Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Penguin Books

I love hardback books. There's something wonderfully substantial and luxurious about them. The sight of a full shelf of hardback spines is something that makes me smile. Lugging a bag of hardbacks on holiday can be a problem though, especially if you're travelling light.

For holiday reading, I buy a selection of paperbacks. They're easier to pack in my suitcase for the journey and carry around in a beach bag once I arrive.

Seventy five years ago, Penguin Books first came up with the idea of producing quality paperback books at a low cost (back then 6d or about two and a half pence nowadays). In fact the first of those Penguin paperbacks was published on 30 July 1935.

Thank you, Penguin Books. You not only started a paperback revolution and supplied countless holiday makers with lightweight reading material, but you also allowed me to fit even more titles onto my bookshelves.

Monday, 28 June 2010

It's never too late

I was delighted to read on the online Guardian news site today about a 'mature' lady who has just landed her first book deal.

Myrrha Stanford-Smith, an 82 year old teacher, theatre director and grandmother, has obtained a three book agreement with publisher Honno. Her debut novel The Great Lie appeared in bookshops last week.

Based around her Elizabethan hero Nick Talbot, who buckles his swash on a regular basis, the novel dips into the rivalry between William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlow as 16 year old Nick runs away with a troupe of travelling players to London.

It just goes to show that you should never give up on the dream.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, midsummer day, otherwise known as Litha, when the sun is at its highest and seems to stand still.

In the past (and still nowadays at stone circles such as Stonehenge and the one at Avebury), revellers would stay up all night on Midsummer Eve waiting for the sun to rise. There would be bonfires and fire lit processions and celebrations of the sun's power.

To me, this day is a time to stand still (like the sun seems to) and take stock of the good things in my life. Look around you. Enjoy the day, sun or rain. Wish well to your friends (and maybe those who aren't your friends too). If you can, share the day with those whom you love and have fun.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A beautiful way to start the morning

One of my favourite booksellers is Cygnus Books, based in Wales. Although they have a physical shop, I've always bought from their website. They stock books on health, personal growth, spirituality and environmental issues. Here's what they say about themselves.

"Our aim is to serve those interested in personal and global transformation not just by providing a carefully selected range of books at reduced prices, but also by providing lots of inspirational writing to give you hope, enhance your positivity and help you meet life's challenges in a graceful way."

On their blog today, they featured the beautiful and inspirational poem 'Desiderata' by Max Ehrman set to the calming tones of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. After having my two children at home yesterday for a frenetic and noisy birthday celebration, taking the time to read the poem and listen to the accompanying music this morning has been a joy.

Have a look at the Cygnus blog for inspiration and news on their catalogue.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Books, glorious books

I love books. They invade our homes and our imaginations, and if you're anything like me, you never want them to leave. I have a whole colony of books in my house, some old favourites and some more recent purchases too.

On this blog, I've shared some of my books with you and now you can find those books (without having to go through all my past posts) in a gallery on the right hand column. As I mention more books, I will add them to the gallery for your information. You can even purchase them from Amazon through the gallery.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Two of my favourite things

Well, three, if you add Joseph Fiennes.

As you'll probably have guessed already, I love a good cup of coffee. What you may not know is that one of my favourite novels is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - a classical novel of romance, passion, tragedy and how the passing of the seasons can rule our lives. So when I found out that the coffee maker Carte Noire were featuring on their website podcasts of actors such as Joseph Fiennes, Greg Wise and Dominic West, reading from classic books that include 'Far from the madding crowd' and 'Sense and Sensibility', I was delighted.

Carte Noire will even send you a free sample of their coffee and a bookmark, if you fill in your details here.

Cue my first session this morning of coffee and Joseph *sigh*, what a girl will do to get a little culture.