meditative in a concentrated way, drawing has made me really look at things. For example, now when I look at flowers, I really look at how they fit together: where the stems and leaves attached, how the veins flow, and the list goes on. I read somewhere that drawing does make you look at the world differently. I do think that's true.

So if you want to draw, pick up a pencil and begin. It's never too late, {or too early} to ignite the creative spark in any area that you choose.

Inside the cover of my kraft covered sketchbook.

Before I sign off for the year, I'd like to say that I've enjoyed following your wonderful blogs this year.  Also, a big thank you for reading along with me.

And I'd especially like to wish you all a New Year filled with joy!

Happy New Year!

August 25, 2015

Book Talk

Reading more than one book at a time is a reality for me, so when I heard about Caryl Phillips' book, The Lost Child, I had to read it. Why so eager?  Because Philips incorporates within his novel the imagined origins of Heathcliff, Emily Bronte's death, and how Heathcliff came to be at the Heights. (Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, that is, by Emily Bronte.) Generally, I don't give away the story but this time I've made an exception.

How did Philips incorporate the above elements into the context of a different novel? There are, of course, related ideas, (lost children for example) but I am left wondering if I knew nothing of Wuthering Heights would I find the information relevant or understand it?  At this point, I am not completely sure. On the other hand, it works precisely because he placed these elements in the beginning, middle, and end of his novel. And he masterly rendered Emily as the strong person she was, and as a contrast, her strength places a subliminal spotlight on his character Monica. What a dichotomy--a complete division it seems until we realize that they are both aloof characters (one real, one imagined) and both outsiders.

Like Wuthering Heights, darkness creeps about and envelopes much of Philips' novel but thankfully, we are left in the dark about the details.  In this, Philips strikes a balance of sorts. However, how did Emily do it? Her novel is dark with details but not completely bleak. Older versus contemporary? Maybe. My guess...Nelly Dean as the gossipy narrator and Mr. Lockwood, the nosy tenant of the Grange, who with levity steps on stage at the beginning of Wuthering Heights. He's a flighty hoot, ambiguous and odd; he says this and means that, but never really nails down what he means. These two ingenious, unreliable characters, and their interactions and opinions, help create a distance that skillfully allows the reader to wade in the darkness without becoming overwhelmed. 

Emily Bronte
* * *

It's still very warm here, but autumn's beauty is on the way. I picked up these leaves on my walk the other day. They remind me of a line from one of Emily Bronte's poems:

Every leaf speaks to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

Enjoy the week...

January 23, 2015

Spotlight on Byatt

Besides fiction, Byatt  writes poetry and literary criticism.  Rhythm and wit coupled with conflicts that often astound, Byatt, a weaver of  unique novels, peppers her books with facts: historical, scientific, and specifically in the case of The Children's Book performance theatre: i.e puppetry.

While her erudition might lead one to assume that her subject matter only reaches the loft, she often brings to light the shadows that run amok in peoples' lives, including the well-educated, and the gentry who, like the poor, also suffer from poverty, (theirs--moral, spiritual) wrongheadedness and the human condition.

Of course, there are love stories such as Possession in which one character compacted and self- restricted eventually opens to the power of love. And in Babel Tower, a place where language was, in the biblical context, confused by the induction of different tongues, the story is framed by fairy tale   refrains of "it might begin" meaning, possibly, there is no right way into a story, or that the path is as intricate as our lives. But, more than that, it's a brilliant way to introduce character. Babel Tower begins with the story of the thrush; a bird admired in spite of its appetite and its limited tune. Attributes that, at one time or another, we may have noticed and dismissed in others to our peril. It's an intriguing, mysterious and thought provoking "it might begin." And it makes me think of the dark, foreboding woods, but I may have read too many fairy tales. Further, there's also a sense of foreshadowing, things hidden, upheaval and change.  

A.S. Byatt's novels promotes critical thought, educate and are, in the end, among the best books that have been written.  She has won many prizes, including the Booker for Possession and is, rightfully, a contender for the Nobel.

Jacket via Goodreads

January 05, 2015

Book Picks of 2014

A New Year. Thank heavens! Although last year was not without good times and deep wells of gratitude, I am happy to begin the new year.

 I didn't keep a full record of the books I read in 2014, but I do have the Kindle list.

While well written, I found a couple of books I read extremely violent. (I'll confess to the unknown, until recently, phenomenon of skipping a few pages.)  However, those works of fiction did deal with historical fact. Another thing I noticed: mistakes in books. The short shrift. What a shame. Imagine having a book published only to find it riddled with errors!

Last year I used my Kindle a lot. Why? Well, it's not because I prefer that medium. It's because around here books have reached critical mass. (Did I say that?)

What's so great about a tangible book? Well, they never run out of steam.  Also, I enjoy the ease of flipping back when prompted by curiosity.  Thoughts like what was that great line? Or, I'd like to read that part again.

Kindle, other gizmos, or the real deal...which do you prefer?

I've picked 4 books for 2014. Two beautifully written re-reads that I own (to have and to hold) and two books that I borrowed from the library.  Generally, I make a few comments, without, I hope, giving away the crux of the story, but in the interest of brevity I've decided it's show time. 

Have a great week!
 Contemplating adding this book my critical mass.

January 28, 2014

Take the Plunge

I know what my currently reading sidebar says, but diversions do spice a life.

Over the years, people have asked me about the books I read, or why, God forbid, I horde books.  Puzzling questions. After all, what you reads depends on your preferences. I've had many books recommended to me, or made random discoveries and, of course, my choices have changed over time. I read everything, including can and cereal box labels, graffiti, and, occasionally, over another person's shoulder, or the writing in the sky. ☺

When pressed I'd say I read for enjoyment and, hopefully, to learn something, buy not all books are enjoyable. They can lead us into places that we'd rather not go, or can not imagine, but most allow us to see life from a different perspective.  Books equal (time) travel; they can place us in other people's brocade/leather/plastic, or worn out shoes. They can also comfort, surprise, delight, raise questions, and, more importantly enhance our critical thinking skills.  

Recently when I was listening to an author's interview, during question period a member of the audience asked the writer why he/she wrote an elitists book. (Elitists, these days, is a dirty word, but writers, are not generally of the ruling class, but, then again, perhaps a few do influence educational policy, which might be a good thing. But I digress.) The writer was surprised and a little annoyed, I think.

As far as I could determine, the condemnation had to do with the intellect and education of the writer--the  writer who wrote a hard book to read. ( If I only had that brain!) My first thought was HUH? and O, come on. (Not exactly articulation at its finest. Perhaps, I should read more.) 

My second thought: dictionaries are free, and, these days, they are built into whatever device we might be using.  If necessary we can, of course, Google one, or dust off an in-house copy. Most information--also free.  We live in a country/continent where we can get our hands on a lot of information and any book we choose. That's freedom and that's what keeps several writers (unfortunately, many with first hand experiences) writing fiction that tells of the horror of losing that freedom. (As we know, most totalitarianism regimes start by burning books. They know that a populous who reads can, for them, be a dangerous thing.)

I hope that particular individual will exercise that freedom. That they will be a curious and radical reader. That they will read whenever they can and whatever they choose, that they will use the library, and discuss books with neighbours, friends, or join a book club. And should reading lead him/her, to Google a dictionary, or other information, I'd say: for heaven's sake dive in--take the plunge!
The in between reads: The JudgesUnfortunately the Year of The Flood was recalled by the library before I could finish it. Time to find another copy.

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.”
Joyce Carol Oates

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