...from a BookLover

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Joys of Summer Vacation

It has been years since the last time I was back home during the summer months. Since we bought our house in the south of Norway, my family has been visiting us instead for a couple of weeks each summer. This time, however, it is the other way around. Which is nice. I have been looking forward to spending the days outside in the sun with a book, quarreling a tiny bit with my brothers and sister (just for old times sake), visiting my grandparents, catching up with friends, meeting my godson again and so on. There are some new family members to get to know and a new little hut to visit with friends. My boyfriend will enjoy fishing with his dad and I will watch some movies with my mum and sister. Now, we are supposed to do some work on my parents' house as well - but hey, that can prove fun, too!

A quite different task that is awaiting me back home is sifting through my boxes... My mum recently excavated a lot of stuff from the storage room that we are now going to redecorate. I sincerely mean "excavated", because oh my! was there a lot of stuff in there! She found my mineral collection, boxes with (for the moment) unidentifiable items, heaps of random stuff and...my childhood books!

My mum always read a lot for us when we were kids. So, obviously, we do have a lot of children's books. I love them all dearly, so I am bringing a lot of them with me to my house. This summer I am hoping to find the most treasured ones, too: There are two children's books I remember distinctly from when I was very little - they were my all-time favourites. When I was about ten years old, we moved house. As I was rather through with reading them at this age, I packed them down in a box - and I have never seen them again. Quite the mystery. Surely, they have to be in one of my boxes somewhere? I do hope I will find them. Fingers crossed!

You guys might remember them from your childhood? One was a Postman Pat book, and the other one a Norwegian Trolls' book:
"Trolls" by Rolf Lidberg - I love the pictures!

Two weeks will pass too quickly, I predict, so it will be time to head home before I know it. Luckily my family will join us in our home for a whole third week. It will be a good summer!

Oh, by the way - I have brought these books with me as my holiday reads - hopefully there will be plenty of happy reading moments in the days ahead 

"One day" by David Nicholls

What are you bringing with you on your summer vacation?

"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" by Tiffany Baker

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Ever heard a cheetah purr...?

As I have mentioned before, my boyfriend and I have volunteered a couple of times. One of the trips was to "Cheetah Experience" in Bloemfontein, South-Africa.

Cheetah Experience is a park for cheetahs, leopards, lions, caracals, servals, wolves and lions started by one amazing woman - Riana. She runs the park with help from Rene and Lizaene and many others. It is a non-profitable organization that really tries to help the animals. Both the Cheetah and the Leopard is endangered in the wild, so the breeding programs in this park help with keeping their numbers up. Riana's deepest wish is to be able to set the animals out into the wild sometime in the future, so some of the animals are not tame. Well, when you talk about big cats there is no such thing as a tame cat. Many of them are handraised, yes, but where the big cats are concerned you can never be completely at ease. Their shear strength is enough to topple you and they remain wild at hearts. Which is also the way it is supposed to be. They are amazing, funny, adorable, frightening, cute and lovable creatures you will never see the like of. Once you hear a cheetah purr in your lap or a tigercub puff to you as it twirls around your legs - your life is changed forever. There is no going back - the love for these fabulous creatures will leave an imprint in your heart.

I cannot wait to go back there and meet all the then tiny, now huge, cats again. And the people, of course! You feel so welcomed by the staff - it will be like returning to a second home the next time I get to visit.

Every day has a special moment

I have been writing a diary for about a year now. It is one of those "five-years-in-one-book"-diaries. You know, those with only 4 lines to fill in every day? The idea was that I might actually manage this one... You see, whenever I have attempted to keep a diary in the past the diary has out-grown me. Literally. I can easily write 4 pages each day - which is impossible to keep up over time. I simply get tired of writing as it is too time-consuming. So far this kind of a diary has been working out well (apart from a missed day here and there, that is). I must confess that it is tremendous fun to be able to look back on days and see what I did or thought the same day last year. I imagine it will be even more fun when I have several years to look back at! 

Anyhow, you can write a diary in different ways. One idea I particularly like is to each day write down the happiest/best moment of that day. What a wonderful thing to have and enjoy in the years to come! Perhaps I should give this a proper try one day...

