Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: new reads

The Mayfair Bookshop: New Read

Four non-fiction books in a row means it’s high time for a novel, especially since I finished my previous read the night before a holiday. And this time it’s The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight! Why did I choose this book? Well…that’s a bit of a story.

My TBR shelf has turned into shelves, and you know that’s not allowed. Generally, I keep my TBR to one shelf, but with the windfall I accumulated a couple years ago due to a friend’s sudden move out of state (and she had to leave her books behind), I’ve allowed myself more than one shelf for a while now. I swore (a not so solemn oath) that I would read the books I had before I bought any more, but alas, here we are.

In my defense I have slowed down and this month promised I would refrain from purchasing the darlings and make an attempt at whittling down the pile, and then we went to Costco.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t usually buy any books there, but I do almost always peruse the stacks, just in case. There are sometimes fun novels there that beg to be taken home. Honest, they beg. I hear them.

This time as we moved toward the aisle where my precious coffee is located, my husband glanced down at the cart and looked back at me. “What’s this?” I smiled. “A moral imperative.” He laughed. “Why these ones?” I point to the words on the covers, “bookshop” and “library.” “Ah, I see.” I cannot resist a book about books and readers. They’re like friends coming to visit. He knows this.

At the checkout, I had to rescue them before he threw them on the conveyor belt right along with the meat and frozen vegetables. Seriously.

I posted on Instagram that I had begun a beautiful Easter Sunday (although I had forgotten it was Easter until I opened Facebook) with this fun book and several extra cups of coffee. That post led me to receive a comment from the author herself, which thrilled me to the bone.

I read for three hours yesterday morning, and my first thoughts were, “Charming.” and “I’m in love with these characters.” Last night, when I couldn’t fall asleep, I thought I’d get up and read a bit and see if that helped. I sat down, opened the book, “No, wait. I need a cup of tea.” Put the book aside to start the kettle, went back to get the book and read while my tea steeped.

I imagined the characters becoming exasperated with my indecision. “Is she going to read, or not?” I’m sure they are all in there waiting, their action paused, for me to pick the book back up. I wonder what they do while they wait.

This morning, I’m already halfway through this delicious book and I’ll probably read a bit more before I start the rest of my day. You know, the part of the day I spend off the couch, outside a book. The boring part!

I’m sorry Ms. Knight, but I do have one complaint. I feel compelled to add all the books you mention in your story to my TBR list. And call me ignorant, but I didn’t realize this was historical fiction when I picked it up, and that Nancy Mitford was a real author. So, thanks for that!

That’s sarcasm in case it didn’t come across that way. Almost every book I read adds two or three more books to my list. Reading is never-ending entertainment and information accumulation. And a TBR list is always one step forward and two steps back, or three, or four. It’s beautiful.

I have many Costco adventures. Click over to Shopping Cart Antics for more!

Want to read more of my thoughts on this gem of a book? Try Beautifully Relatable Characters.

“The Invisible Life of Addie Larue”

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue book cover on desert junk pile.
Even a Junk Pile can be Pretty

A big giant “Thank You!” goes to The Orang-utan Librarian for bringing “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V.E. Schwab to my attention. When I read the review I immediately added it to my wish list right and then…magically…I happened across a Barnes & Noble that was…wait for it…OPEN and I wandered inside.

The Starbucks wasn’t open, so it wasn’t perfect, but it was damn close so I’m not going to quibble over details.

I took a deep breath as I walked in the door and began wandering around. Civilization.

Like I’ve said before, I try not to buy books on a whim. There are just too many books to read in this world to just jump in willy-nilly. Besides, my resources (time and money) are not infinite. As I browsed the shelves cautiously, like an animal that hasn’t eaten in so long that it’s forgotten what food is, I remembered the wish list on my phone and got it out.

I got three books that day, all from the list, and “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” was the first cover I recognized and picked up.

I wouldn’t have got it from the title, but reading the review I was instantly reminded of Beauty and the Beast. “Far off places, a daring swordfight, a prince in disguise!” The book is about none of those things, but it is magical, involves a girl wanting more than her village and a bookstore. I’m SO in!

I’ll be attempting to savor this book, but I bet I’ll wolf it down like tacos with ketchup, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it within the next few weeks. As always, I’ll be adding my first thoughts about the book in my monthly email newsletter, which you can only enjoy if you sign up for it at the link below!

Want to want to read more posts related to this book?

