Archive for January 2021

The Saturday Book Shop – The Lost Spells

January 30, 2021

Just one exquisite little book today: The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris.

The simple majesty of this book gently opens your heart with quietly elegant poetry, rhyme, and riveting watercolors—an artful honoring of the natural world that is truly spellbinding in its sense of wonder.

I am admittedly writing this while still in the thrall of getting to stand in the glow of the recent Full Wolf Moon. Bathing in the moonbeams of the moment is akin to the celebration of language and devoted images attentively rendered here. I adore how the pages lift the spirit to the stars while keeping your feet firmly planted in the earth’s exceptional and softly soaring beauty and magic. An excerpt from the Introduction:

” … Loss is the tune of our age, hard to miss and hard to bear. Creatures, places and words disappear, day after day, year on year. But there has always been singing in dark times—and wonder is needed now more than ever. ‘To enchant’ means both to make magic and to sing out. So let these spells ring far and wide; speak their words and seek their art, let the wild world into your eyes, your voice, your heart.”

The Lost Spells is a “little sister” to 2017’s The Lost Words — another treasure by the same author and illustrator. There’s a delightful video interview with the author here (thanks to the fabulous Waterstones in London). In the video you can glimpse some of the amazing illustrations and hear select readings by Robert Macfarlane along with his thoughts and backstory in creating these inspiring works.

Thank you for visiting The Saturday Book Shop. So wonderful to get to share enthusiasms for books here (or in the comments if you wish).

AND A REMINDER OF OTHER WONDERFUL PLACES WHERE BOOKS ARE CELEBRATED

I am especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s new Onward book club as sources of sharing a wide wealth of writings and books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than a plea to support local independent booksellers whenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere!

Here’s to all the writers and artists and wonder-seekers who creatively lose themselves in the zone of conjuring natural-found joy and magic through their reverent gazes.

Monday Musings

January 25, 2021

Mixing up a vintage ARTChix mermaid image with layers of ink painted papers, and wisps of photos for a digi-collage ocean dreamscape to gently stir the imagination when it’s easy to feel a bit underwater these days. Wishing you waves of whimsy and wonder splashed throughout your week … 🧜‍♀️

The Saturday Book Shop – Trees, Glorious Trees

January 24, 2021

Welcome back to The Saturday Book Shop (which originally started here.).

The ongoing and everyday marvel of trees is on my mind this week. Books and trees. Trees and books. They are intertwined and connected at their very essence. We leaf through stories, ideas, adventures, wisdom, poetry, insights, and shared written human experiences thanks to pages made (mostly) from trees. 

I have long been enchanted by trees. And books. So many. Highly recommend these books for fellow tree lovers:

 This beautiful coffee table book, Wise Trees by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, with gorgeous photography and writing, tells tales of 50 of the most historic and inspiring trees around the world. Wonderful to learn there is a tree that still stands on the site where the Magna Carta was signed, as well as learning where the phrase “knock on wood” originally came from. So many moving, uplifting, and poignant stories told here through the living spirits of wise old trees.

Another favorite story, beautifully written and illustrated is about Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

Wangari Maathai’s story is an amazing portrait in courage, dedication, and commitment, where the simple act of planting trees sparked resistance and equal determination to reclaim the environment of her beloved Kenya. Her determination led to a movement of peace, reconciliation, and healing that lights the way for all of us going forward into this time of looking for common ground and changing the world one loving, earth-friendly tree-loving act at a time. This inspiring book soars with light and life and spectacular illustrations.

AND HOORAY for the new books soon available by Amanda Gorman, the young poet and self-described bookworm that wow-ed everyone at the Inauguration. Such heart and talent. Brava for her work and books that will be available in 2021


 

“… there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it; if only we’re brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman

 Happy Reading and have an especially lovely tree-appreciating week ahead! Please feel free to share any special favorite book titles about trees in the comments!

The Saturday Book Shop – Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2021

The enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his life’s work is celebrated in the United States this weekend. Seemed an apt moment to spotlight the last book he wrote, which is, sadly, still timely: Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? The issues addressed in his book echo deeply today, and point the way forward for fulfilling the dream of civil rights. For the important work of amplifying dignity. For increasing equal opportunity and equal justice under law. For protecting voting rights. For uplifting a living wage. For well being for all along the road ahead. For coming together in kindness and caring in everyday acts of service that matter even while isolating at home. (Thanks, CNN, for a great list of ways to serve, even from home, here.)

