Tag: Books (page 1 of 2)

The Written Word Endures #13

Vic looked at me questioningly, but I only nodded to her and slapped the side of the door in dismissal. I turned and walked back to the river and the rifle as she backed around the corner of my truck and rushed away to Durant. She took a left and continued down Powder River Road without my even telling her. I watched as the dust receded into the distance, and then the only sound was the water and a wandering band of Canada geese staging a late season getaway south. I watched them for a moment as they made their way along the water, keeping a steady pace between the darker hills on both sides of the storied river. The hills were contusion purple, and there were lengthy wounds of burnt-red scoria. It seemed like the whole valley was bleeding.

-Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish, The Walt Longmire Series

The Written Word Endures #12

15th January, 1946

Dear Mr. Adams,

I no longer live in Oakley Street, but I’m so glad that your letter found me and that my book found you. It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it. You have soothed my conscience. 

I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true…

– Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


We are definitely moving into sweater weather around these parts. The mornings and nights have been chilly. It rained a fair amount over the weekend, which was the perfect excuse to stay curled up, under a blanket, with a book.

I finished the fourth novel in the Earthsea series in two days. And now, I’ve moved on to a long awaited treat! This was a surprise from Mr. Michie, the fifth novel in The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley. I’ve devoured the previous ones and The Moon Sister is no different. I’m completely transported to another world within those pages and I feel as if I know these women. It’s like visiting an old friend.

The gift of a good book is a true treasure. As the nights close in sooner and the candles are lit earlier, reading a book with a cup of tea by my side is one of my favourite past times.

{Image Tatsuro Kiuchi HERE // Pinned HERE}

The Written Word Endures #11

The Master Hand looked at the jewel that glittered on Ged’s palm, bright as the prize of a dragon’s hoard. The Old Master murmured one word, ‘Tolk,’ and there lay the pebble, no jewel but a rough grey bit of rock. The Master took it and held it out on his own hand. ‘This is a rock; tolk in the True Speech,’ he said, looking mildly up at Ged now. ‘A bit of the stone of which Roke Isle is made, a little bit of the dry land on which men live. It is itself. It is part of the world. By the Illusion-Change you can make it look like a diamond – or a flower or a fly or an eye or a flame -‘ The rock flickered from shape to shape as he named them, and returned to rock. ‘But that is mere seeming. Illusion fools the beholder’s senses; it makes him see and hear and feel that the thing is changed. But it does not change the thing. To change this rock into a jewel, you must change its true name. And to do that, my son, even to so small a scrap of the world, is to change the world. It can be done. Indeed it can be done. It is the art of the Master Changer, and you will learn it, when you are ready to learn it. But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on the act. The world is in balance, in Equilibrium. A wizard’s power of Changing and Summoning can shake the balance of the world. It is dangerous, that power. It is most perilous. It must follow knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow…’

-Ursula K. Le Guin, Earthsea, The First Four Books, A Wizard of Earthsea

The Written Word Endures #10

‘Now,” said Georg, snapping me out of my thoughts, ‘there is one further thing that your father has left you, and I must ask you all to come with me. Please, this way.’

We followed Georg, uncertain of where he was taking us, as he led us around the side of the house and across the grounds until we eventually reached Pa Salt’s hidden garden, tucked away behind a line of immaculately clipped yew hedges. We were greeted by a burst of colour from the lavender, lovage and marigolds that always attracted butterflies in the summer. Pa’s favourite bench sat underneath a bower of white roses, and tonight they hung lazily down over where he should have been sitting. He had loved to watch us girls play on the little shingle beach that led from the garden to the lake when we were younger, me clumsily attempting to paddle the small green canoe he had given me for my sixth birthday.

‘This is what I wish to show you, ‘ said Georg, once again pulling me out of my reverie as he pointed to the centre of the terrace. A striking sculpture had appeared there, resting on a stone plinth about as high as my hip, and we all gathered round to have a closer look. A golden ball shot through by a thin metal arrow sat amidst a cluster of metal bands that wound intricately around it. As I noticed the outline of the continents and oceans delicately engraved on the encased golden ball, I realised it was a globe and that the arrowhead was pointing straight to where the North Star would be. A larger metal band looped around the globe’s equator, engraved with the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. It looked like some kind of ancient navigational tool, but what did Pa mean by it?

‘It’s an armillary sphere, ‘ Georg stated, for the benefit of all of us. He then explained that armillary spheres had existed for thousands of years and that the ancient Greeks had originally used them to determine the positions of the stars, as well as the time of day.

