Archive for the ‘Blogger Book Love’ Category

Blogger Book Love: Stephanie from Even Cleveland

February 11, 2009

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I’ve had this installment of Blogger Book Love stored away in my back pocket for a little while. It’s so delightful that I’ve been lingering over it, hoarding it all to myself, but I can deprive you no more. Let me just say that Stephanie from Even Cleveland has smashing taste in everything, and books are no exception. Her theme driven posts are a perfect mix of style, culture, music, movies and more. Stephanie really is one of those unique individuals who finds magical connections all around her, and her blog is a delicious peek into the workings of her brilliant mind. If you’ve never visited Even Cleveland, head over ASAP! But first read some of Stephanie’s book picks:

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It’s hard to pick five…I had to pick a theme and stick to it, because I read like crazy, and read all kinds of things…and usually I am madly in love with whatever I’m reading at that very moment. But I like to read fat, meaty novels in the cold winter weather, so here’s four of those with some astringent essays as a chaser:

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The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott:This is a series of four interconnected novels set at the end of the British Raj, culminating in the partition of India and Pakistan. It takes E.M. Forster’s plot from A Passage to India and explodes it into a dense, richly colored panoramic view of all the crumbling, stubborn layers of intertwined Anglo-Indian society, with small events as axis points. As I was nearing the end of the second book, I got in my car and drove to the bookstore to buy the last two volumes so that I could keep reading without a stop, and spent the rest of the week immersed. Then, two days after I finished the whole thing, I had this massive revelation about the structure of the whole series that left me reeling. It is brilliant.

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Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad: Conrad’s vision of the terrible cost and hypocrisy of idealism and the easy slide to corruption is riveting reading, and his descriptions of the end game of radicalism is eerily prescient. It’s almost as if he foreshadows all the terrible things to come in the Russian revolution. I can never believe that English wasn’t his first language – he is a writing master.

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The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: One of the most perfect novels I have ever read. It describes the lives of intellectuals imprisoned and exploited in the Russian Gulag but the central issue is humanity – what it is to be human, and how we fail and succeed in remaining so in intolerable circumstances. The last image is unforgettable. (And if you read it back-to-back with Under Western Eyes, it’s almost a bookending of early Twentieth-century Russian history.)

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Middlemarch by George Eliot: I have a dear friend who insists that I will never fully grasp Middlemarch until I am at least forty – that you need a certain amount of time in the world to fully absorb what George Eliot is saying. I say read it anyway, then read it again, because it’s not easy (despite what you may think from Masterpiece Theater adaptations and its inclusion on endless syllabi) and it is endlessly worthwhile. George Eliot is so ferociously bright that you have to have all of your wits about you at all times. You can’t read this half-heartedly, and it will gut you in the end. I don’t think anyone has ever written anything better or sadder about the peril of misguided ambition and self-delusion. Emma Bovary is flashier, but Dorothea’s tragedy is the one many of us live.

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The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf: I just read this last fall for the first time, and am already revisiting bits and pieces. I consider myself a common reader – one who ‘reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others.’ Virginia Woolf was clearly an uncommon reader, and reading these essays on different authors is like getting to sit at her fireside and listen to her discuss her latest read. It’s always thought-provoking, sometimes illuminating, occasionally humorous, consistently inspiring and it makes me want to read like mad.
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Thanks to Stephanie for these terrific recommendations and descriptions–I’ve been on an Indian literature kick and I’m for sure starting up on The Raj Quartet as soon as I finish The Namesake. And thinking of Middlemarch takes me back to the summer I spent studying literature at Oxford…oh to be a student again! While I daydream a little more, be sure to check out previous installments of Blogger Book Love for more of your favourite bloggers and their best-loved books!

