Skipping the Favourites

booklapSkipping the Favourites this week because it was not my favourite week. Storms, shoveling, power outages, more shoveling – it was all I could do just to keep warm. Hot chocolate, warm blankets, and good books are great for just that, so it wasn’t such a hardship.

During the week I mostly re-read some old favourites, most recently Come Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant. Such a fantastic book. Its wordplay and fun yet moving story have earned it a solid place on my list of best books ever. Audrey Flowers is as endearing a character as you will ever have the pleasure to meet.  The story is told through her eyes, as well as those of her tortoise, Winnifred. It is constantly surprising and charming, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Come forth, I say! There’s other business for thee.
Come, thou tortoise! When?
                                    – The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Today the sun is shining, so it’s a good day despite the subzero temperatures. I hope your weekend brings you many good things, comfort, peace with yourself, and books. Lots of them.

xo

Friday Favourites and A New Look

book2It’s been a busy week, but I managed to squeeze in some reading and a few other fun things. Here are a few of my little pleasures this week.

My favourite book this week was a blast from my past. I had to re-read Prince Caspian and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It brought me back to my childhood reading spot, a nook I’d created on the floor of my closet, complete with pillows, blankets, and reading lamp.

My favourite song this week was Lay Me Down by Newfoundland duo Fortunate Ones.  The song is off their just released album, The Bliss, and it is fantastic. (You can give their title song, also excellent, a listen on the site linked above).

My very favourite thing this week was the joy in being back here, writing about the things I like, sharing experiences, meeting cool and talented people like you all.

You may have noticed that I look a little different. I’m playing with my blog to make it a little more me, a little more personal. Please bear (bare) with me while I find myself. My About and Books Pages are now in the drop down menu at the top.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter, and I have a brand spanking new Instagram account. I’ll post some book pics there, some of my favourite reading spots, and some photos that don’t make it to the blog. You can find the links at the top of the page.

Happy weekend! Happy reading!

Self-Expression

IMG_7715Let’s talk about art.onrocks2

I am not an artist, in the strictest sense of the word. I write some, dabble with mixed media journaling, and play a mean kazoo. In the big wide world my efforts are modest at best, but they satisfy a basic need – the need to express oneself creatively.

Having a creative outlet is not only healthy, but necessary. In our deepest parts we have things that are crying out to be seen and heard. Laying yourself bare in a poem or painting is cathartic. It’s a beautiful way of sharing an intimate part of yourself with the world.

Our bodies are art. Every line, angle, wrinkle, fold, freckle and scar tells a story. It is our geography and our history. We are, each of us, exactly the way we are supposed to be. And we are exquisite.

Tell me about your creative outlet. Is it music, sculpture, photography? I would love to hear about it, or see it. Please share.

It’s Complicated

complicated2 Being Canadian, I am a big reader of Canadian fiction. Giller Prize nominees take up much of the space on my bookshelf. Therefore, I am embarrassed to admit that I have just now read A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. This book won the Governor General’s Award for fiction in 2004. That’s eleven years ago for those of you playing at home.

The novel is impeccably written, full of dark humour and beautiful introspective moments. Sixteen year old Nomi rebels against her strict Mennonite community while dealing with the collapse of her family. She is, in many ways, like any small town girl longing for the freedom and anonymity of the big city.

Being Canadian also means that between the months of November and May, I spend most of my naked time indoors. Around this time every year I start to get a bit of cabin fever, longing to feel the cool breeze against mybook bare skin. I wish that there were more opportunities to be clothing free in my part of the world. We’re still quite puritanical here; Private parts are private and must remain so. Keep it secret, keep it safe. (Little Tolkien reference for you there)

I found that Nomi’s struggle against the inflexibility and lack of forgiveness of her religious community somewhat fit the theme of what I’m doing here. It’s easy to feel stifled by society, and finding a way to express yourself can be an uphill battle when you are expected to conform. Being true to who you are is always the right answer.

Friday Favourites (belated)

bookbutt A tad late with the Friday Favourites. Let’s just pretend it’s still Friday, ok?

My favourite book this week was Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke. I read most of it in one sitting. It was intriguing, full of heart, and hope, and hurt. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the travel, and the concept of stepping out of one’s comfort zone to find answers.

Favourite reading spot? Curled up at the end of my couch, soft lights, good book, and a glass of red wine. Bliss. Cold winter days were are tolerable with this at the end.

My favourite song this week is Party Police by Toronto band Alvvays. They’ve become one of my favourite band to listen to in recent months. They’ve got a great gritty sound that I enjoy.

I also watched a pretty good movie this week. St. Vincent with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. Funny, and surprisingly heartwarming. Not usually the type of movie I would pick to watch, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Hope your Friday was amazing! Get out there and live your weekend. xo

Everything’s Ready

Ready for bedtime reading I’d barely started and then I fell into a hiatus I thought would never end. But now that all technical difficulties are behind me (hopefully), we can once again talk about the things we love – books and nudity. February is both the shortest month and the longest. In this corner of the North Atlantic, February brings the worst weather. Nights are long and cold, wet and windy. There is surely no better way to spend IMG_8664those night than laying luxuriously in bed, lost in words. And when the depth of February pulls you under, you must find new places, new ways to remind yourself that you still have breath. Some books do that, and for me Michael Cunningham’s The Hours is such a book. An enveloping story, and a literary style which echoes Woolf will both draw the reader fully into the book, and out again so that one can blink back to reality and marvel at the language and the craft.

 “She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.” ― Michael Cunningham, The Hours

The Hours is good company on a cold, February night. It is a book that makes you ponder life, and makes you want to live it, in all it’s darkness and light.

Rain and Poems

It’s been unseasonably warm over the past week, but along with the heat came rain, thanks to the tropical storms coming up the coast. Rainy days aren’t much good for reading outdoors, but the sticky heat is a very good excuse to forgo the clothing and just sit in bed with a good book.

I have to admit, the weather has zapped me of all energy. You know those days when the air just seems heavy, and picking up your coffee cup is a chore? I decided not to fight it today. I crawled out of the covers long enough to turn the fan on high, then climbed back onto the bed and grabbed my book.

Short, sad poems have gotten me through these lazy, hazy days. This morning the sun managed to slip it’s way through the clouds, and I’m hopeful that I will soon be outdoors again. It won’t be long before Jack Frost chases away the last of the warmth, and the long winter begins. I would love just a few more days to feel the sun on my skin as I read.

* * *

This poem is one that stayed with me this morning. Beautiful and sad, it seems to suit the weather.

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love — put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

-Sara Teasdale