The Saturday Book Shop – The Lost Spells

Posted January 30, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: art, Books, cool stuff, favorite things, indescribable, inspiration, intriguing images, making a difference, nature, poetry, quotes, wonderful ideas, writing

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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

Posted January 25, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: art, by the sea, collage, cool stuff, design, Grand Bahama Island, inspiration, intriguing images, photography

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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

Posted January 24, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: Books, cool stuff, favorite things, inspiration, intriguing images, little luxuries, love, making a difference, nature, photography, poetry, quotes, wonderful ideas, writing

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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.

Posted January 16, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: Books, inspiration, love, making a difference, quotes, writing

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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

Posted January 9, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: art, Books, collage, cool stuff, favorite things, inspiration, making a difference, quotes, wonderful ideas, writing

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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

Posted January 2, 2021 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: Books, by the sea, favorite things, Grand Bahama Island, inspiration, making a difference, nature, quotes, The Bahamas, wonderful ideas, writing

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“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.”

 

The Saturday Book Shop – December 26, 2020

Posted December 26, 2020 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: Books, cool stuff, inspiration, making a difference, nature, Sunday Inspiration, wonderful ideas, writing

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It’s a glorious blue-sky, warm-sun and briskly BEAUTIFUL day-after-Christmas here in the warm-winter tropics of South Florida. Far too fine to be doing anything but masking up and being out enjoying all this not-too-hot, not-too-cold kinda bliss. Whether you’re reading this in the midst of a magical snowy wonderland up north or grabbing a sweater for a walk along breezy island shores, this is the sort of moment to really celebrate the complex blessings of our environment. And this book, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, does that so well …

In an excerpt from the flyleaf:

“In this impassioned and inspiring book, world-renowned marine ecologist Enric Sala illuminates the many reasons why preserving Earth’s biodiversity makes logical, emotional, and economic sense.

Using key moments from his own scientific awakening (and introducing us to a colorful cast of teachers and colleagues along the way), Sala reveals that out survival depends on all species. From microbes to mammals, from seaweed to sharks, every living thing plays a crucial role in our interwoven biosphere. The natural world, he explains, is a perfect circular economy, where every species, in life and in death, sustains everything else.

Sala also builds a cogent argument for the practical value of preserving our planet’s wild places, demonstrating the long-lasting economic benefits of establishing wilderness preserves on land and no-catch zones in the ocean. And, in a timely epilogue, Sala shows how saving nature can save us all, by reversingcondiqtions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and preventing other global catastrophes.”

I am enjoying his mantra for re-wilding our planet and the myriad bio habitat examples Sala provides underscoring how we truly are—all of us—in this together. It will be more important than ever in the new year to move forward with innovative ways of preserving our precious planet. Read the first chapter of the Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson if you have any doubt about that. Or watch the newly released George Clooney-directed The Midnight Sky Netflix movie for a touching and beautifully poignant tale that opens our hearts more fully to the urgency of saving the earth.

Wishing you a blessed New Year. And if you feel like chiming in here in the comments with where and what you’re reading (or looking forward to reading!), I’d love to hear it. Now back out to enjoy this gorgeous day …

 

The Saturday Book Shop: December 19, 2020

Posted December 19, 2020 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: art, Books, cool stuff, design, favorite things, inspiration, intriguing images, little luxuries, love, poetry, quotes, wonderful ideas, writing

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Welcome back to The Saturday Book Shop.

I’m sharing three books today that sort of sum up the moment here in the midst of the holidays, the pandemic, and looking forward with hope and faith toward 2021, even though we still have quite a ways to go.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamotte is just the right blend of funny-meets-unflinching faith that I’ve seen described as capturing “life’s imperfect moments perfectly”. She is also the author of so many favorite titles, including the classic Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which is all the title implies and more. Love it, and have happily followed her writings long time.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon is a gem of a book by a “writer who draws”. It’s full of creative inspiration and reminder-smiles that do literally help keep you going, come what may. He has an excellent newsletter and eclectic fun blog you can sign up for too.  All of his books rock with  wisdom and wit and big riffs of delight.

And finally, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. I am grateful to have many many poetry books. Love them all. Especially this one. Mary Oliver and all of her quietly elegant words—which uplift the everyday well spring of nature and life with such a notice-everything-and-tell-about-it open heart—are all time favorites, to be sure. When I was pulling this book off the shelf to snap this photo, a little postcard I had painted for myself and stuck in the book fluttered out. I’d popped it in opposite this poem … seems especially apropos at the moment:

WHAT GORGEOUS THING

I do not know what gorgeous thing

the bluebird keeps saying,

his voice easing out of his throat,

beak, body into the pink air

of the early morning. I like it

whatever it is. Sometimes

it seems the only thing

in the world that is without

questions that can’t and probably 

never will be answered, the

only thing that is entirely content

with the pink, then clear white

morning, and gratefully, says so.

— by Mary Oliver

Wishing you and yours a Very Happy, Peaceful, Healthy, & Heart-full-of-Love-and-quiet-Joys kinda Holiday season❣️

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

The Saturday Book Shop

Posted December 12, 2020 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: art, Books, cool stuff, design, favorite things, inspiration, making a difference, poetry, The Bahamas, wonderful ideas, writing

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Welcome back to The Saturday Bookshop!

