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Balancing Life with Books

Those of you who know me well, know how much I love Christmas.  I love everything about it.  The lights, the tree with all those tiny, sparkling lights, with branches full of ornaments from all all the world that we carefully hand carried home from our visits.  The smells, oh the smells of the past.  My Mom's peanut butter bars and my Nannies lemon bread...all reminders of Christmas pasts.  I love the company and I most especially love the boys who now bring the belief of magic and wonder back into our Christmas mornings...Oh how I love all of those things...I also love gifts...both given and received.  I love when I find the perfect gift for someone.  Each year I strive to get it right.  We are big in this family on homemade gifts and time-spent gifts.  It's amazing what turns up each year in my can.  The other gift that I cherish each year is the gift that keeps on giving...and that comes in the form of books.  Again, those of you who really know me, know that technically I could be called a hoarder of books.  That does not stop me from wanting more though and this year was a banner year for books.  They fill me up, they take me away, they make me a better writer, they teach me life lessons and I make new friends in them.  I am never alone as long as I have books.  So I thought you might like to see where and what I will be doing if I'm not visiting you as often this year...presenting my 2017 book list, as of now...

My son and I share a passion for books.  We can get lost in book shops for hours, as we often do.  We love new book stores and we especially love a good used book store.  We read a lot of the same types of books but he is always introducing me to new themes and new authors.  He does not forget my favorite people though...The books above were in his his book bag to me this year...Who doesn't love Mary Oliver and I still have more to collect of hers.  This year I got Long Life..essays and other writings.  I can't wait to get into that on. I'm also getting more serious about my meditation and Thich Nhat Hahn is one of my new favorite authors so Chris gifted me At Home in the World, stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life.  Sounds so interesting.  Last in this wonderful bag is a new author to me, Margot Livesey.  Mercury is the name of this novel. Doesn't this description sound so juicy..."The midlife crisis takes many forms, some familiar, some wildly unexpected. In her riveting novel, Mercury, portrays a couple in their season of crisis. Patiently, precisely, she unfolds the layers of their drama, at once quiet and extreme.  She'll make you wonder how well you know your spouse.  

My second book bag from Chris was so much fun.  Honestly, I read each books back cover while wrapping paper was flying through the and dogs going wild, laughter and conversations all around me, but still I sat with my tea and this most lovely, themed bag.  The tag is a keeper..."To Mom, a books about books, book bag.. Got it"..Love Chris."  I have to admit, I had to read it several times before I really did get it.  All of these books are about bookstores and the books.  How cool is that.  I have already read..Time Was Soft There and I give it 5 stars. It is about a bookstore in Paris that I need to get to on my next trip over, called Shakespeare and Co., which is also a book about that store. The owner of Shakespear and Company is George and oh my the surprise when I read early on in the book that he was from Salem, Massachusetts, which is my home town.  I highly recommend both and they are both non-fiction...The other book store books will speak for themselves...until I get to read them.  Of this group, the one that speaks to my heart though is Howards End is On The Landing by Susan Hill.  A year of reading from home.  I think Chris is trying to tell me something with this one..."A passionate reminder of the importance of reading and a revealing glimpse of a writer's life.  Observer.  The basis for this Non-fiction is that Susan Hill discovered one day all the beautiful books that she had on her shelves and decided, that for a year, she would re-acquaint herself with her own book shelves.  I so need to do this and i want to do it.  So I'm going to give it a try also.  I can say right now that I won't make it but what I will try really hard to do, is only by books that I absolutely must have.  Not just everything that looks good or interesting.  I have such great books on my shelves..I'll let you know how this goes as we move through the year...

Of course, not to be left out is a wonderful photography book entitled "Hearing with the Eye." by John Daido Loori...this needs a quiet Sunday afternoon, with the fire crackling and a brandy snifter of Rum Charta...Thank you Chris for the fine books...that will bring many days of pleasure to me.  I know this is a gift from the heart...and I'm so grateful.

Now as if that weren't enough books...others in my family know me well...

My new Rumi collection from a friend of Chris's.  I did not have either of these so this willl be fun to go through and the photo's are fabulous in The Illuminated Rumi...

Finally, comes the book bag from Jim.  I think his intent is to keep me reading so that I have very little time for the News shows in the next four years...This might work.  We are both readers and not really  people so this is what we do at night, when the sound of the clicking keys from our computers go silent.  Then we love nothing more than to turn on the electric blanket and head to bed to read. This year we even bought a new mattress that goes up and down at the head and the foot of the bed.  So brilliant for reading.  This bag is a very diversified bag...but I have my eye on Lilac Girls for the near future.  I have been wanting that one for awhile..Maybe it's just the title, it sounds so lovely and the girls on the cover just look so inviting...I know, I know, never judge a book by it's cover but you know, sometimes I do and this is one of those... Another Brooklyn.  Brooklyn, the 70's, coming of age...delicious.  Herman Hesse, now there is a blast from the past. I have not read Siddhartha but I'm sure it is timeless.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers.  So many awards and great book reviews.  It's non-fiction with a bit of fiction tossed in.  I'm not quite sure...but it does sound interesting.  Finally, from this wonderful collection of books from one who knows my heart so well is...Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It was written in 1999 and is a collection of short stories which is great for me.  I need to read more short stories because I essentially write essays and it might be good to move along a bit. Jim's bag was also themed. Except for Lilac Girls and Another Brooklyn, the other three books were from the list of 100 books to read in a lifetime. Jim's addition to my photography collection is "It's Not About the Jay Maisel.  So you see I will be busy and I can't wait to find my books a home here on the shelves.  A bit of sorting is in order to make that happen...