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Blogger Book Love: Abbey from Abbey Goes Design Scouting

January 25, 2009

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Happy Monday everyone! I thought we’d kick of the week with another edition of Blogger Book Love. Today we have an amazing list of favourites from Abbey at Abbey Goes Design Scouting. Abbey’s expertise is so versatile—she’s studying for her Masters in Design History, she runs a vintage shop, she designs the sweetest paper goods, plus she’s soon to be a mom!—and her beautiful blog really reflects the depth and breadth of her diverse passions. Abbey Goes Design Scouting is a delicious feast for the eyes and the mind, so it comes as no surprise that Abbey’s book list is one of style and substance. Without further ado, I give you:

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The Amateur Naturalist, by Gerald Durrell. I grew up in the countryside of Vermont and spent most of my time outside which as a urban adult I find increasingly hard to believe. This is a beautifully illustrated guide to exploring the outdoors. The book mixes practical tips (such as what to pack in a naturalist’s daypack or how to take plaster casts of animal tracks) with detailed information about a wide variety of habitats (grasslands, desert, tundra, deciduous woodlands, mountain, ponds, streams, wetlands, shores, oceans and more).

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The Flowering of American Folk Art 1776-1876 by Jean Lipman. This overview of American Folk Art was my first introduction to design as a child and it is packed with inspiration and creativity that I return to again and again. Indirectly, I think this is one of the reasons I ended up getting a Master’s in the History of Design. A lesson to parents everywhere: the books you read your children do have profound effects!

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The Wild Trees by Richard Preston. This non-fiction book details the awe-inspiring ecosystem of Redwood trees and the modern-day explorers who first realized the world that existed in the tops of these majestic giant trees. This books sounds like a snooze as I type this, but Preston is a superb non-fiction writer and this reads quickly and will absorb you completely. PS If you like Preston’s style, you’ll love his scientific non-fiction.

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Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez. I just finished this autobiography about an American hairdresser who moves to Kabul to start teaching women there how to be hairdressers (a way to help the economy and the women themselves). The book provides insight into the mostly closed world of Afghan women and the trials and triumphs of living in what amounts to a war zone.

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The Good Son by Craig Nova. This novel, written by my father, is one of my favorite novels. It chronicles a family through the second world war and is both funny and wise about love and life. He is at work on a sequel to this novel which I can’t wait to read.

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I’ve also read and enjoyed just about everything written by Graham Green, Robin McKinley and Henning Mankell.”

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As usual I am humbled by a list of books that I not only haven’t read, but that I haven’t even heard of. I love Abbey’s thoughts on how our childhood experiences influence what we read today–hello American Girl and my historical fiction obsession! And as a total needlepoint nerd, I’ve got to get my hands on that folk art book. I’m so grateful to Abbey for sharing her favourite reads. If you’re just joining us, be sure to catch up on the rest of our Blogger Book Love series!


Blogger Book Love: Vicki from French Essence

January 11, 2009

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At long last, we’re back with more Blogger Book Love! I’m so pleased to present five favourite books from Vicki of French Essence. Vicki describes her blog as being about “interiors, fashion, and all things French”. But French Essence is also much more. Vicki’s posts are like letters from your cooler, wiser older sister—the one who left home to search for grand adventure and who finds it at every turn. Not only that, but Vicki is an author in her own right; her book ‘My French Life‘ details her move to France from Australia and is a lush and vivid tribute to her adopted home. I always love to know what books authors read; it’s like having an inside edge. So without further ado, I give you Vicki’s picks…

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“Only five …then these books must be five that are really, truly, madly and deeply book love. They must be books that can be read time and time again with characters that become part of your world. They must be books that make you laugh, that make you cry and that make you dread the last page. But most of all they are books to cherish and to share with friends, so I choose:

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: My absolute all time favourite tale of revenge, romance and adventure. Edmond Dantes is framed as a Napoleonic conspirator and plans his return to glory in the disguise of the enigmatic Count of Monte Cristo. From the backstreets of Marseille to the suburbs of Paris this saga is one I have read over and over and it never disappoints.

