Sunday, 21 October 2007
Books, books and more books.
This is Blog 101. I did not realise that the previous one was the century. I have been blogging now for six months, am still enjoying it and hope there will be many more to come.
I'll start with Blessings today.
We have had sunny but chilly mornings and even colder nights recently but the mists have hung in the valleys, they are the oceans of magic that we look forward to each year. I shall never forget when I was first an incomer to this fine country and I encountered this phenomenon from my smallholding, on my own high vantage point. Visitors to Wales revel in the sight, it hits them deep inside as well, such is its beauty.
The repair of my computer and the removal of all its nasties (fingers crossed they don‘t come back).
A good novel. I have just enjoyed Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris.
Our new bread maker which has just produced its first delicious loaf. And thanks to all those people who recommended a Panasonic.
And finally I don’t often stick a poem in as a blessing in itself, but this one is by Seamus Heaney, my daughter sent it to me recently and it’s one I hadn’t come across before.
I think it ‘so deep and so full’ as all good poetry should be.
My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.
An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck
Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.
I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.
I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.
I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.
I started off intending to write about sounds, my most-loved, memory-inducing, that sort of thing. It’s a piece of homework that I should have done ages ago for a fellow blogger. As I said, I’ve just finished Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris and was browsing my (home) bookshelves for something to read, as, quite unlike me, I have neglected to bring anything back from the library. I came upon on a book, then another and ended up bringing a wee pile back to bed, (Sunday mornings what a treat they are).
As I lay in bed, through the window I can see frost, but rays of sunlight are peeping through the mist on the field. It’s going to be another perfect autumn day so I decide not to waste too much of it with my head in a book.
I start thinking of Books I Have Loved and remember that is another piece of ’homework’ that I am meant to have done so I set to and make a list.
Here it is:
The first book I just want to mention is one called The House on Beartown Road, by Elizabeth Cohen. It's a memoir written by an American woman who is caring for her father, who has Alzheimer’s, at the same time as she is bringing up her young child. It sounds like a depressing book but it is a real gem and a positive one that will stay in your memory long after you have read it. Especially if you have a member of your family with this disease, but even if you don’t I would recommend it.
I know a few ‘carers’ sometimes read this blog and I have just heard a wonderful book on the radio, Blue Sky July by Nia Wyn. It is a Welsh publication and is set in Cardiff; it was Radio 4’s Book of The Week last week and was written by a woman caring for her son who has cerebral palsy. The writing is poetic and I recommend it highly. Siriol Jenkins narrated it on the radio and she did it so beautifully.
Back to the list:
(Books I Have Loved)
Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. As a child I enjoyed this one, it brought a family to me and sisters that I would have loved to have had.
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I always loved animal stories. I still re-read this sometimes, it’s more than just a tale about animals of course.
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. This book alone would have converted me to feminism when I was growing up.
The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier. For me this book was better than any therapy could have been. It is written for adoptive parents and for those adopted ‘children’ so it will help them understand why they feel as they do, being all about bonding, scarring and loss.
Twenty Years A Growing by Maurice O’Sullivan. An Irish classic. One of many.
Talking of Irish writers:
Anything by Edna O’Brien. She writes so lyrically. I started many years ago with her Country Girls Trilogy.
And now a Canadian writer.
Unless by the late Carol Shields. When she died a few years ago it was a very sad loss to the literary world. She was one of my favourite authors.
Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. An American classic, one of my all time favourites.
Read, dream, savour.
I’ll finish with a couple of New Age type books, first an American-Irish writer, Sarah Ban Breathnach. Anything by her is a joy to read. Start with Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy. If it is positivity you are looking for, she is your woman.
Another writer I would recommend is Gill Edwards. Try her Living Magically, all about creative visualisation and positivity. I lent this book to a friend once and she said it changed her life.
Obviously there are loads of titles that haven’t sprung to mind, books that might mean more to me and that I would loved to have made mention of. There will be other blogs, I can add one or two at a later date. I might, in true librarian mode, start recommending books more often. One of the (many) joys of my job are the borrowers who tell me about books they have read, or ones they have heard about and are wanting to order. This way gems are uncovered and shared.
The sun is getting stronger now and it’s now shining on me, full on, almost nagging me with its insistence to come out from under the covers and to get up and get moving and to stop dreaming about books,
But before I go I feel another quick poem coming on, an old one of my own this time.
Because looking out of the study window I see two of these.
Will she hang on to Christmas
or is her blooming over?
Once young and dewy,
frail and fragile.
Then, maturing, she was lush and luxuriant,
prized and proud.
Fading now, a late October Rose is rare,
so all the more special
in the newly-misted garden.
Not red, nor blowsy,
too old for blushing, yet still young enough to pick.
Still beauteous of colour, still romantic.
With scent enough to sate the senses
Still inspiring a crush, or rush of love,
thus charming all who seek her out,
be they very young, or be they like the rose
who’s nearly past her prime.
Cherish her, for she is still in bloom,
clinging on to youth and beauty,
though her petals fall so quickly now.
Soon she’ll be a sucker gone to seed.
or cast away.
Bye for now,