Valentine’s Day for Book Lovers

We’ve never been the couple to celebrate Valentines Day, but for some reason, I love making these ‘wish lists’. So, if you’re looking for gift ideas for the book-lover in your life here are a few that have made it to the top of my ‘wish list’!

These enamel pins by Book Riot! There are some wonderful Edgar Allan Poe ones, but I found this set particularly endearing.

Janemount on Etsy has a beautiful collection of bookish pins too (including a seven Harry Potter ones!).

When I was in Omaha to see Stephen King speak I finally found a store that sold Frostbeard candles. I’ve been curious if they smell as good as it sounds like they do, and the answer is in the affirmative. They are divine and there are so many unique scents to choose from. This is one of my favorites!

I’ve seen the picture of stair treads painted with books spines floating around Pinterest for ages now. We all have, it’s a popular one. It’s one of those DIY’s I’ve always wanted to try out, but the amount of time it would take to piece it all together always forces that project to the back burner. Horse Feather Decals on Etsy has solved that problem though. This is such a unique gift idea!

The Ohlala sells these dreamy literary scarves! I’ll take one of each, please!

Heath and Harebell knows the way to every book-lover’s heart; literary chocolate for the win!

 

 

Timing is everything

My life is riddled with coincidences, signs, and nudges. Every other day I find myself exclaiming, “Isn’t it weird how that worked out!?”. My husband just gives me the same look, it’s a look he has customized specifically for situations like this as they happen so frequently. After ten years together, I can confidently say he’s not as firm a believer in ‘signs’ as I am. Nonetheless, these little nudges I’m given, sometimes daily, are now so frequent, every so often I’m able to turn him into a believer.

I’ve always had the attitude that if I just work my butt off for something and really, really want it, I can make it happen. Call me naive,  but it’s working for me, so let’s just roll with it.

Case in point, National Geographic. I’ve been talking about getting published in National Geographic since I was approximately three years old (and no, it still hasn’t happened, but I’m working on it!). This dream is what is fueling me through the long hours of studying, reading, and writing, as I work toward an MA in Anthropology.

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with the professor who I’ve always hoped would supervise my MA. We talked about the Amazon and travelling there to do fieldwork. We discussed thesis questions and started to formulate a game plan for this dream of mine. I came home that night, a little overwhelmed with what it all meant – travelling to the jungle, learning Portuguese and relearning Spanish (why didn’t I continue with it the first time!?!), and a whole lot of competition in a heavily researched field of study. For a few fleeting moments, I started to consider alternate options. I considered doing fieldwork closer to home, taking the easier route on this journey. And road which would undeniably be filled with less anacondas and panthers, but one which would also make me less desirable to that light at the end of the tunnel, National Geographic. I’ve never taken the easy route, but I was so tired and easy was appealing.

A few short hours of sleep later and I was heading out for another day at the University. As is my ritual, I stopped at our local Esso to fill up and grab coffee. While there, my dear friend Randy, told me he had a story for me. He told me his wife was in town shopping and came home with a beautiful coffee table book filled with images by National Geographic photographers. He told her he knew someone who would like a copy so she drove all the way back into the city and bought me a copy! That right there was another one of those signs. National Geographic slapping me in the face and Randy reminding me why I was doing what I was doing. He told me that one day, one of my photos will be in there and I told him that when that day came, I would bring him a copy of the book. I thanked him profusely, but I honestly don’t think they will every know just how much that book means to me.

I cleared a spot on my bookshelf next to my desk where it is sitting on display. I have it there to remind me every single day exactly what I’m fighting for and the dream I’ve been working toward for my entire life. Randy and Myrna, I honestly can’t thank you enough for giving me that nudge at the moment when I needed it most. It truly means the world to me.

Book Review : The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

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Book : The Poisonwood Bible – 543 pps

Author : Barbara Kingsolver

Publisher : HarperCollins Publishers 1999

Amazon : The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

I have been putting this review off for weeks.  I have no idea why.  My notes have been sitting on my desk since I finished the novel and I have been meaning to write this but just… haven’t.  So now that it’s 3:23am and the fireplace that keeps my office warm won’t start (it’s a brisk 16C in here right now) and the wind is screaming outside my window (welcome to Spring in Saskatchewan) and I’ve decided it’s a darn good time to finally write this.

I absolutely adored this book, but I really struggled with this review.  I didn’t know how ‘deep’ I wanted to get with the religious aspects of it because, well, I’m not a particularly religious person.  And, while I have no problem commenting on how I interpreted it, I know there are many out there who know a heck of a lot more about Christianity than I do and I wasn’t sure I wanted to engage in that conversation with my less-than-excessive knowledge on the subject.  I will make one comment though.  This novel was confrontational and quite critical of Christianity, and that’s one of the main reasons I liked it.  I enjoyed the challenge it created.

The second reason I struggled with this review is that I know next to nothing about the Congo.  Specifically the Congo in 1959.  Which, just happens to be the main setting of 90% of this novel.

So instead of the glaringly obvious theme of religion and the ever-present setting of the Congo, I would like to mention the characters and the text itself.

“Believe this: the mistakes are part of the story.” – Adah

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This story is about the Price family.  They are a family of missionaries from Georgia, who volunteer their services in the Congo.  Their living situation changes drastically with their move and they quickly realize just how different their lives as missionaries will be.  Their story is told solely from the mouths of the five women of the family, mother, Orleanna, and daughters Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May. While reading, I was enjoying the novel so much that I was nearly three-quarters of the way through it before I realized there wasn’t a single chapter dictated from the perspective of the only male in the family, Nathan.

The prose throughout the novel was smooth and beautiful and each character’s voice was strong, distinct, and unique in their respective chapters.  While I grew to appreciate each girl and woman, I fell head-over-heels for Adah.  She describes herself as a “crooked little person, obsessed with balance.”  Between her physical disability and intellectual excellence she is one of the most eloquently written characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  There were bits of her that reminded me of my brother, and bits that reminded me of myself and together it just created a warmth and I couldn’t help but be hopelessly devoted to her.

I already know this is a novel I will return to many times.  It is one that I will read again and take away a little bit more each time.  So, even though I have no educated response to the religious tone of this novel, and can’t comment on the going ons of the 1959 Congo, I still highly recommend this novel.

“It is true I do not speak as well as I can think.  But this is true of most people, as nearly as I can tell.” – Adah