This journey began with a bear..

A Pooh Bear, to be specific.

My first introduction to the hills and dales and woods of England had to be Winnie the Pooh and his gang of friends. I read books, listened to records, watched the show, as they cavorted around the 100 Acre Woods, getting into scrapes, helping each other out, teaching me about friendship. I soaked it up, every bit, like Pooh and his precious honey.

Later, my mom gave me a set of James Herriot books one Christmas. This was probably the time I fell in love with the natural world of England. I read this series cover to cover, and although I did not always understand everything that was happening as I was kind of young still, I knew that there was something special happening. My suburban eyes were opened to another time, another world. a completely different way of life, that of a large animal country vet. I always loved animals, and these books made me laugh, but they also made me cry. Herriot’s love for his Yorkshire Dales made me love them too. These became books that I reread still to this day. Incidentally, my grandfather was born almost exactly to the day, one year before James Herriot, in the very same town of Sunderland, England. I like to think about them possibly being strolled about on the same sidewalks and into the same shops.

Later, I found Watership Down, not quite a book about the English countryside or woods, but nevertheless, these rabbits braved their way across many a hill and forest until they reached Watership Down. And is still my very favorite book today.

Somewhere in all this, I gave my heart to British nature writing – something I didn’t even realize I was completely avid about until a year or so ago, when I stumbled upon Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel. His poetic observations captured my imaginings, and my love of nature. Like Herriot, his love of his homeland and surroundings is quite evident in his descriptions, the beautiful imagery and words. Stempel describes himself in The Wood as a country writer, writing what he says he knows best. In Meadowland, the Private Life of an English Field, Stempel shares his field study in diary form of the life and death happenings that occur there, the flora, the fauna- the wildflowers, the foxes who seem to recognize him from his rambles, the hedgehogs and birds, to the smallest little insects.

Since then I have read The Glorious Life of the Oak, which is about exactly what you would think, the Oak, its significance to England’s history, folklore and poetry. I learned more than I thought I could ever learn about the Oak tree, which is quite alright, as our family holds acorns and oaks symbolically, as symbols of hope and strength. This Christmas, my husband gifted me The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood, and I have been savoring it, reading it slowly, but still I am almost done with this foray into an English wood.

As a nature lover, I was stunned to learn that the new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary decided to drop about forty words, all pertaining to nature. They deemed these words not essential, not used enough by children to warrant their place in the dictionary, and were replaced by tech words like blog, cut and paste, voicemail. The list of lost words included so many of my favorites things! Dandelion, acorn, bluebell, fern, magpie, otter, willow- all gone from the dictionary, but hopefully not from the minds of the people who use it. Author Robert MacFarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris have created their own book, a place for these words to live on, called The Lost Words. This book is amazingly beautiful, with gorgeous full page artwork illustrations, and poems designed to capture the readers mind and imagination, to keep the words and what they represent alive. It is one of my favorite books, and I love getting it out and looking through it with my son.

I imagine I will keep this up, reading more of Lewis-Stempel and MacFarlane and whoever else I run into on the way. They are amazing tributes to our natural world and inspirational, encouraging me in their way to get outside sometimes and enjoy the wonders of nature, away from my phone and my computer and television. To look and listen and watch and be a part of that world too. And maybe one day I’ll even get to England!

My Favorite Reads of 2018

Hey all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, if you celebrate! We were so busy – a very fun busy, but busy! Wyatt had a blast this year, which means that we did too.

As the year draws to a close, I thought back to all the books I read this year. It was definitely a year of Jenny Colgan and Karen White – I found their backlists and just went crazy. Also this year I really found a love of reading nature books. I am really enjoying the different persepectives it has given me, and how they have started shaping my family’s life in a different way, one that has more of an emphasis on the outdoors and nature. We always loved nature and being outside, but I am learning how to incorporate that more – sometimes by letting some other things go. But before I get too philosophical here, that is all talk for another post, let’s take a peek at my favorite books that I read this year, in no particular order.

Christmas on the Island – I wanted to pick just one Colgan book, and this one was the winner. I simply loved it.

Virgil Wander – This might be my very favorite of them all.

The Impossible Girl – Lydia Kang never fails to disappoint me. She writes such unique stories that I can’t stop reading.

I read quite a few YA books too – I usually do. These three really stuck out for me.

All the Little Lights – Holy crap, this book blew me away! I wish I could read it all over again without knowing the end just so I can feel that same way.

Truly, Devious – I finished this and it ends on a cliffhanger!! Is the next one out yet?? I need to read it!

Nevernight – My husband wanted me to read this and I fell in love with this crazy world. For me it was like Harry Potter for assassins…

This Fallen Prey – I love this series so much. I love the whole premise of a place where people can go to disappear. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Flight Patterns – Again, hard to choose a favorite but this was the chosen one. Just so much love and tears in this book. I got my mom hooked on reading White too!

The Girl in the Tower – The very first book I read this year, and it was beautiful. I love the beauty and the fairy tale of it all.

