Art · Books · Seasons · Writing

A Book for all Seasons

I’ve just finished reading ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith and coincidentally my sister bought me the next in the series, ‘Winter’ for my Birthday.

A few weeks ago we visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (M2) in Edinburgh and I’d loved seeing the Andy Warhol  and Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition.

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An image of an image of an image?

To see the iconic Marilyn Monroe images up close was an amazing experience and I was blown away by the gigantic ‘Vulcan’ sculpture by Paolozzi. Anyone who’s read Ted Hughes ‘The Iron Man’ will surely love it!

Having enjoyed the post on the Novel Points of View Blog about where writers write; I really appreciated seeing the studio of Paolozzi which had been gifted to the nation.

 

So what is the link to the Ali Smith book? Well, by reading it I learnt about the artist Pauline Boty who was the only female British painter who took part in the pop art movement.

As Jim McColl says – ‘Every day’s a school day!’

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Be prepared for all types of weather if you live in Scotland – hailstones in May!

 

Books · Happy

Book Shopping

 

The other day I helped out at a bookstall for a Girl Guides Fair.

Well it just so happened that I had a ‘Tinkerbell’ book in my hand as a lady and her little daughter approached. With exclamations of delight she said her daughter loved ‘Tinkerbell’ books but there aren’t many about and so she has to get them out the library. Now her wee girl thinks the books are hers! 

So, we got talking and I asked her if she’d looked online. Immediately she mentioned ‘The Big A’ and I agreed but also said how about other second hand bookshops online?

Anyway, it got me to thinking. When I joined a book group a few years ago we discussed where everyone bought their books from.

Some went straight to the High Street, others to the aforementioned online store, still more to buy second hand online and one lady usually used the library.

It made me stop and think. There are so many options out there. It is easy to buy with one click but if I take just a little more time to search for the book I want I could be saving money and hopefully helping the environment too. (I know, I haven’t even mentioned e-books!) thumb_IMG_1327_1024

Recently we made our way back to the delight that is The Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. I have to confess I bought four books – a massive treat, not just to buy them but also to go in and chat about books in such a great environment.

Buying books is a complete joy to me and these days I pick carefully where I buy them from. One here, one there. I picked up a few great bargains at the bookstall, I’ve collected my recent book group choice from the library and I’m hoping for a book voucher for my birthday so I can do a little bit of High Street shopping too!

Here’s hoping!

 

Where’s your favourite place to buy or borrow books from?

 

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Hyacinth in the Spring sunshine

 

 

 

Books · Libraries · Reading

Time for Reading

On the way to the recycling bin in our house I found myself reading the sports pages of the newspaper; an article all about ‘Match of the Day’. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not interested in football or indeed the world around me at large. It’s just that I surprised even myself, did I really want to read this article?

Well, yes, why not? I’ve always read everything I could get my hands on, the back of a cereal packet is the classic example (and I do!).

 

I’ve realised I may sit in a room by myself but I am never alone when I have a book with me. Yes, there are the characters but there’s more, so much more.

When I read I am part of a world. One of so many people on this planet who share a love of reading.

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I have six books on the go at the moment – thank you Aberdeen Libraries!

I only have to think of Bookshops and Libraries to know there are so many others out there who love books too.

Then there’s the times we share a book; the magic of reading out loud to a little one on your knee or a class full of children eager to know what happens next.

The memories created when listening to audiobooks in the car, laughing and recalling the story together years later (Horrid Henry and the injection scene springs to mind!).

What a treat it is to attend events during the Scottish Book Trust Book Week or meet friends at Book Festivals and Book Groups.

Of course there is also the joy when a book is adapted to TV or film and the discussions thereafter.thumb_IMG_1133_1024

Then there’s my favourite; recommending a book to someone and they love it too.

It’s a world of books, let’s hope it stays that way.

 

 

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Springtime!
Books · Trees

Arborglyphs

I love how one thing leads to another.

Watching a documentary by the actress Dame Judi Dench, I heard her describe drawings on trees as arborglyphs. (What a fabulous word!)

On my regular walk I had already noticed some markings but dismissed them as a sort of vandalism. Then with this all in mind I noticed this:

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Is this smile natural or manmade?

Looking up arborglyphs I stumbled upon this blog, Arboroglyph. Might be one for me to follow.

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Couldn’t resist taking this photo – for some reason it reminds me of the Saucepan Man in Enid Blyton’s ‘The Faraway Tree’!

 

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Finished reading this book last week and would highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

Snowy Days

Books · Dogs · Inspiration · Trees

Inspiring Dog Days

Sometimes it’s dark, rainy, cold, dreich, miserable and you just don’t feel like going out for a walk.

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Molly and her new favourite toy.

Then again, if you’re a dog owner, you don’t have much choice! Maybe that’s a good thing. Yes, there is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes, I’ve heard it.

Still, say you do go out for a walk, there is beauty in the darkness.

Shape, form. Twisted trees, reaching on and up towards the light. Droplets balanced on pine needles. The surprise sighting of a heron crouched and tucked up tightly beside a nearly obscured pond.

 

Every time I go for a walk I find some different aspect of nature to think about. I want to learn more about the world around me. The birds I hear singing, what are they? The clouds, what type? Are they Altocumulus, Stratus, Cirrus, Cumulonimbus? Fabulous names to match stunning patterns.

I return home enthused, of course this is another excuse for me to indulge my love of learning and books!

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I hope you do get a chance to go for a walk today.

Then, when you come back home, switch the kettle on and settle down with a cuppa – here are a couple of book recommendations for all nature lovers, with links to my reviews on GoodReads.

 

The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd    Findings by Kathleen Jamie

Books · Inspiration

Last Minute Gift Ideas – Books of Course!

A book is such a lovely gift to give and receive.

Just in case you’re looking for some inspiration, here is the link to my blog about ‘cup of tea’ books – recommendations from friends and readers of this blog.

I hear a lot these days about the Icelandic tradition of ‘jolabokafloo’ – where books are exchanged as gifts on Christmas Eve and the rest of the evening is spent reading. It sounds ideal to me!

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At the moment I am reading ‘Slipstream’ a memoir by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

It’s fascinating as it explains about the many characters and experiences in her own life which influenced her writing of the Cazalet Chronicles.

 

 

Well, it’s certainly time for a holiday.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – with lots of time for reading, hopefully!

 

 

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Winter skies with silver linings
Books · Inspiration

Drama

 

The leaves are collecting in the corners of the garden. The animals must be gathering their food for winter. Thoughts of hibernation arise but I am clearing out. If I am to hibernate then it is time for a sort out!

thumb_IMG_E0573_1024Helping to tidy up the shelves and shelves of books in my father-in-law’s house recently, we found a pile of Penguin paperbacks.

For some reason this one caught my eye. Perhaps because it has a play by J.M. Barrie and I keep meaning to visit Kirriemuir where he was born. Maybe it’s because I love the story of Peter Pan.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these. They are witty and clever, some sad, others funny. As John Ferguson says in his introduction, the plays are a ‘clear and precise study of some particular character, situation or problem.’ You can read my review on GoodReads here.

As I looked up the playwrights I stumbled upon the fact that M. Luce was in fact Margaret Luce, the grandmother of Miranda Hart. I’m a big fan of Miranda’s shows – they’re so cheery!

With drama on my mind and St Andrew’s day fast approaching (November the 30th) here’s a link to a great video to be found on the http://www.scotland.org website. (Did I mention the actress is my aunt! One very proud niece here!)

 

Wishing you all a very enjoyable time during Book Week Scotland!

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Cotoneaster in the sunlight.