From the publisher’s overview:

“In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.”

There’s also a great list of 20 Martin Luther King Jr Books in Honor of MLK Day here.

Here’s honoring hearts and hands coming together as we move into a new chapter. And here’s a link for re-listening to Dr. King’s I Have A Dream” speech. Will be thinking of that dream during next week’s Inauguration, and cheering for President-elect Joe Biden, and for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the first woman and first woman of color to be inaugurated as Vice President of the United States of America.

Dr. King took us all to church. Thank God for his life and the blessing of his leadership. May America move forward in healing with all due speed, peacefully, and forever in gratitude of his light and determination and grace. Amen.

 

 

 

The Saturday Book Shop – How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

January 9, 2021

Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings by Rob Brezsny is a book that I gladly turn to in both joyous moments as well as crazy, horrible times like what transpired in Washington D.C. last week. This book is a gem whenever we need to catch our collective breath and pause to gather strength in fighting the good fight and renewing our focus on becoming a maestro of “rowdy bliss”, as Brezsny likes to say.

Brezsny’s writing helps re-gather a focus on beauty and truth, even in the midst of being witness to a Wannabe Tinpot Dictator extolling the virtues of America’s “freedom” while abdicating responsibility for preserving the hard-fought democracy foundations needed to keep “equal justice under law” moving forward and shining Liberty’s light, albeit imperfectly. Brezsny’s optimism doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the horrible and tragic in the world. His work is more thoughtful and intelligent and eye-twinkling-good-mischief-kinda-gonzo than that. I adore his unique way of reminding us how much more we have going for us even during challenging times, and it helps me re-ground. I needed it today. Here’s a quick excerpt from the book:

“Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep.

You can see! Light of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. The interesting gift of these vivid hues is made possible by an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its own body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.

You can’t live without the sun’s inexhaustible flood of unconditional love. Every move you make depends on it. Luckily, it never fails you. Did you know that your personal star is located at the precise distance from you to be of consummate service? If it were any closer, you’d fry, and if it were any farther away, you’d freeze. Is that just a happy accident? Or is it a sign of favor—a big, broad hint, from a cosmic intelligence that adores you?” — Rob Brezsny

Here’s to January 20, 2021, and to all the long-neglected work we will get to begin as the country turns a new page. God Bless Us All (and especially the amazing Stacey Abrams and all those dedicated volunteers who work to champion voting rights!) … and God Bless The United States of America (which has a beautiful little booklet called “The Constitution” which could probably use an amended edition).

“The American Dream & Experiment: Held Together with Safety Pins (There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen)” ©2016

All for now. See you next week here at The Saturday Book Shop …

The Saturday Book Shop – January 2, 2021

January 2, 2021

“A hymn of love to the world.”

That’s what author Elizabeth Gilbert says about the book I want to share with you today—and what a true description it is.

I am totally enthralled by Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

What a treasure this book is. The stories captivate with a blend of gentle beauty, facts, history, reverence, humor, and gratitude that are expertly and unforgettably woven together to help: “…people remember that what’s good for the land is also good for the people.”

It seems a good place to be, here in this first Saturday of 2021. A place where we’ve had more time to reflect and pause to notice the generous gifts of the earth while contemplating how we reciprocate that grace and care. This is what Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about so well, so wholeheartedly.

My beloved Bahamas is right now facing a potential threat to the pristine, abundant, and incredibly gorgeous waters that surround their 700 cays and islands. Pleas, petitions, and every know legal action and prayer are engaged today in urging that no further licenses be issued to drill oil in these irreplaceable waters. To risk an oil spill is unthinkable. The current administration did not negotiate the current drilling permits and has stated their opposition to it. Public support in The Bahamas and abroad is strong to cease the oil drilling, and it needs to be stronger yet. If you want to sign this petition to help save The Bahamas from oil drilling, please sign here. More background information on the situation is here.


… AND A REMINDER ABOUT MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS IN THE NEW YEAR …

In my original post about the start of The Saturday Book Shop, I noted that I’m especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, as well as Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog. Elizabeth Gilbert has a new Onward book club that’s worth checking out too. All of these sources offer a wide wealth of writings and inspirations about books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than an ongoing plea to support local independent booksellerswhenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere!

What are you reading to begin this New Year? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. See you next Saturday … 📚

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 


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