I can share my happiest moment today with you (to give you an example):
My boyfriend and I visited my gran (who has been sick this weekend) today. We made her dinner and brought a flower and some snacks - she has not eaten properly in three days. As I showed her the flower she gave me a long hug and told me how much she loved and appreciated us - and she thanked us so much for being there and looking after her. I feel ever so lucky for being able to do just that, so this made the top of my list for today's happy moments 

A magical moment a few weeks ago.
What was your happiest moment today?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

England is all about books

England is the perfect place to go book-hunting. Firstly, almost all the books are obviously in English (I prefer reading English books - I find the language so much richer than Norwegian). Secondly, there are just so many bookstores and markets there! I love roaming about on markets and second-hand bookstores. I can linger by some tables or shelves filled with books in a far-away corner for a long time just looking for the perfect book - or books, as I normally emerge from such a place with more than one...! I have found some really lovely books over there. Whenever I visit England I tend to bring back home a suitcase filled with books. Did you know that 30 or so books are really heavy?! I guess you do..

Last summer we drove around England. On the way we encountered this little booktown - Hay-on-Wye. Wherever you turned you found yourself on the doorstep of a shop filled with books of all kinds. You even found books outside up stairs and in backyards. It was an amazing experience! I definitely have to go back.

Hay-on-Wye hosts a big literature festival each year. It is so popular that I was told you had to book your accomodation a really long time in advance. Like, a really long time. I am thinking it would be worth it, though, just to be there and meet all the book enthusiasts that surely find their way there. Imagine the fun!

One of the many books I picked up was this:
Is it not lovely? I simply had to bring it with me.

A link to the festival (if you are interested):

Friday, 22 June 2012

My current "Happy song"

As it is Friday, I thought I would share my favourite song for the moment. I can listen to this song for hours... There is something in the melody I simply love, and Fever Ray has an amazing voice.

Listening to this is the perfect beginning of my weekend.

Fever Ray 'Keep The Streets Empty For Me'

The song was used in "Red Riding Hood" (2011) - along with another one of her songs, 'The Wolf'. I really like the movie. There really is no certainty until the end of it and the way they have twisted the story around is truly interesting. I love watching good movies again, and I cannot wait to show this one to my mum and sister this summer!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The perfect place

When you just cannot wait to open a book...
Some places are simply destined for a good read. They speak to you - enchanten you to pick up a book and sit down. Whether on a pebbly beach, in the middle of a meadow, on top of a roof or in a window with a view - you really ought to give in to those whispers if you have the slightest chance. Such a place can give you a wonderful pause in time. Ordinary life disappears for a while and you enter a world of magic adventures and fantastic stories - with faeries, foreign kingdoms, princes and princesses, ghosts, journeys, laughter, love, mysteries, speaking animals, epic battles, friendship, monsters, pirates, cities, detectives and so much more. All depending on the story you have chosen to bring with you.


Amazing pictures by Duane Bryers

A precious moment in The John Rylands Library in Manchester
Photograph by Audun Nygaard

 A girl reading in The John Rylands Library

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Have a cup of Tea

I do love my cuppa tea! I find that however bad life gets - a cup of tea will always help a little or a lot. Boiling water, choosing the flavour and the simple act of making a cup of tea helps. Holding the warm cup in my hands, smelling the lovely scents and watching the haze of the steam - that helps even more. Everything just makes perfect sense for a couple of precious moments. Sometimes those moments are all I need to find my balance again.

Sometimes a cup of tea is needed to solve mysteries. At least, thats what Mma Ramotswe swears by. She is the female detective in Alexander McCall Smith's books about "The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" in Botswana. Mma Ramotswe solves mysteries by thinking, noticing details, driving about asking questions and simply sitting outside her office with a cup of Rooibos tea. She is such a wise and kind lady - you instantly care about her. The books are filled with gentle humour and surprising stories. 

You get to know Africa a little bit better just by reading them. I have pinned a needle to Gaborone, Botswana. I hope to visit the town and see it for myself. Perhaps even sit on a porch somewhere there and drink a cup of Rooibos tea.

Monday, 18 June 2012

My Library

“It’s my favourite! Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise...” - Belle

There is something about libraries. When I first saw our house I instantly knew where my library would be. That room! So, after moving in - first thing first - the shelves to my new library was bought and set up. It took a day or two until everything was set, but then I could start figuring out where to put which book. A pure delight! I spent hours in that room pondering where I wanted fantasy, kidlit, novels, school books, encyclopedias and so on. Of course, after three years most of them have been moved (and moved yet again) due to lack of space (I swear books grow - three years ago there was plenty of space in there...!). One exception, though - my fantasy books. They are still on the shelves I first put them, perhaps because fantasy is my favourite genre and so got the prime place in the room from the very beginning.