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Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk: This novel published in 1955 is about a young Jewish girl, Marjorie Morgenstern, growing up in New York in the 1930’s and her desire to become an actress. She lands the lead role in her school play and that consolidates a friendship with Marsha Zelenko; together they take jobs in a summer camp. Wouk poignantly writes Marjorie’s coming of age and her grand ‘amour’ with Noel Airman, the composer who alters the course of her life.

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Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: First published in 1891 this is one of Hardy’s greatest novels and is the heartbreaking story of Tess Durbeyfield and her sufferings at the hands of the men who both abuse her and love her. It is Hardy’s brooding descriptions of nature that make this novel such an emotional read.

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: This romantic drama is the tale of Scarlett O’ Hara, a plantation owner’s daughter, set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. One of the most popular novels ever written and one that I re-read every two years – even if it is just to re-acquaint myself with the dashing Rhett Butler and the long suffering Ashley Wilkes.

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Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M.Barrie: This children’s tale is about a magical boy who can fly and never grows up. Who can resist Peter’s imaginary world of Neverland with Tinkerbell, Captain Cook and Smee or his real world in Kensington Gardens with Wendy, John and Michael Darling? Not me.
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Thanks to Vicki for sharing her picks! I must admit to having read none of them; however I’ve read other works by Dumas and Hardy and they utterly captivated me. If you’re just joining us for Blogger Book Love be sure to check out previous installments, and as usual stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!

Top Image Credit: David Loftus

Blogger Book Love: Lynne at Tea for Joy

December 17, 2008

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Phew! I made it across the country in once piece, and while I catch my breath I thought I’d share with you another installment of Blogger Book Love. This one comes to us from Lynne of Tea for Joy —and the way Lynne describes her favourite books makes me want to run to the library and snag a copy of each one! But of course if you’re familiar with Lynne’s blog, you know how spot-on her taste is. She constantly delights us with her fabulous Etsy finds, simply stunning interiors, and the occasional tasty recipe. So it’s no surprise that her book list is equally lovely…

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What is the What? by Dave Eggers. I saw Dave Eggers interview Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of this book, at the ICA in London, and their mutual affection really showed. This is a semi-fictional account of Deng’s harrowing childhood as a ‘Lost Boy’ in Sudan, and his eventual emigration to the United States – where the promised land is far from everything he expects. I liked his earlier books too, but this one is simply remarkable, if a little slow in parts. Its lyricism and series of events had me in tears all over the place.

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A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. This is the most amazing book I have ever read. Set in India, this is another massive tome of a book, almost 600 pages long. It took me a while to get into it, but then I couldn’t put it down. I was so traumatised by this book that I will never read it again. If you only read one novel in your life, I think this must be it. It will change you, I promise.

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An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan – it has been a long time since I read this account of hostage Brian Keenan’s stay in Beirut as a hostage, but it’s still on my list. I have just checked it on Amazon, where 26 out of 29 people gave it a 5 star review, and one describes it as the ‘greatest non-fiction book ever written.’ I don’t think that is an exaggeration – this man is a poet.

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Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell. This may not stay on my favourites for ever, but I already know I will read everything he ever writes. This book challenges my Christian faith to be something different. Some might find the anecdotes of his perfect family a little too hard to stomach (something I struggle with a little in the blogosphere – is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a perfect husband and a perfect life?) Still, I am a total sucker for sentimentality. I love this book for this paragraph alone, where he talks about jumping on a trampoline with his boys.

“When we’re too exhausted to jump anymore, we’ll lie down on the mat and stare up at the vast blue sky above us and watch the clouds go by and listen to the breeze as it moves the leaves overhead. I’ll be there on my back, and I’ll say a short prayer: “God, I can’t believe I get to live this life.”

I’m desperate to trap some friends into forming a Velvet Elvis discussion group.

