looking forward

There are two three books coming out in the next few months that I am very very excited about... 

The first, One-Woman Farm: My Life Shared with Sheep, Pigs, Chickens, Goats, and a Fine Fiddle by Jenna Woginrich, will be on the shelves November 5. I just found out about it a few weeks ago and was happy to learn I didn't have long to wait. After hearing Woginrich speak at the Mother Earth News Fair last fall, I fairly quickly devoured two of her books, Barnheart and Made from Scratch. And they both earned a place on my favorites list.

I happily just discovered (as I'm looking up links and images for this post, no joke) that she has yet another book due out next June! This one is a collection essays, which I'm not usually a fan of, but Woginrich is such an engaging writer that I think I would enjoy it. The title is Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead.

And now for the book I am most excited about: One Realm Beyond, the first in a new series (Realm Walkers) by Donita K. Paul. I have read all of her fantasy novels so far--all eight of them--and upon finishing the last one this past spring, was very sad to see them end. But, being the stalker that I am, I noticed a Pinterest board of Paul's called Bixby Styling that appeared to be dedicated to a new character. Which could only mean one thing. Sure enough, her new book hits the shelves on January 28! (synopsis available on the author's website)


words borrowed from Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

--Wendell Berry (from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997)


The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1)

Robert Jordan

This seems to be one of those series that people either love or hate--for some, both--but I find myself somewhere in the middle. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it took me more than a month to read just the first book. It is easy to get lost in all the (brilliantly woven) details of a 657-page book when one keeps interrupting it to peruse several other novels in-between.

Rand alThor is content to herd sheep on his father's farm just outside the village of Two Rivers, but strange visitors uproot everything he knows. Trollocs seem to be hunting him and two other boys, and so they must flee, setting off on an adventure with more questions than answers and discovering that the gleeman's stories were not all fairy tales.



to awake early
while the night-things still sing
watch the grey-brown doe bound
from edge of yard
as mist yet glides upon reflections

turn creaking spigot and wait
for gurgling halting water to reach
mouth of hose and shower herbs
even before the sun crests the mountains
oh, to arise in those fragile moments
when only humans are silent

arise, my soul, and sing with the dawn
join in with chirruping chorus
allow feet the lightness to leap
across dewy field as the doe
until the Sun draws out your wings
then, soar


Burning Sky

Lori Benton

After reading so much fantasy, much as I enjoy it, this historical romance was a refreshing change of pace. 

Willa Obenchain was kidnapped by Mohawk Indians when she was 14 and given the name Burning Sky--but unlike most Indian-abduction novels, this book picks up Willa's story as she returns to her parents' homestead 12 years later. Upon crossing the boundary marker, she discovers an unconscious Scotsman and, further on, the Obenchains' abandoned farm. Although she appears fearless as she fights to discover the truth about her parents and hold onto the land they left behind, her greatest challenge is to let herself love again after experiencing so much loss.

words borrowed from Mary Oliver

I was on a poetry kick the other day (notice I even added a fifth book to my reading list...), and happened upon this gem of a poem by Mary Oliver, who writes about so much more than just a mockingbird. Which is, sadly, the one bird I don't have a picture of.

The Mockingbird

All summer
the mockingbird
In his pearl-gray coat
and his white-windowed wings

from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing, but it's neither
lilting nor lovely,

for he is the thief of other sounds -
whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges
plus all the songs
of other birds in his neighborhood;

mimicking and elaborating,
he sings with humor and bravado,
so I have to wait a long time
for the softer voice of his own life

to come through. He begins
by giving up all his usual flutter
and settling down on the pine's forelock
then looking around

as though to make sure he's alone;
then he slaps each wing against his breast, 
where his heart is,
and, copying nothing, begins

easing into it
as though it was not half so easy
as rollicking,
as though his subject now

was his true self,
which of course was as dark and secret 
as anyone else's,
and it was too hard -

perhaps you understand -
to speak or to sing it
to anything or anyone
but the sky.

--Mary Oliver


what happened to the book reviews?

I realize that it's been a while since my last book review, and for that I apologize. It's not that I tried to read too many books at once (four is a lot, I suppose) so much as I failed to prioritize them and therefore went back and forth between them without gaining any progress on anything. Live and learn. So, without further adieu, here is what you have to look forward to:

By the end of the week, I will post a review for Burning Sky, followed shortly by The Eye of the World (finally). Priceless Stones is a daily devotional and will therefore take a bit more time yet, as will The Jesus I Never Knew, which I am reading through with a group from church. And in case you missed it, all of these books are on my "what I'm reading" list over there. >>>

So what comes next? I'll let you know as soon as I do--I have an overflowing to-read shelf on my bookcase, so whatever strikes my fancy when I finish The Eye of the World. If there's a book from one of my book hauls (haul 1 and 2) that you really want to see a review for, let me know and I'll prioritize it. :)


book haul!

Yes, again. :) That book sale is still going on, and the price of hard bound books dropped to 50 cents, so of course we went back. And this time we bought eight books (it was a joint effort between my husband and me). There really isn't much of a story behind any of these, except my husband likes Khaled Hosseini and Brian Jacques, we both enjoyed the Eragon series, I thought the other two paperbacks looked interesting, and the encyclopedia is pretty. I can't seem to leave a book sale without a pretty book...

Look at this pretty encyclopedia! Just pretend it's something magical, like the fairy tale the cover makes you want to believe it contains.


book haul!

This week a local used bookstore is having a warehouse sale, so of course I had to go! After more than an hour of perusing the tables and tables and tables of books, I finally left (to my husband's relief) with these five gems, for less than four dollars. 

I bought Animal Dreams to add to my Barbara Kingsolver collection even though I've already read it, I saw the movie Chocolat a few years ago but have never read the book, and Mountains Beyond Mountains was recommended to me a while back. My husband picked out the Great Cases of Sherlock Holmes, and that little tiny book on top is a parable-like story called Help in Need that from what I can gather was published in the late 1800s. It's old and pretty, and only cost me a dollar. :)



what is this kingdom buried beneath the ground?
forests, cities, draperies of stone
glittering in the torchlight
as shadows dance just out of reach
and reflected in the pool a tiny castle on a hill
fairy tales in the dark
the drip, drip, drip of time's great architect
that we can never fully comprehend
what stories lie here waiting to be gleaned

This poem is a great example of what happens when a fantasy-obsessed person tours a cavern. I was suddenly walking through the chapters of an unwritten book (or perhaps nature has written it).