Okay, this is kind of a girl thing (sorry guys)...but it does fit into my whole theme of everything "book" related. Being a girly girl and loving my nail polish...but also being a bibliophile extraordinaire, I found a tumblr that combines both loves. All you gals out there that are like minded...check this one out.
Jepp left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakable fate. He manages to escape from the palace, but is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Spirited across Europe in a kidnapper’s carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars may lead him. But he can't even begin to imagine the brilliant and eccentric new master—a man devoted to uncovering the secrets of the stars—who awaits him. Or the girl who will help him mend his heart and unearth the long-buried secrets of his past.
This is a young adult historical novel written from a dwarf's perspective, which I found extremely interesting and engaging. The author managed to keep her characters entirely in their time period, with no modernity creeping in. And, there is real history incorporated into her fiction, which she tells us all about in an Author's note at the back of the book.
The real Jepp served the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe as his dwarf jester. Diego Velazquez (a 17th century painter) did several portraits of court dwarfs like the one depicted below.
Court Dwarf Don Antonio el Ingles
There is a long history of dwarfs serving royal courts around the world. Some held positions of power or prestige, but many more were collected as status symbols, mocked, and treated cruelly. The indignities that Jepp and his fellow dwarfs suffer are not, sadly, fictional--but a composite of actual accounts from Renaissance-era European courts.
I'm taking an astronomy class right now, where I learned about Tycho Brahe--a most interesting fellow--so, I especially loved reading Marsh's characterization of him. Born into a powerful family of Danish nobles, Tycho developed a passion for astronomy--and its sister art of astrology. When King Frederick awarded Tycho the island of Hven in the Oresund Strait to build an observatory, Uraniborg (or the Castle of the Heavens) was created. In this castle was running water (including an indoor fountain); state-of-the-art astronomical equipment (some of which Brahe designed); a system of pulleys and bells that could summon servants and scholars; exotic gardens; and so much more. Tycho entertained himself and his staff with lavish banquets and actually had a beer-drinking pet moose (which is introduced in Marsh's book).
But the real star in this book is the self-deprecating voice of Jepp, who was a witness to the emerging world of science and astronomy, and was trying to find out who he was in the process--whether his fate was truly subject to the stars or perhaps subject to his own manipulation of destiny. And where does love fall in this equation? You really must read Marsh's book--a magical tale of an unusual hero and his extraordinary quest to become the master of his own destiny.
This charming book set in Alaska in 1920 is the first novel by this author--though the wonderfully descriptive language was so rich, it was hard for me to believe that this was her first book. However, she was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper. So, she knows her stuff!
Jack and Mabel, two homesteaders who are childless and drifting apart from the loneliness and weight of the work this environment entails just for survival, in a moment of levity after the season's first snowfall build a child out of snow. The next morning, it is gone--but they find a young, blonde-haired girl who calls herself Faina. She seems very comfortable and at home in the woods. A real child of nature. Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child--who really could have stepped out of the pages of a fairy tale--and they soon grow to love her. Who is this child? Where does she come from? Is she real, or produced from the imagination of two lonely childless people in the middle of a harsh and unyielding landscape?
I won't give away any of the book's plot here, but the thing that permeates this book from start to finish are the lovely descriptions of the harsh magical environment of Alaska--the spartan setting, the desperate struggle for existence, the river ice, pine boughs, mountain herbs, the smell of wet wool and blood, and the snow...always the snow. You truly feel like you are right there experiencing everything this couple does.
I enjoyed this book very much, despite the fact that it is not really plot driven with the usual conflicts and tensions. What it is though, is a large dose of magical realism wrapped up in a beautifully rendered story that is emotional and thought provoking.
Good books. Good times. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good beginnings. Good ends. Good people. Good friends. Good fiction. Good facts. Good adventures. Good acts. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good books. Good times.
Yeah, Reading is Sexy
A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
River of Earth by James Still
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
The Stand by Stephen King
This quote from Eudora Welty captures perfectly how I feel about books and reading
"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Get Caught Reading
Want to find time to read? Fall in book love. Seek out the books that fire your passions. Follow your intellect and your heart. Then time will find you. ...Steve Leveen
Stop thinking this is all there is...
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.
Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.
Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious...there's your opening!
And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
...Mark Morford, Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor
CONAN THE LIBRARIAN
I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older, I find I'm increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision...Barbara Kingsolver
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill...Barbara Techman (Writer)
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul...Samuel Ullman
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order...John Adams, 2nd President of the U.S.
Every page allows me to live in the main character's thoughts and marvel at how all of us who grew up poor and female are bonded, regardless of where we were raised or who raised us. I not only feel I know this person, but I also recognize more of myself. That's just one of the great joys of reading. Insight, escape, information, knowledge, power. All that and more can come through a good book...If you're going to binge, literature is definitely the way to do it...Oprah Winfrey
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
Asking a Librarian her favorite book is like asking a Mother her favorite child
So you want to become a librarian? Welcome to a vibrant and exciting profession. Click here.
The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind, is yours forever...Louis Lamour
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.Just get people to stop reading them. ..... Ray Bradbury
I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN
Do yourself a favor and read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, Smoke & Mirrors, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask, or Good Omens
Love the Fantasy/SciFi genre
Many good authors to try, John Scalzi is one of the newer ones
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, interesting...Aldous Huxley
The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent read!
I was an adult before I read these books...how sad...
BOOKS: The Other Channel
My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry. — Books in My Life Robert DOWNS (1903- )
A room without books is like a body without a soul. .....Marcus T. Cicero
To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ......Gaston Bachelard
The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. — Cosmos Carl SAGAN
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 Norman COUSINS (1915- )