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Moonfleet by J Meade Faulkner. A childhood tale of diamond smuggling and childhood romance, full of suspense and intrigue. There is a paragraph at the end, where the character is reunited with a childhood friend, which made me sob uncontrollably the last time I read it (as an adult – how did my childhood self cope?) There have been at least two men in my life who I thought were perfect for me, because they had had significant encounters with this book (I was wrong). Has anyone else had that experience with a book? Still, if there is one thing I can say for certain, it is that if any man ever takes me to The Wash, in Dorset, where this book is set, I will be his for life.

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P.S. Please can I have one more? Lest you think every book I read needs to bring me to tears, can I just say that I LOVE, almost more than anything, every single book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series (by Alexander McCall Smith.) They are the happiest books I have ever read.

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Thanks so much to Lynne for sharing her must-reads with us. I can’t wait to give some of these a go–and I’m all up for a discussion group once I read Velvet Elvis…If you’re just tuning in be sure to check out previous installments here, and stay tuned for holiday goodness post later today!

Blogger Book Love: Lynne at Tea for Joy

December 17, 2008

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Phew! I made it across the country in once piece, and while I catch my breath I thought I’d share with you another installment of Blogger Book Love. This one comes to us from Lynne of Tea for Joy —and the way Lynne describes her favourite books makes me want to run to the library and snag a copy of each one! But of course if you’re familiar with Lynne’s blog, you know how spot-on her taste is. She constantly delights us with her fabulous Etsy finds, simply stunning interiors, and the occasional tasty recipe. So it’s no surprise that her book list is equally lovely…

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What is the What? by Dave Eggers. I saw Dave Eggers interview Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of this book, at the ICA in London, and their mutual affection really showed. This is a semi-fictional account of Deng’s harrowing childhood as a ‘Lost Boy’ in Sudan, and his eventual emigration to the United States – where the promised land is far from everything he expects. I liked his earlier books too, but this one is simply remarkable, if a little slow in parts. Its lyricism and series of events had me in tears all over the place.

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A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. This is the most amazing book I have ever read. Set in India, this is another massive tome of a book, almost 600 pages long. It took me a while to get into it, but then I couldn’t put it down. I was so traumatised by this book that I will never read it again. If you only read one novel in your life, I think this must be it. It will change you, I promise.

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An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan – it has been a long time since I read this account of hostage Brian Keenan’s stay in Beirut as a hostage, but it’s still on my list. I have just checked it on Amazon, where 26 out of 29 people gave it a 5 star review, and one describes it as the ‘greatest non-fiction book ever written.’ I don’t think that is an exaggeration – this man is a poet.

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Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell. This may not stay on my favourites for ever, but I already know I will read everything he ever writes. This book challenges my Christian faith to be something different. Some might find the anecdotes of his perfect family a little too hard to stomach (something I struggle with a little in the blogosphere – is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a perfect husband and a perfect life?) Still, I am a total sucker for sentimentality. I love this book for this paragraph alone, where he talks about jumping on a trampoline with his boys.

“When we’re too exhausted to jump anymore, we’ll lie down on the mat and stare up at the vast blue sky above us and watch the clouds go by and listen to the breeze as it moves the leaves overhead. I’ll be there on my back, and I’ll say a short prayer: “God, I can’t believe I get to live this life.”

I’m desperate to trap some friends into forming a Velvet Elvis discussion group.

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Moonfleet by J Meade Faulkner. A childhood tale of diamond smuggling and childhood romance, full of suspense and intrigue. There is a paragraph at the end, where the character is reunited with a childhood friend, which made me sob uncontrollably the last time I read it (as an adult – how did my childhood self cope?) There have been at least two men in my life who I thought were perfect for me, because they had had significant encounters with this book (I was wrong). Has anyone else had that experience with a book? Still, if there is one thing I can say for certain, it is that if any man ever takes me to The Wash, in Dorset, where this book is set, I will be his for life.

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P.S. Please can I have one more? Lest you think every book I read needs to bring me to tears, can I just say that I LOVE, almost more than anything, every single book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series (by Alexander McCall Smith.) They are the happiest books I have ever read.

