About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

One of My Favorites

I don't do book reviews. Writing a good review is neither a skill I possess nor an activity I enjoy. Book recommendations? Now that's another story. Recommending books is second nature to a librarian. This week in particular I am compelled by an uncanny series of events to make a book recommendation, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I first read this stunning best seller several years ago before I retired from my position as a high school librarian. I was hooked on Zafon and not much later I read The Angel's Game, the second book in what would eventually become a four-book saga. It wasn't until after I retired that I discovered and purchased the third book, The Prisoner of Heaven. This third title sat in my to-read pile for three years. This frequently happens to me. I have a very large inventory of books that I can't wait to read, and with my frequent trips to bookstores, I am adding titles to that list regularly. At any rate, for reasons I can't really recall, I picked up Prisoner a couple months ago thinking that it was the last book in the series. About the time I finished it I was surprised to learn that there is actually a fourth book, The Labyrinth of the Spirits. Of course, I had to have that title too, only this one I didn't wait three years to read. The country was locked down. What better time to take on an 800-page epic. For some inexplicable reason, once I had completed the series, I immediately felt the urge to reread the first one. As I write this, I am about half way through its nearly 500 pages.

So why am I telling you all this? As the saying goes, timing is everything. This past week Carlos Ruis Zafon passed away at the relatively young age of 55. The world has indeed lost a brilliant writer. His books have been published and enjoyed in more than 40 languages.

So I am highly recommending The Shadow of the Wind, the first book in what is frequently referred to as the cycle of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Cycle is a more apt term than series since the books, by design, can actually be read in any order. They have characters and events in common, but each is a story unto itself. Set in Barcelona just after WWII, The Shadow of the Wind has been described as a modern gothic novel full of mystery, tragedy, romance, and memorable characters that will stick with you.

If you want to know more, NPR did a brief story on Zafon which you can read here: Bestselling Spanish Novelist Dies At 55. Thanks to my son Culver for passing the news on to me. That's all I'm going to say about it. Remember, I don't do book reviews. But I do recommend Carlos Ruis Zafon. We lost a great one this week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Update

Summer at last. After pretty much missing spring this year, I am determined to enjoy my summer as much as possible. So last week on a perfect, beautiful day, I treated myself to a drive along my beloved M-22. For me summer is not complete without a climb up the steps at the Arcadia scenic overlook for a picture of Lake Michigan in all its glory. Farther up the road I stopped in the village of Empire for a quick look at the progress on the library expansion project.

A year ago I wrote about a visit to this charming town for the ground-breaking ceremony on this ambitious undertaking, and on this trip I was pleased to learn that the expanded library will be ready to open within a matter of a few months. A helpful construction worker, who was packing up for the day, filled me in. The inside is finished, he informed me, and staff will begin filling bookshelves in a week. All that's left to complete is the exterior. How exciting. Once it's all wrapped up and reopened, I'll have another excuse to take an M-22 drive to see the new Glen Lake Community Library. Can't wait.



Friday, May 22, 2020

More Book Art

How have I never seen these before?

I was only recently made aware of British artist Jonathan Wolstenholme, who has created several fascinating paintings of anthropomorphized old books. See more of these unique creations in this Lit Hub article:

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Librarians Are Great

This was posted on Facebook by a friend. Unfortunately, I don't know who should be credited for this brilliant piece. But then, librarians are generally not big on needing credit. Just had to share.




Sunday, April 26, 2020

Gratitude

One of my favorite places. Thinking about it always makes me happy.
Earlier this week I had a bit of a melancholy day. The weather was gloomy, and I had simply had enough negative news. These times are trying, to say the least. But I decided to break the bonds of pessimism and instead concentrate on the blessings I enjoy. When I really started to think about it, there are many. I thought I would share a few.

-I'm healthy.
-Spring is finally here.
-Today I enjoyed a two-and-a-half-mile walk on a lovely, sunny morning—quite literally over the river and through the woods.
-I am closer to 70 than 65, and I can still walk two and a half miles.
-We still have income.
-Our cupboards are not bare.
-We have a big back yard; we're not crammed into a high rise in a busy city.
-I have plenty of books in the house that I haven't read yet.
-I have time to read. I just finished a fabulous 800-page novel in record time.
-My husband enjoys puttering in the garage, so he hardly ever gets under foot.
-I have time to clean drawers and closets.
-I have been able to watch nearly every episode of Monk ever produced.
-We have technology that enables me to keep in touch with people. Had this happened when I was in my twenties, I would have no cell phone, no email, and no Internet. Imagine that.
-We still have a decent supply of toilet paper and paper towel.
-I have a wonderful husband, son, and daughter-in-law as well as many adopted family members, extended family members, and terrific friends with whom I am in regular contact.
-I was raised by two wonderful parents, and I have many fond memories of my childhood.

I thank the Lord for these and the countless other blessings He has bestowed upon me.

My heart goes out to those who are struggling to find something to feel blessed about. I pray for them and all of us. These are trying times indeed. 

Try making a blessings list of your own. It does wonders for the attitude.



Friday, March 20, 2020

Keep Calm and Read On!

Well, it looks like there won't be any visits to bookstores or libraries for a little while. The good news is that I have plenty of reading material at home, and as I mentioned in my last post, I have a great tool for cataloging my books. Now it looks like I have plenty of time to work on this project.

One of the things I am missing the most is March Madness, especially since my beloved Spartans seemed to be really hitting their stride. But at least my husband and I are healthy at this point, as are my family members. For those of you missing sports like I am, I have included a link to some video of a sport of sorts that is actually pretty entertaining.

Hopefully, I will be back in the bookstore-visiting business soon. In the meantime, Keep Calm and Read On!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Books Go Here

I would hazard a guess that most avid readers have a to-read list, and I am no exception. For me, however, a simple list doesn't begin to cover it. I have to-read piles, and I'm not just talking a couple books on the nightstand. Sure, I have those, but I also have bags, boxes, and bins full of books waiting patiently to make it to the nightstand. The problem is that there are books I have already read mixed in with the ones I want to read. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Happy Birthday!

Epilogue Books
10 East Bridge Street
Rockford, MI 49341

Deja Vu? A birthday party? For a dog? At a bookstore? Nope. I've never been here before. Last month I had the opportunity to attend a birthday party for Tommy, the lovable bookstore dog at Epilogue Books. I fell in love with Tommy when I first met him at the store last summer, and when I learned about his birthday party, I knew I couldn't miss it.

In honor of Tommy's namesake, Tom Izzo, basketball coach at MSU, I decided to wear one of my many Spartan t-shirts. I never attended MSU myself, but my son did his graduate studies there, and I am a big fan especially of Izzo. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

A Very Special Guest


Starfield Library
COEX Mall
Seoul, Korea

Marsha is taking a little break in January and has outsourced her next blog post.
Hi, I’m Jim Redd, and you don’t know me. Well, I mean you have heard about me in Marsha’s many blog posts, but this is the first time I have ACTUALLY BLOGGED on my own. I mean, wow! Here I go—Hello, World. I am blogging, baby!