Why My Personal Story Telling Helps Me Stay Connected
Ultimately, Most Life Choices Are Just Best Guesses
What Is The Key to Understanding Love?
My Empty Nest is Not the End of the World, But I Could Use a Hug

” The Philosophy of Peace”

Philosophy of Peace book cover at a fireplace.

I picked up “The Philosophy of Peace” by John Somerville to read next. I wanted to end the month on a non-fiction note and decided this title had a nice positive ring to it. Since this book was picked up out of the pile of books I adopted from a friend, I really have nothing else to go on other than the title, so I did a quick search of the “interwebs” before I started to read it and found very little other than the book for sale across the web. Strange.

From the book itself, I see it has a copywrite of 1949. The dedication says,

Philosophy of Peace dedication.

So far so good, I suppose. We haven’t had another thing called a World War since, but we have been constantly at war all over the world, so there’s that.

There’s an inscription inside as well, and you know how much I love that.

Philosophy of Peace inscription by someone who gave the book as a gift.

I love this. Where are Mr. & Mrs. Martin Haisler and Edward W. Gray now? Why did he give this book to them? The book was published in 1949. What was it like in Hollywood, Florida then? What did they do for a living? How old were they?

If I could make a law, I’d say you have to write something in any book you read about who you are and why you are reading it or why you’re giving it. In fact, I’ve been giving books as gifts for years and from now on, instead of ordering them sent, I’m going to buy them, write a note inside and then send it personally. Time traveling again!

In search of more information about the book and author, I went directly to Wikipedia and they don’t have a page on this author. Amazon has the book listed under a used book seller with no details. The only thing I found was an obituary from the LA Times from 1994.

I’m sitting down with this, the day my youngest baby leaves the nest, with a cup of coffee and finding out what I can. Maybe it’s simply no longer relevant? That happens.

You can find “The Philosophy of Peace,” a revised edition with introductory letters from Einstein and Mann, at Thriftbooks. I’d love to see that book and compare it to my original version. If you decide to read it, let me know in the comments!

I’ve written a few posts about quotes and ideas that I found interesting as I read. Please go over and give them a read. You may find yourself wanting to read the book too…or just come argue with me.
Open and Honest Discussion of Any Ideology is the Best Cure
Can This Cardinal Rule Apply to Any Discussion?


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

“The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age”

The Pleasures of Reading book on a bookshelf background.

“The Pleasures of Reading…”

The title, “The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age,” sounds so deliciously pretentious! I love it!

I take a lot of pleasure in reading but I haven’t taken a “literature” class since public high school and I never had any intention of taking one again. Yes, I’m a bit of a book snob. THAT book is trash, THIS one is a classic. But honestly, I know what one reads is just a matter of personal taste. I’m 40 pages into this and now I want to take an actual class and see what happens. It’s on my to-do list to look a free one up online.

You’re going to laugh, but I’m not much of a deep reader. I choose to read what I like. If I pick up something and I find it too hard to read or unenjoyable for some reason, I put it down. There are just too many books out there to read. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad book or completely useless, though. It just isn’t what I need at the moment. I have started to read things that drove me bonkers and only to come back to them years later and devoured them. Like that guy you knew in high school and fought with daily, but you meet years later and fall in love…shit…too many romance novels lately!

This book is one of those more difficult reads. It has big words! I have to pay closer attention to understand and much of what he’s talking about is beyond me. That’s why I want to take a class. I feel like I understand what I’m reading intuitively but I’d like to understand on a more academic level. I’d like to see what they see and know the historical and philosophical significance of the more serious books that I dive into.

“Literary language is an intricate, inventively designed vehicle for setting the mind in restless pleasing motion, which in the best of cases may give us a kind of experiential knowledge relevant to our lives outside of reading.”

The Pleasures of reading in an ideological age by robert alter

Sometimes we read to get information, like newspapers, nonfiction, magazine articles, and manuals. Sometimes we read to escape from life for a bit; “dime store” novels and pulp fiction. But other times we read to experience a world, a relationship, a feeling outside our own. We use what we learn in those hours of lives glimpsed through the pages of a book in our own lives.

That’s why we read, Charlie Brown!


Find “The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age” on Thriftbooks and read along with me. If you do, be sure to comment so I know you’re out there. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’ve written some posts about the book, thoughts on quotes and ideas triggered while I was reading.
Can the Free Association of Writing Help You Find Yourself?
The Love of Classic Books Can Help Humanity Be More Empathetic
Cultural Literacy is the Key to Communication on the Internet


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

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