Understanding its use now, I took in the sheer brilliance of the ancient design. We breathed words of admiration, but it was Electra who cut in impatiently, ‘Yes, but what does it have to do with us?’

‘It isn’t part of my remit to explain that,’ said Georg apologetically. ‘Although, if you look closely, you’ll see that all of your names appear on the bands I pointed out just now.’

And there they were, the script defined and elegant on the metal. ‘Here’s yours, Maia.’ I pointed to it. ‘It has numbers after it, which look to me like a set of coordinates,’ I said, turning to my own and studying them. ‘Yes, I’m sure that’s what they are.’

There were further inscriptions beside the coordinates and it was Maia who realised that they were written in Greek, commenting that she would translate them later.

‘Okay, so this is a very nice sculpture and it’s sitting on the terrace,’ CeCe’s patience was wearing thin. ‘But what does it actually mean?’ she asked.

‘Once again, that is not for me to say,’ said Georg. ‘Now, Marina is pouring some champagne on the main terrace, as per your father’s instructions. He wanted all of you to toast his passing. And then after that, I will give you each an envelope from him, which I hope will explain far more than I am able to you.’

Mulling over the possible locations of the coordinates, I walked back to the terrace with the others. We were all muted, trying to take in what our legacy from our father meant. As Ma poured us each a flute of champagne, I wondered how much of this evening’s activities she had already known about, but her face was impassive.

Georg raised his glass in a toast. ‘Please join me in celebrating your father’s remarkable life. I can only tell you that this was the funeral he wished for: all his girls gathered together at Atlantis, the home he was honoured to share with you for all these years.’

“To Pa Salt,’ we said together, raising our glasses.

– Lucinda Riley, The Storm Sister

*I’m starting the third book in the Seven Sisters Series today and so far the previous books have been engrossing, enthralling, enchanting and I adore the mythological currents that run through them as they relate to the Pleiades. I have heartily devoured these books and this complex and fascinating series that Lucinda Riley has created. She has woven a spell-binding tale of love, magic, mystery and intrigue and I can’t put them down!

The Written Word Endures #9

“We’re here.”

In an explosion of cheers and yelps, the car doors flung open as Palmer and Cara leaped out and ran like wild Indians across the dunes to the beach beyond. Lovie laughed and placed a hand to her heart as memories played in her mind. That was just what she and her older brother, Mickey, used to do. Now, years later, her children loved it here as much as she did. She pulled herself from the car and set her hands on her hips, lifting her face toward her house.

Primose Cottage was perched high on a dune overlooking the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic. It was the same pale yellow color as the primroses that grew wild on the dunes. With its blue shutters and doors, it looked like another of the wildflowers that surrounded it — purple petunias, sassy Indian blankets, and the lemon yellow primroses for which the cottage had been named. She lifted her hand over her eyes like a visor and searched for signs of wear and tear. The prevailing salt winds and the long winters were harsh on a house. A bit more paint was peeling, sand was thick on the stairs and porches, and there was yard work to be done, but all in all, the little house had survived another winter.

She felt the warmth of the sun as she pulled heavy brown bags of groceries from the car. It was just like the children to run off when she could use their help, she thought with a wry grin… Pushing open the the wood door, she was met by a wall of blistering heat and stale air in the closed-up house… Sweat beaded as she hurried to the large patio doors, unlocked them, and pushed them wide open… She was home at last! Home on the Isle of Palms.

In a burst of enthusiasm, Lovie felt the young girl hiding deep within her spring to life. Chores could wait. Unpacking the rest of the car could wait. Cleaning and dusting could wait. At this precious moment in time, her children were out on the beach, playing in the sun. This, she knew, could not wait.

Lovie almost skipped to the linen closet to pull out three thick terry cloth towels. She didn’t usually use her better towels for the beach, but sometimes one just had to break the rules. She tossed the towels in an empty grocery bag, grabbed her floppy purple hat, and hurried out the door.

Her heels dug deep into the soft sand as she raced along the narrow beach path…Immediately she spotted her children cavorting in the surf like shorebirds — Palmer a shorter, pale-chested sanderling, her dear “peep”, running on thin legs, dodging waves. Cara a sleek, slate-black hooded gull, raucously calling and laughing with joy.

Joy… It filled Lovie’s heart as she sprinted toward her children. She paused only to slip out of her shorts and tug her T-shirt from her body to toss on the sand. Her simple black maillot folded to her woman’s body, but she felt ageless as she raced to the waves. With a cry, she leaped into the water, splashing and surprising her children, who whopped in excitement at her arrival. She heard their calls — “Mama! Mama!” — as birdsong before she dove under the oncoming wave. The water was startlingly chilly yet refreshing.