Every library needs a place to sit down, and I had the perfect object. I inherited my great grandparents old bed some years ago. It has this old, worn look that comes with old age - and it has history. My gran tells stories of how her and her siblings in the early 1920's sat on it pretending to be hens and jumping around flapping their hands as wings! This was way before television or internet, mind you. She is 95 years old now. She was so excited to see the bed get a new home - that someone actually still wants to keep it. I fitted it with a new mattress and plenty of cushions so it is soft and cozy, and it is now a perfect little hideaway

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Miss Marple

Geraldine McEwan as "Miss Marple"
I watched an episode of "Miss Marple" last night. I am a devoted fan of Agatha Christie's stories - whether in written or in dramatized form - and with a cup of tea my evening was all set. There is something so utterly cozy about Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot (despite the genre, I mean) that I can watch the television episodes and read the books over and over again. I never grow tired of them - they are funny and ingenious at the same time. There are other characters in her books as well, but Poirot and Marple are the most famous ones and the only ones I have seen dramatized. At least so far - one can always hope.

"The Moving Finger" 
I have collected a certain edition of Christie's books for years. So far I have about 70-something of them - this book included. I am quite lucky if I come across one I do not already have in my collection at this point. Now, there is nothing special about  this edition apart from it being the series my mum had a few copies of, and which I therefore grew up with. Sentimental memories, I guess. At some point during my teenage years, her books got confused with mine and ended up in my library. Quite mysteriously so... That is what set my collection off in the first place. Nowadays, she borrows the books from me or buys new copies from secondhand bookstores. Yes, I do know I have a kind mum. She even texts me before an episode starts to make sure I have not forgotten it! She still loves watching them, too. Certain things will always remain fun.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I just had to share this...

My boyfriend sends me funny stuff from time to time. A couple of days ago he sent me this picture he had come across somewhere. After receiving it and clicking on the link, I found myself visiting the blog "Between Paiges" by Paige Turner.

I simply had to share it with you.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Following a dream

Paulo Coelho posted this picture today. I must say I believe this to be quite an important message. I try to do all the things I want to do now, and I am so lucky as to have a boyfriend who shares this point of view and who is always ready to follow a dream with me. The last few years we have travelled a lot together. We have tried holidays working as volunteers (which is amazing - everyone should try it!), backpacking, road trips and city-weekends. A few months ago we bought a big map of the world and stuck it to a corkboard. Here we are pinning all the places we have visited so far and all the places we want to see. It is already starting to fill up...which is no wonder when you think of the amazing world we are living in! The map keeps our dreams within reach, so to speak. I glance at it every day wondering "where to next...?"

The book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is all about following a dream. It is a magical book I treasure, and I actually have a signed copy of it. Just by chance, this stranger I randomly met was on his way to visit Coelho and, as it happens, he offered to bring a book down to him for me. Coelho was so kind that he signed it for me - and the man, just as kind, dropped by some months later with it. Imagine the travels this one book has done! If you have not read it yet I suggest you put it in your bag the next time you venture to the beach or travel somewhere. You might get inspired.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Something simple...

As this is my first blog attempt ever, I figured I would start off with something simple. That is, a simple, but big, something, which is often displayed by many small and equally simple something's: Happiness. Yeah, I know this is not really a simple issue, but, nevertheless, somehow reading this book made me feel it is.

The book "The Happiness Project" sets out to help you improve your every day happiness level. The author, Gretchen Rubin, decided to dedicate a whole year to see if she was able to achieve her personal idea of a happy life. She was by no means unhappy (she has two girls, a husband, an apartment and a job she loves), but it occured to her that life was slipping away without her fully appreciating it or living it to the utmost. She felt she could do better.

Now, is not this something most of us feel? It certainly caught my attention...and my attention was kept throughout the book. It is wonderfully and wittingly written - with a sense of practicality I simply love.

I have come to appreciate this book as a sort of encyclopedia and reminder - it will be on my shelf forever. From time to time I will take it down and read a line here or there to remind myself of all the good advices and ideas she brought into my life - and of being as happy as I can possibly be ♥ 

Want more information on how to start your own Happiness Project?
Gretchen Rubin's Happines Project Blog 
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