Wednesday, July 20, 2011

N is for Northwest Beaches

Keep walking down this sandy path.  In just a moment you will top the dunes for a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.  It's the perfect day to spend on a Pacific Northwest beach.

Riff is a surveyor, which sometimes calls for a bit of exploring on a Saturday.  Such was the case a few weekends ago.  He had to go up to the North Beach area of Washington to "shoot a few points". (That's surveyor talk for whatever it is they do with those big yellow tripods.)  I was happy to toss a beach blanket and good book in a bag and tag along.
We walked through the dunes to the beach where Riff left me to go get his work done and I found a soft bit of sand to enjoy the kite festival that was going on.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, the kind that are sometimes few and far between here the land of grey skies and an absolute delight to find a kite festival in progress.  I didn't get much reading done, but take a look at all the great sights that met my eyes.
I hope you enjoyed a peek at one of our Northwest Beaches.  Come back when you can.  We'll make a pot of chowder...

Stop by Jenny's place for more Alphabe-Thursday!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

M is for Maple Tree

"Tree at my window, window tree-
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me."
~Robert Frost
A beautiful red maple stands in our Secret Garden, providing shade on a sunny day and shelter on a rainy one.   Always this tree is full of bird-song, spring, summer, winter or fall.
A delightful area of our property, this part of the yard actually sits on the backside of our small fenced yard.  We live in a very lush, green part of the country so this time of the year, when all the wonderful bushes and tree's are full of leaves, you can not even see this area from the house.  It's a beautiful secluded area, perfect to sneak away for a few minutes with a good book and a glass of iced tea. 

Won't you join me?

Pop over to Jennie's place for this weeks Alphabe-Thursday!

"Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thorn cannot grow."
~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A City of Books

Portland, Oregon's Pearl District holds one of the greatest treasures of all;  a city of books contained in a building that takes up one full city block.  Powell Books is the largest independant book store in the world, full of new, used and rare editions of almost anything you could be in search of, book wise.

A pillar of books greets you right outside the front door, hinting at all the wonderful things to come when you pop open those double doors and walk inside.
Shilo and I have made a deal.  A sweet deal, actually, for both of us.  She has a doctor appointment just about once a month at OHSU in Portland, so after each appointment, as a treat, we take ourselves to Powell Books.  Because of this deal, Shilo and I have been popping open those front doors to enter the City of Books on a regular basis.  You walk in, breathe deeply the smell of books, old and new.  You are immediately surrounded by a mass of fellow book-lovers.  You find your favorite room, (yes, each genre actually has a room), your favorite shelf, your favorite author.  If the section that is your favorite today is on a lower shelf, you sink to the floor and begin the search for the book that is on your must-get list for today.  New editions are stacked right next to used editions as well as collectors editions.  Powell Books is truly a book-lovers paradise.   Whatever your looking for, whatever your book-reading heart desires, you can find it at Powells.  And when you find it, you can take it to the attached coffee shop, order a latte and sit and read.  Incredible!

Where else could you hold an old copy of Alice in Wonderland, written in caligraphy by the author?  This is not an original, but an old, 1800's, copy of the authors notes. 
Up a flight of stairs and up a flight of stairs, on the 3rd floor, is the Rare Book Room.  I have been in Powell Books more than a handful of times and didn't realize until this weeks trip that this wonderful, intriguing room was here.  Leaving any books and parcels outside on the shelf provided, you crack open the door to the Rare Book Room and the smell of antique books draws you in.  Behind glass cases resides an incredible array of leather bound books that stretch your imagination. 

The oldest book in this collection is De Bello Judaica, printed in 1480.  Modern printing was only approximately 30 years old when this book was printed.  Imagine.

In this very room, you are in the presence of a two-volume first edition of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, published in 1814.  Originally, there were 1,417 copies of the Journals printed, but now only 23 remain.  This particular copy is still in its original binding with the included folding map intact.  For a mere $350,000.00 you may take these volumes home to add to your private collection.  Again, Imagine.