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Thanks so much to Lynne for sharing her must-reads with us. I can’t wait to give some of these a go–and I’m all up for a discussion group once I read Velvet Elvis…If you’re just tuning in be sure to check out previous installments here, and stay tuned for holiday goodness post later today!

Blogger Book Love: Rebecca from Oh So RB

December 11, 2008

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It’s Friday, and what better way to celebrate than with another installment of Blogger Book Love? Today we are super lucky to have the recommendations of Rebecca from Oh So RB. When I asked Rebecca to contribute her thoughts to this series, I knew that she has great taste and a spot-on aesthetic sensibility. What I didn’t know is that when she’s not sharing her gorgeous wedding, craft and decor inspiration, she’s a literary scholar and a poet in her own right! So get out those Amazon wishlists everyone—we have an expert reader in our midst, and boy does she know her stuff!

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Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemons–Part memoir, part meditation, Doty’s book is about falling in love–with a painting, that is. If you have a special affection for the objects of the world, as many of us design bloggers do, this book is for you.

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Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies–I have never read short stories that moved me as Lahiri’s have. It would be so hard to pick a favorite but I’m a big fan of “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” and “This Blessed House.” Every sensory detail, every character–this is a book to cherish. When I’m looking for a gift for a friend, I reach for this book.

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Robert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal–Out of print and a classic, Sal is one of my very favorite children’s books. Inspired by the story, I still have my own little blueberry-picking bucket from when I was small. This story makes me so sentimental for those summer days I’ve spent in Maine….

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Elaine Scarry, Dreaming by the Book–Scarry is a brilliant writer. She weaves the most poetic theory on the page–a book to truly absorbed by. As a dedicated gardener, her descriptions of flowers are some of the finest I’ve read.

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John Ashbery, Selected Poems–Ashbery writes in his poem “Meaningful Love,” “I was offered no urgent dreaming,/didn’t need a name or anything./Everything was taken care of.” This is the beautiful irony of his poems: what at first appears cliche, common, ordinary–including love–is made sophisticated in Ashbery’s hand. His is some of my favorite music.

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Thanks so much to Rebecca from Oh So RB for her suggestions. What an amazing selection of books for the readers on your holiday gift list! I have such fond memories of ‘Blueberries for Sal’ and for McCloskey’s other works for children. And I’ve not read much Ashbery, but that which I remember is truly breathtaking. Looks like I’ve found my airport reading for the trip to visit the ‘rents!

Be sure to tune in later today for an especially sumptuous post that I’ve been saving to carry us into the weekend, and in the meantime catch up on our previous installments of Blogger Book Love.
And have a happy Friday!

Image Credit: Domino

Blogger Book Love: Rebecca from Oh So RB

December 11, 2008

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It’s Friday, and what better way to celebrate than with another installment of Blogger Book Love? Today we are super lucky to have the recommendations of Rebecca from Oh So RB. When I asked Rebecca to contribute her thoughts to this series, I knew that she has great taste and a spot-on aesthetic sensibility. What I didn’t know is that when she’s not sharing her gorgeous wedding, craft and decor inspiration, she’s a literary scholar and a poet in her own right! So get out those Amazon wishlists everyone—we have an expert reader in our midst, and boy does she know her stuff!

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Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemons–Part memoir, part meditation, Doty’s book is about falling in love–with a painting, that is. If you have a special affection for the objects of the world, as many of us design bloggers do, this book is for you.

200812112258.jpg

Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies–I have never read short stories that moved me as Lahiri’s have. It would be so hard to pick a favorite but I’m a big fan of “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” and “This Blessed House.” Every sensory detail, every character–this is a book to cherish. When I’m looking for a gift for a friend, I reach for this book.

200812112254.jpg

Robert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal–Out of print and a classic, Sal is one of my very favorite children’s books. Inspired by the story, I still have my own little blueberry-picking bucket from when I was small. This story makes me so sentimental for those summer days I’ve spent in Maine….