Strangely enough, Jenna and I also share books.  We do the mysteries and girly books.  Cookbooks and magazines...we have favorties that we pass along to each other.  It's truly a book loving family. Although I didn't get a book bag from Jenna this year, she did give me a beautiful Burbury scarf to wrap myself up in as I read.  She is my girly, girl.  So much to love there. The boys, well they have their favorite books also. Liam has just started to love early Reader books, his favorite being Bisquit. Now he is reading to us. Jaxson loves books also and his very favorite from nap days in the big bed, which he still loves is How Do I Love You.  I read that to him each day he came..and when the book was over we would find other ways to say "how do I love you" is still his favorite book.  

So books, they make the world go round.  They ground us in times of trouble.  They sooth us when we are sick. They make a bad weather day sunny in there presence.  They brighten up a coffee table, even if they are never read. Mostly though, they keep us connected to each other through discussions and sharing.  They also sometimes surprise and amaze you in a gift that you could not even imagine...

This book was written by my high school friend.  It is the last book in this series.  Terri and I became friends again on Facebook and she told me how much she enjoys Jaxsons...stories and photo's.  Now imagine my surprise and graditude when I opened her book Unraveling The Pieces and found this on the fly page: Liam, Jaxon and know what that makes this book, right?  A keeper.  Thank you Terri for your books, your words and for this I was following you, you were also following me. How sweet is that...

So at the end of the never know what your gift to world will be.  I might never write a book, actually, I'm pretty sure I won't but I do hope that my blog counts, my photo's count, books count and words spoken or written count.  Use them for good out in the world and for your own pleasure.  You never know whose reading or listening...grab someone and snuggle, with a good book.

Here's to books and an entire new year to challenge yourself...

"Books are the comfort food without the calories."  Elizabeth Berg...

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” Charles Dickens.. 

The above quotes are from two of my favorite authors...they never disappoint.


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Reader Comments (11)

You have a wonderful selection of books there to keep you happy! I read both of the Shakespeare ones when they were first released and LOVED them! I have Lilac Girls also but haven't read it yet. I was an only child and my mother had me reading at age four, and I've never stopped! Books have always been my best friend!
Thank you so much for mentioning my book. I have really enjoyed getting to know your grandsons on Facebook and so happy that you and I reconnected. I look forward to swapping book titles with you and discussing them. xoxox

January 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTerri DuLong

Oh Terri, we have more in common than we knew. Yes, stories and swapping and let's not forget knitting. Thank you for your support and encouragement...xoxoxo

January 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

WOW, Cheryl . . . and she didn't tell you?
How exciting is this!!!!!!
It's a good omen . . .
I instantly recognized the blue glass star too!
This is ALL GOOD, girl!
Hip Hip Horray!!!!!
I KNOW you WILL write some day . . .
God willing, I'll be there for the signing!
Sending you lots of love and hugs,
always . . . from your #1 fan,

January 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

What a wonderful (and diverse) collection you have here, Cheryl, and how nice that your son shares the same passion. :-)
Happy day to you!

January 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Gordon

How wonderful that everyone honors you with the great gift of books! It can be amazing to be lost amongst their pages!

January 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Thomas

Oh Cheryl, your post as always intrigued me. It also made me realize how much I missed. My mother would not allow us to read. She said it was a way to withdraw from the world and since she was obsessed with having a nervous breakdown, she would not "allow us to withdraw from the world". Sad but true. I will take some of the titles and read them this year. I do love to read but have never really pursued it. Thanks for this post.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeg Rogers

It looks like you have enough books to keep you happily busy for a while. :) My daughter and I love to read. Although we don't usually read the same type of book, she likes the Young Adult Fantasy genre and I prefer historical fiction or non fiction. It is hard to believe she struggled with reading in elementary school and now has to bring two 500 page books on vacation 'just in case' because she doesn't want to be without a book. I hope to share books with her when she gets older just like you do with your children. :)

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B

OH my, I'm trying hard not to be jealous...but I am! It was a tradition in my family to give books for Christmas, but neither of my kids is interested in getting or giving books as gifts. Both were avid readers as children and young adults, but neither reads much (if ever) for pleasure anymore, while I am still crazy for books. There's nothing I'd like better than to find such a bounty under the tree at Christmas. I'm making a list of all these and will see which ones I can find at the library. Happy reading to you!

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLeón

Thank you to all my Lovelies for visiting today and viewing my new years work. I am so heartened to see so many readers in my friends here. The words, read, written and spoken, tell the world what kind of a person you are and what matters to you. Write and speak kindly but never speak anything but the truth and what is in your heart...If I didn't have books, it would be a great tragedy. Read on my friends and then go out and spread the word...

January 31, 2017 | Registered CommenterCheryl Crotty

What a great set of books you got!! I enjoyed Lilac Girls.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpam

Looks like you have a wonderful selection to get you through the rest of winter! Growing up, my mom always gave me a book and a new pair of pajamas...the best part of the holiday was Christmas night when everything calmed down and I got to snuggle in my flannels with a good book. You will now have to review each book for us :)

February 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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