This first book I want to show you today is near and dear to my heart because it is by my dear friend and internationally-acclaimed artist, Chantal Bethel. I had the honor of getting to design and handle the graphic layout for Beyond the Surface: Art, Discovery, Healing and Transformation—a coffee table treasure filled with 112 full color pages of her beautiful and powerful paintings, mixed media installations, and sculptures, along with a selection of essays, quotes, and poems by various writers, art historians, curators, artists, and art critics. Born in Haiti, schooled in Belgium, and ultimately finding her home in The Bahamas, Chantal Bethel’s work reflects her complex and multi-layered story. Chantal Bethel’s art continually delves “beyond the surface” connecting pieces of her own life with the fullness of humanity’s tragedies and triumphs. To see a flip-through of the hardcover book, click here. The book is available in Nassau at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) Mixed Media Gift Shop, or in the U.S. and Canada by writing to me here.

NEXT UP IS A GREAT READ & NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Smelling Roses: A Tale of Connection and Transformation is a debut novel by another dear friend and celebrated multi-talented painter and mixed media artist, Claudette Dean, who also writes poetry and now: brilliant books as well! I was honored and delighted to get to put together the cover design for this new Christmas classic—a tale of different dimensions of tide and time coming together to channel light during the tumultuous era of the 1960s. Sparkling with wit and mystical wonder, the story is amazingly in synch with today’s changing world and the challenges of trusting the growing waves of love rising against huge opposition. This novel is available via Amazon, or check with Claudette Dean via her website. It’s a Christmas page-turner and heart warmer all at once.

AND SPEAKING OF CHANGING TIMES …

With the votes finally counted and President-elect Joe Biden and VP-Elect Kamala Harris bringing new leadership to the United States, it’s important to remember the work that yet needs to be done and to say: Black Lives STILL Matter. Works by gifted new talent, like the marvelous writer/artist Morgan Harper Nichols, and a dynamic collection of black voices curated by conceptual artist Natasha Marin, share life experience alongside longtime greats, such as the legendary writers Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. And I’m enjoying President Barack Obama‘s memoir so much. Those of you reading this who’ve known me for any length of time know how enthusiastically I campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Reading A Promised Land reminds me of his intelligence, cool head, solid strength, and passion for a fair playing field that he brought to bear—all while rebuilding a crashed economy into a thriving one while battling unprecedented political obstruction. I’m cheering now for the election of Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Even a very small donation to their campaigns at this moment would be a huge gift to a smoother path toward helping us all build back better. Here are links to the titles pictured above:

All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols

Black Imagination curated by Natasha Marin

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

..AND A BIG GRATEFUL SHOUT OUT to my longtime dear friend and bookshop connoisseur and mentor, Vanessa Hammill, who specializes in designing books about the history of her family’s native North Carolina, while also handling special orders and classroom recommendations for teachers and professional groups. She has a wide depth of book knowledge about all sorts of books, and first introduced me to classic children’s books, way before my now-just-graduated-from-college-daughter was born. These classics were well-worn with happy repeated readings. I dusted them off here from the storage box of childhood keepsakes. Well worn and well loved. Such wisdom in children’s books. And I am especially enchanted with the vibrant and joyful art and illustrations of Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, and Ashley Bryan.

… well, I see the clock has just ticked past midnight as I type this, so here’s hoping you’ll enjoy this chapter of The Saturday Bookshop even if you’re not seeing it until Sunday morning! I forgot how long it sometimes takes to link things up on blogs! (smiles) The wonderfully self-fluent writer Havi Brooks says “All timing is right timing.”  I love that. And I’m very much enjoying sharing about my love of books here, and it would be wonderful to hear what you’re reading, or looking forward to reading, or any longtime book favorites. See you next week & happy reading!

“Books are a present you can open again and again.” 

The Saturday Book Shop

Posted December 5, 2020 by Paula's Paradise
Categories: Books, cool stuff, favorite things, Grand Bahama Island, inspiration, intriguing images, photography, The Bahamas, writing

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Many years ago (pre-Amazon days!) and for a very short time, I had a little bookshop that popped up on Saturdays in a picturesque Italian gelato cafe on Grand Bahama Island. My love of books was on full display within the shelves I would set up every week amidst the scent of cappuccino and waffle cones awaiting scoops of fresh-made gelato. The wide range of titles—everything from children’s book classics to National Geographic coffee table books—were very well received. I adored getting to introduce cafe visitors to new stories—and getting to learn about their favorites. It was a joy, pure and simple.

I still love all sorts of books and I thought it would be fun to host a sort of online essence of the shop here … sharing a few books each week as if we were sipping an espresso or indulging in a tropical treat together. There are so many great reading resources online these days, it’s hard to know where to start, and yet the thing about any creative process is it’s often best to do just that — start — and enjoy the process of figuring it out!

So, here we go … and I’ll begin by noting books that are top of mind for me right now. I love these new coffee table books about the Exumas because of the gorgeous photography and vignette stories inside, and also because I was delighted to get to create the cover art for them! 

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A glimpse inside and more details about these new coffee table books by photographer Alessandro Sarno is here. The images, gathered over eleven years of visits to the Exumas, showcase some of the incredibly beautiful places and faces within the rare natural beauty of these islands of The Bahamas.

FROM THE STACK OF BOOKS NEAR THE BEDSIDE TABLE

How To Fly in 10,000 Easy Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver

The Life of Plants—A Metaphysics of Mixture by Emanuele Coccia

TRUST by Pete Buttigieg

Pieces of A Song by Diane di Prima

Threads of Life: A History of The World through the Eye of A Needle by Clare Hunter

Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

AND A COUPLE OF CREATIVE TOUCHSTONES

I love to reread parts of these often … full of inspiration and timeless wise and witty reminders … especially important anchors in this unusual-to-say-the-least time … 

click books for link

AND MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS …

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! 

What are you reading now? 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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