200812112256.jpg

Elaine Scarry, Dreaming by the Book–Scarry is a brilliant writer. She weaves the most poetic theory on the page–a book to truly absorbed by. As a dedicated gardener, her descriptions of flowers are some of the finest I’ve read.

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John Ashbery, Selected Poems–Ashbery writes in his poem “Meaningful Love,” “I was offered no urgent dreaming,/didn’t need a name or anything./Everything was taken care of.” This is the beautiful irony of his poems: what at first appears cliche, common, ordinary–including love–is made sophisticated in Ashbery’s hand. His is some of my favorite music.

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Thanks so much to Rebecca from Oh So RB for her suggestions. What an amazing selection of books for the readers on your holiday gift list! I have such fond memories of ‘Blueberries for Sal’ and for McCloskey’s other works for children. And I’ve not read much Ashbery, but that which I remember is truly breathtaking. Looks like I’ve found my airport reading for the trip to visit the ‘rents!

Be sure to tune in later today for an especially sumptuous post that I’ve been saving to carry us into the weekend, and in the meantime catch up on our previous installments of Blogger Book Love.
And have a happy Friday!

Image Credit: Domino

Blogger Book Love: Jen from Raising Granola

December 4, 2008

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Welcome to another installment of Blogger Book Love! Today we have with us Jen from Raising Granola. I’m certain that Jen and I were one person in a previous life…we simultaneously come up with the same ideas and her sense of humour cracks me up. Jen’s fabulous blog is a mix of everything: reflections on parenting in small town Oregon, ingenious DIY’s, and her adventures in redoing the long-neglected Victorian home she just bought with her husband (who is a woodworker and a drummer in an awesome band!) Without further ado, here are Jen’s must-reads:

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1. The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book by don Miguel Ruiz—My basketball coach and mentor gave me this book during a tough time in my basketball career. In case you were wondering, the Four Agreements are:

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. (Hmmm, does this mean I have to take the “Go Fug Yourself” link off my page…)

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. (This is a deep one)

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

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2. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers by Filip Muller—“Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.” (Proverbs 31.8) Filip Muller, who worked the ovens at Auschwitz, witnessed the exterminations and gassings of millions of Jews and lived to write one of the key documents of the Holocaust. Müller’s provides a first-hand account of the events behind the walls in the Auschwitz camps. Now, I realize that this selection is slightly morbid and not for everyone. However, I was a history major in college and the Holocaust was my area of expertise. This book is the most intensely horrifying item I have ever read. Beware because it is an exhausting read…you will be emotionally drained every time you pick it up.

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3. Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron—On a lighter note, this book is packed full of good tips for feeding, cleaning, and entertaining your kid. Though it can be a bit confusing at times, there are some great recipes and ideas. I highly recommend it for new parents!

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4. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy—I am a sucker for cowboys, horses, and corrupt Mexican police…check out Old Country for New Men as well.

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5. Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein—What a blast from the past! I can remember one of my teachers only reading one poem a day to us. We would die in suspense waiting for the next day! I have a feeling I will be reading a lot of his books to a certain someone when he gets old enough.

INVITATION
If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!
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Thanks so much to Jen for her book suggestions. Not only do these look like incredible reads, but they pretty much cover everyone on my Christmas gift list! For more book ideas check out previous installments in our series, and stay tuned for more great lists from more great bloggers!

Top Image Credit: Decorology

Blogger Book Love: Molly from My Favorite Things

November 21, 2008

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Yay! It's Friday! And what better way to celebrate than with another installment in our Blogger Book Love series? I'm so thrilled to bring you five favourite books from Molly from My Favorite Things! Molly's blog is a daily compendium of all that is blissful and beautiful in the world; from the best Etsy finds to the tastiest sweets, everything she shares is just spot-on awesome. When Molly and I first got in touch regarding the series, she told me, "I la la love to read!" So it's no surprise that her list of faves is a diverse and compelling selection of books. Without further ado, I bring you…

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These is My Words (Nancy Turner)—It
only took a few pages for this book to draw me in.  It is a
fictionalized diary of Sarah Prine, who begins her story at the age of
18.  She is uneducated and consequently, it shows in her writing [love
that aspect].  It is truth, hardship, love, and loss all tied together
for a deeply moving read.  I came away grateful for the ease in which I
live and grateful for those who have gone before.

