Sunday, December 14, 2014

Literary Gardens, Quotable Quotes

I can't believe how fast time is going... I've missed being on my own blog, and visiting anyone else's over the past month. I don't like being overly busy, or using "I'm so busy" as an excuse for anything, since I do make a conscious effort not to be too *busy* in my life. However, I've both been busy and feeling a distinct lack of blogging mojo lately...thankfully I've had two books to read in the meantime that have hit the spot of being both entertaining and easy on a scattered brain.

The first, The Writer's Garden : how gardens inspired our best-loved authors, by Jackie Bennett (and photos by Richard Hanson), is a beautiful coffee table book on the gardens of a select group of British writers. Featured are authors ranging from Thomas Hardy to Jane Austen to Rudyard Kipling to Virginia Woolf -- twenty in all. Although the book is set up to include only a minimum of text on each of the writers, and does most certainly not include scandal or gossip, there is enough of interest to read as well as look at. Bennett shares a list of books written while the author was in residence alongside each garden, and updates the current status of each (many are now National Trust properties).

Imagining these writers in their gardens, building and tending their gardens, really made them feel like regular folk, concerned with dirt and bugs and blooms. I enjoyed flipping through this one, examining a different garden each time, and seeing all of the beautiful English landscapes. It features large and lovely colour photos, on good paper, and makes for a really nice reading experience.

I am really an armchair gardener; I tend to like looking at gardens much more than actually planting or tending them, and this was a perfect blend for me (as it was for some of the featured authors, who used hired gardeners and simply enjoyed the results!)

This would be an amazing book for a Christmas present for a gardener, if you are still looking for last minute picks... it should inspire throughout the winter ahead, and provide some visual relief when a reader is just so tired of all the white snow outside the window! For a more thorough review by a real reading gardener, check out Stefanie at So Many Books' thoughts.


The second read is one I received from a small press, Ulysses Press. I first heard of them when they sent me a recent book on animal mandalas that I thought was really pretty, and a great activity book for adults.

This book, though, is called Daily Zen Doodles, and it's just the thing when you're tired and suffering from brain drain at night. Each page has a simple sketch that can be coloured, or doodled on or within, allowing you to take a relaxing moment for yourself.

There is also an inspirational quote on each page, which you can read and then meditate on while you colour. I am a quote junkie -- I love a pithy sentence -- so this was my favourite thing about this book. 365 quotes! And many that weren't familiar to me. It's great because even if you do eventually colour in all of the doodles, you can still enjoy the quotes and of course your own great artwork ;) This would also be a nice Christmas gift for someone who likes to take a little quiet time for themselves -- wrap it up with a pack of nice new pencil crayons and it's a little shot of self-care all in one.

8 comments:

  1. Melwyk,

    I do understand having too much going on to blog at times. It is good to have you back.

    Both of these books would make lovely gifts for others, or for yourself. Thank you for presenting them.

    Looking forward to posting my First Lines soon! :)

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    1. Time does seem to fly at this time of year! It can be really tiring...but I am glad I'm back to reading and blogging more regularly :) Looking forward to your First Lines as well!

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  2. The Writer's Garden looks a gorgeous book to drool over

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    1. Very much so! Perfect to dream over on cold nights :)

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  3. Glad you enjoyed The Writer's Garden! The Zen book looks like nice relaxing fun which is sounds like you have needed. Sorry you've been so busy. I hope things slow down a bit for you soon!

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    1. Thanks! or maybe I need to speed up to catch up...nah...

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  4. I'm a quote junky, too. I have a notebook full of wise sayings and thoughtful sentences garnered from the books I've read over the years. Daily Zen Doodles sounds like the kind of book I should just buy. :) Glad you're back! Hope your holidays are less hectic.

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    1. I also have a few notebooks full of quotes that I've kept since university. Lots of good rereading there! And yes, I am looking forward to a much more relaxed holiday, whew.

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Thanks for stopping by ~ I hope you will leave your comments and reflections to let me know what you think!