And finally, The Nature Fix. This book was kind of life changing, actually. I had my husband read it too, and it shifted our perspective on what is important and how we really want to live our lives. A really cool book, full of so much information. Loved it.

And there you have it!! What books did you read that you loved this year?

Our Favorite Halloween Reads

 I love Halloween! One thing I love doing is hitting the library for Halloween books for the boy. Some of the ones we get are new, some of them you need a wayback machine for. These are the ones that I have made sure to grab, because they were my favorites growing up, and while they may not look as sleek and shiny and flashy, they are still great stories!

Samurai Scarecrow was a new addition to our holiday reading this year, as was Duck and Goose. I loved both, although they were very different. Samurai Scarecrow had great illustrations, while Duck and Goose was a Wyatt pick – he loves Duck and Goose. A lot. It was a long book so be warned. Lol.

Gus was a Friendly Ghost and Georgie’s Halloween are my two old favorites. I simply adore these sweet little ghosts. I also love the other Georgie books too. I know Gus has other books but I haven’t read them. I probably should!

Happy Halloween Witch’s Cat is super cool!! It is well loved here, both for the story and for the art, which is three dimensional and multi-media (I think this is the right way to describe it!) The author, Muncaster, is a miniaturist, who made tiny miniatures and then photographed them as the accompanying illustrations.

Room on the Broom and Click Clack Boo are just great reads. Simply put, Wyatt just loves sitting in my lap listening to them. Finally, A Dark, Dark Tale I picked up at a garage sale for its kind of creepy art. It doesn’t disappoint!

As for me, around Halloween I usually turn to books about witches and ghosts. These are a few of my top favorite witchy witch books and series. I am always looking for more, so please hit me with your recommendations!

 

How about you? Are you a seasonal reader? Any favorites? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

What Wyatt’s Reading: August Wrap Up

What

Happy Read a Book Day!

It has been a long time since I posted one of these, and I figured today would be a great day to celebrate some of the books Wyatt and I have been reading. We read so many books over the summer! Wyatt loves to read, I have stashes of books for him all over the house for him to pull out and look through. He is so cute, he will riffle through the pages, point to pictures, and say, “Oooh mom, ooh!” My reader’s heart loves that he loves books. These are some of the top winners that we read together in August.

These were a few that we particularly loved last month. Wyatt went everywhere for a while carrying Eric Carle’s Do You Want to Be My Friend, and also really loved Big Bear, Small Mouse and The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. I remember loving Eric Carle as a kid too, it is so neat to see that Wyatt really enjoys him as well. I loved Full Moon Lore and An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth, especially the latter. I think these will all have to be added to our permanent collection! Full Moon Lore just was so informative, and I loved the accompanying pictures, while Extraordinary Ordinary Moth was a wonderful story about finding beauty in the ordinary. I loved it to pieces. We bought Flowers Are Calling while we were on vacation, and that is another really cool book. The illustrations were beautiful, and it was full of interesting facts. I even learned a thing or two – like some flowers have caffeine and bees enjoy it! Being a coffee addict myself, I totally get it bees!

We have already kicked off September with quite a few reads, and in the past two days 9 of our holds have come in at the library, so we will be reading a whole lot more.

Any picture books on here that you have read, either with a child or as a child? What were some of your childhood favorites?

The Sunday Post/It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date
Hi guys! It is my first book post over here, rather than on Quixotic Magpie. I think it will be much easier to keep everything on the same page, if you will…
We just got back from a family vacation in Northern Michigan, one of my favorite places on Earth. Michigan is truly beautiful, with so many different landscapes. We had a great time and I have some of our adventures to share with you later this week!
We did have a slight hiccup when we got home though. My husband’s car caught fire as he was driving it through a construction zone on I-75 through Detroit. It was pretty terrifying to hear about, but he is completely fine. He is a quick thinker and managed to stop the car and get to safety. The car is gone but that is ok. The firefighters on the scene think it was an electrical fire that started somewhere.
IMG_20180808_090505551
On to the books!
Read Last Week:
These two books were delightful! I especially loved The Late Bloomers’ Club. I love a small town, and Guthrie was just the type I would love to live in.
Reading This Week:
As August starts to come to an end, I find myself being pulled in the direction of more fall reading. The weather here is still summer, but I am beginning to dream of autumn. I see the pumpkin beer and cider on the store shelves, the Halloween decor, the cooler nights, and I can’t wait! Fall is definitely my favorite season, and I am so looking forward to jeans and sweater weather.
I am really enjoying The Hawkweed Prophecy! I received the second book in the series as a review book, and checked this first one out from the library to read before I started it. And I love it. And Dear Bob and Sue is a pick for one of my online book clubs. I am looking forward to reading it – I am hoping for a A Walk in the Woods type feel!
Watching:
Insatiable which has a very 90s feel that I love, Red Oaks on Amazon Prime, Orange is the New Black, and the newest season of Death in Paradise. ( I love that show!)
How about you all? What has been going on with you?
Also, I don’t know why this post is all squished when I didn’t type it that way. Any ideas? Thanks!