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The Mother in Me (Kathryn Lynard Soper)This is a collection of writings.  As a young mom of two young
boys, it was quite nice to reflect and connect with their words.  It
gave me a gentle reminder that although I am not perfect, I am doing my
absolute best and learning along the way.  Motherhood is a mixture of
happiness, joy, craziness and exhaustion; all combined together.
 Although some days you have a bit more exhaustion thrown in there then
you would like.  It is nice to know I am not alone.

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The Last Lecture(Randy Pausch)—This book really made me take a look at my life and realize I make my
own happiness and dreams come true.  Even in the face of adversity
happiness can bloom and thrive.

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Domino : The Book of Decorating(Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, Dara Caponigro)—Every time I pick this up I want to switch things up in my house. Lovely, lovely book!

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Harry Potter(J.K. Rowling)—Yes, I'll admit it.  I jumped on the bandwagon and fell in love with Harry Potter.  Just couldn't help myself.
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Thanks so much to Molly for the recommendations. I'm especially intrigued by that first one—I've been a huge historical fiction buff since the days of my American Girl obsession…and I can sympathize with riding the Harry Potter bandwagon as the huz and I were fiftieth in line at Barnes and Noble NYC to get the final book in the series.

I hope everyone is enjoying Blogger Book Love! There's lots more in store for next week, and if you're just tuning in, catch up with our previous installments from Jo at A Cup of Jo, Becky from Harmony and Home, and Jora from Domestic Reflections!

Image Credits: 1. Gemma Comas 2. Banner courtesy of Molly at My Favorite Things

Blogger Book Love: Jo from A Cup of Jo

November 16, 2008

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Today I'm thrilled to bring you the incomparable Jo from A Cup of Jo in the third installment of our Blogger Book Love series. Jo has generously shared with us her list of five must-read books. She certainly requires no introduction—her personal blog and her Glamour blog Smitten are must-reads in and of themselves! And just like her blogs, Jo's booklist has a little bit of everything— romance and whimsy, humour and humanity, a touch of magic and a great eye for design—all wrapped within the warm embrace of Jo's radiant soul. And so I present to you:

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My Top Five Books…

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The History of Love by Nicole Krauss—This book about an old man
remembering his love affair was so heartbreakingly beautiful that I
underlined entire passages, in hopes that I'd never forget them. At one
point, I literally hugged the book as I read.

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Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie—This book is the prequel to the classic story of Peter Pan. We learn
how Peter Pan lost his mother when he was a baby and first came to
Neverland. The story is so sweet and magical that I believed in Peter
Pan (and truly thought he'd come to my window) until I was in my early
teens! I even made my mom call me "Wendy" (and call my twin sister
"John") when she kissed us good-night, just in case Peter was listening
outside the window.

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls—A fascinating, inspiring story of a rocky American childhood.

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The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman—Illustrations of a woman's whimsical life in New York.

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Penguin by Design: A Cover Story—The stunning covers of Penguin books from 1935 to
2005.

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I'm so grateful to Jo for this sneak peek onto her bookshelf. I couldn't resist featuring not only the booklist but all five beautiful covers as well; I love a great read that's also pretty to look at. In fact I'm embarrased to say that I bought 'A History of Love' last year, but I haven't read it because it's a key component of the tablescape in my living room…I think it's time it served its true purpose, though 😉

Stay tuned for more Blogger Book Love later this week, and in the meantime check out our first list from Jora at Domestic Reflections and our second list from Becky at Harmony and Home!

Image Credits: 1. Sandbox Studio 2. Banner Courtesy of Jo at A Cup of Jo