If you ever find yourself in the beautiful city of Portland, book-lover or not, find the Pearl District and take yourself on an excursion to Powell Books.  It is an adventure in itself.  A delightful, book filled adventure.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Turn the Page...Tuesday

What Matters Most - Luanne Rice
'The annual Children's Home summer beach picnic was on everyone's mind, and the kitchen was bustling.  A ham roasting, to be sliced and served cold;  Dublin Bay prawns, a gift from one of St. Augustine's benefactors, chilling in the huge refrigerator;  fresh-baked bread cooling on the rack;  cookies already packed in baskets.
Kathleen Murphy, thirteen, stood at the long stainless-steel work table, peeling potatoes for potato salad.  Her fingers worked so fast, a total blur to anyone who might be watching.  Her long dark hair was held back in a ponytail, and her clothes were protected by a stiff green apron.  She kept one eye on her work, another on the side door.  Sister Anastasia would be back in five minutes, and if James Sullivan wasn't here by then, there'd be hell to pay.'

Luanne Rice is one of my favorite authors for quick summer beach reads.  This book is one I had picked up at a yard sale last summer but had not gotten around to reading until now.  It takes us from Dublin, Ireland to the Connecticut shoreline following the love and life of two different couples as they try to figure out What Matters Most.  It's a story of true love that never dies and soul mates who are connected over time and space. 

From the back cover:
For Bernadette and Tom it is a return to their roots in Ireland and a love that broke every rule and could have withstood any consequence-but the one that broke their hearts.  For James and Kathleen, whose indelible bond was forged in a Dublin orphanage before one was adopted and carried across the sea to America, it's a reunion they could never see coming, even if they dreamed of it all their young lives.  From the Emerald Isle to the Connecticut shore, four lives are about to come together in a confrontation that will challenge each of them to leave behind the past and all they once thought was important and embrace at last What Matters Most.

A great summer read, but make sure and keep the kleenex's close! 

Daughters of the Witching Hill ~ Mary Sharratt
'See us gathered here, three woman stood at Richard Baldwin's gate.  I bide with my daughter, Liza of the squint eye, and with my grandaughter, Alizon, just fifteen and dazzling as the noontide sun, so bright that she lights up the murk of my dim sight.  Demdike, folk call me, after the dammed stream near my dwelling place where the farmers wash their sheep before shearing.  When I was younger and stronger, I used to help with the sheepwash.  Wasn't afraid of the fiercest rams.  I'd always had a way of gentling creatures by speaking to them low and soft.  Though I'm old now, crabbed and near-blind, my memory is long as a midsummer's day and with my inner eye, I see clear.'

I picked up this novel in Powell Books not long ago.  The write-up on the back of the book intrigued me and I was not disappointed.  The author has done her research well and each character is based on a true person;  many of the scenes based on actual court clerk, Thomas Pott's account of the 1612 Lancashire Witch Trials.  

Bess Southerns is a widow living in Pendle Forest who has built her reputation as a cunning woman;  a woman who can heal the sick and bless others as well as animals.  Her best friend has no such powers, but Bess teaches her what she knows and her friend turns to dark magic to save her daughter from their landlords son, who has terrorized her for years.  As Bess' grandaughter grows, Bess can see that she has the gift as well, but Alizon wants nothing to do with it.  One day Alizon meets a peddler on the road who seems to think she is a prostitute.  Alizon exchanges harsh words with him, cursing the peddler who suddenly falls to the road with a stroke.  The local magistrate is trying to build his reputation as a witch hunter, so locks Alizon up in the dungeon and the witch trials begin. 

This book is written really well, bringing this disturbing time in history to vivid life.  The author lives in Pendle Forest, right where the witch hunt took place.  I think her nearness to the scene lent clarity and depth to the writing .  If historical fiction is one of your passions, than this book should not be missed.

'She was a very old woman, about the age of Foure-score yeares, and had been a Witch for fiftie yeares.  Shee dwelt in the Forrest of Pendle, a vast place, fitte for her profession:  What shee committed in her time, no man knowes...She was a generall agent for the Devill in all these partes:  no man escaped her, or her Furies.'
-Thomas Potts, The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, 1613

Pop over to Adrienne's Turn the Page Tuesday to see what others have read this last month, and add to your own "want-to-read" list!