Stroking beneath the water, she felt all the accumulated dust of the city wash away. Lovie kicked her legs, pushed with her arms, and burst to the surface. Gasping for air, tasting salt, she felt the warmth of the sun on her face.

– Mary Alice Monroe, Beach House Memories

* It certainly feels like summer around these parts. I’m on my third book in one week! We’re devouring books whole around here! My Mom introduced me to Mary Alice Monroe many moons ago, when she gave me a copy of The Beach House. The sequel to this book is just as moving and for anyone who grew up in or around the Lowcountry it certainly speaks to your Southern heart. I was left in pieces after this book. It was eloquently written. And as sea turtles have been a cause near and dear to my heart since I was a child, this book in particular is very special.


Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Now this looks like a woman you could pull up a chair next to, pour a glass of lemonade and just sit back to listen to all the delicious stories she could tell.

One of my favourite stocking stuffers this year was a gift from my Mom. It came in the form of a paperback book. It was this year’s edition of the The Old Farmer’s Almanac. I LOVE the Almanac. I find it a fascinating piece of living history and I can’t wait to read whatever tidbit they have listed for the current date.

As I flipped the pages open, on this frosty morning, to the month of February, I saw that today in 1867, Laura Ingalls Wilder was born. I was a big fan of the Little House books growing up. I dreamed of living in a little cabin in the woods, driving in the covered wagon to the store where I could get a peppermint stick and helping Ma bake bread in our little home. I wanted a prairie bonnet so badly, so I could look like her. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing, conjured up a lot for my imagination and I have always adored Garth Williams’ illustrations. There is something so very comforting about his work. He was the illustrator for some of my most beloved childhood stories.

I was also a big fan of the TV show and used to watch it over my bowl of cereal in the morning. Who didn’t want to be “Half-Pint”?

I love the cowboy hats they are wearing in this photograph of Laura and her husband Almanzo. Don’t you just know that Anne Shirley would be going crazy for those puffed sleeves!

I know that her stories were embellished, that not everything was at it appears and some people are hung up on that. But that is the mark of a good storyteller, these weren’t true biographies, they were her stories and they filled my head with all kinds of wonderful things.

She is a woman I would have been intrigued to meet. She was a true pioneer woman, a lady of great endurance and a woman of strong faith. Happy Birthday Laura Ingalls Wilder, you little prairie girl.

{Photograph of Laura in her rocking chair found HERE // Photograph of Laura and Almanzo Wilder found HERE}


Snacks & Library Books


After a morning trip to the library we returned with a stack of books to read. I love the sound that the plastic book cover makes as you open the book and begin to turn the pages.

We sat down together. A nest of curly hair rested just under my chin and soft little hands pointed out the objects as we read a Halloween I Spy Book and feasted on pumpkin sugar cookies as an afternoon treat.

The sunshine was streaming in the windows. One of the dogs was laying on my feet and all was well with the world.

A Birthday Surprise!

Jennifer Michie Birthday Surprise

It rained during my walk this morning and I came home drenched! Feeling cold and miserable, I headed up to take a shower and while washing my hair, I heard a loud thump!

When I came downstairs, I saw a pile of mail and a thin cardboard package the postman had shoved through my letterbox and what was inside? Well a birthday gift from one of my dearest girlfriends! She had sent me Susan Branch’s new BOOK!

I hurried into the kitchen, to get the kettle going. I made myself a cup of tea, cut a slice of birthday cake, lit my candles and in the dimness of the morning started to flip through the book. I know it’s cheating to look before you read, but I just couldn’t help myself!

What a lovely surprise and a wonderful way to start the weekend!

The Written Word Endures #2

I Always Loved You Book Cover

But she had kept these letters, as he had kept hers, though what they had been thinking, she couldn’t imagine. Such recklessness. Private conversations should always remain private. Why should anyone know what they themselves had barely known? And even if something had once been committed to paper, did it mean that it was still true? Always true? Unlike the relative permanence of paint, words were temporal. You uttered them and they evanesced, but if you wrote them, they remained, though whether the written word was any more truthful than the spoken was a mystery to her. Only paint was honest. But even a painting could be wiped clean and refined. He was forever revising, stealing his paintings back to rework them, everything always unfinished with him.

– Robin Oliveira, I Always Loved You

{I’m not finished reading this book just yet, but I’m really enjoying it, I just couldn’t wait to share a small snippet!}