Blog Hop: Bookish Collections

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Do you collect things that are book related? Like bookmarks, nameplates, 1st editions…

I mostly just collect books!  I wouldn’t say I have any collections of bookish things, but I do have a handful of souvenirs that I bought because of their bookish connections…

P1030436I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour earlier this year, and couldn’t resist buying a wand at what must be the coolest gift store ever (boxes of wands, piled everywhere!)  You can get pretty much any character you could possibly want, but I decided on Hermione’s, because it’s gorgeous but more importantly because–seriously, Hermione?  SO awesome. Continue reading “Blog Hop: Bookish Collections”

Blog Hop: Bookmarks

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Do you use bookmarks? If so, do you match them to the book you’re reading or do you use random scraps of paper?

I have a bookmark collection, and have been mostly using the same ones for ten years or so.  They’re all home-made, and I remade some just a  few months ago because they were getting rather tattered around the corners.

My bookmark collection, essentially, reflects some of my very favorite characters…

Bookmarks (1)Mostly, it’s the characters I wrote stories about in my fanfiction days–and so they continue to live in my head (and the books I read) in a way that other much beloved characters do not.  The exception to that rule is the Doctor Who bookmark, which I created new when I was refurbishing the others.  That’s also my only two-sided bookmark…

Bookmarks (3)When I’m thinking about it, I like to match characters to the book I’m reading (a couple of recent reads involving Rome were definite Kirk books, for instance, while Peter Pan usually lands in the kids books).  But I don’t always think about it, and end up using the same one for weeks!

Do you have favorite bookmarks you like to use?  Any particular habits around them?

Classic Favorites Friday: British Children’s Fantasy Classics

This week I thought I’d re-post one of my earliest “Favorites Friday” posts (creating a “Classic” about Classics), because…it bears repeating, and I feel like I have more-recently-joined readers who might have good suggestions for what else could be on this list!

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I think there was something in the water in Great Britain near the beginning of the last century.  Fairy dust, perhaps, because that’s when so many of the great classic children’s fantasy books were written.  There’s something about them–a style, a flavor, a spark–that marks them out as part of a very special group.

I doubt many titles or authors on this list are new to you (they are, after all, classics!) but still, here’s my list of favorite writers of British children’s fantasy classics, noting their most famous books.  Some books are earlier and some are later, but all have that particular flavor.

In no particular order:

  1. P. L. Travers – Mary Poppins series
  2. Edith Nesbit – Five Children and It
  3. J. M. Barrie – Peter Pan
  4. Frances Hodgson Burnett – A Little Princess and The Secret Garden
  5. Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
  6. Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows
  7. Charles Kingsley – The Water Babies
  8. George MacDonald – The Princess and the Goblin and The Light Princess
  9. A. A. Milne – Winnie the Pooh

And #10, Honorary Mention, is L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Oz series (and many others that are just as good).  He was American, not British, but somehow contrived to write books with that same magical flavor.

There must be classics I’m missing–what are some of your favorites?  And are they sprinkled with the same fairy dust?  🙂 I hope so–I’d love to find more!

Favorites Friday: Authors I’d Like to Meet (Time Travel Edition)

Last week I wrote about living authors I’d love to meet–and since they’re living, it’s at least somewhat possible.  Many of my favorite authors, however, lived several generations ago, putting meeting them out of the question.  Unless, of course, I had the ability to travel in time–using a TARDIS, perhaps!  If the Doctor ever showed up and asked me what time I wanted to visit, I’d know exactly what to tell him…

L. M. Montgomery would be the first person to meet, probably to no one’s surprise!  I’ve read every scrap of writing by her I can get my hands on, letters and private journals included, so more than any other author she already feels like a friend.  I know exactly when and where I would like to go–June of 1908, when Montgomery was still living in Cavendish, on Prince Edward Island.  According to her journal, her copy of Anne of Green Gables arrived on June 20th.  Besides that excitement, it seems to have been a cheerful period (not always the case).  Her journal also mentions that it was the most beautiful June she could recall–and I’m sure she said somewhere else that nothing is more beautiful than Prince Edward Island in June.  If I had a TARDIS, my first stop would be to go pick strawberries and ramble through woods with Maud Montgomery.

William Shakespeare would be my next trip (following the Doctor’s footsteps, in this case) because, I mean, Shakespeare!  I have to wonder if he sounded out loud like his plays, or not (probably not…)  And then there’s that authorship question to explore.  I’d visit Shakespeare in autumn of 1599, when my favorite comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, was debuting at the recently-opened Globe Theatre.

Brenda Ueland is a far less famous choice.  She wrote my favorite book on writing, If You Want to Write.  She also taught writing classes, and if they were anything like the book, they must have been wonderful.  If I could, I’d visit long enough to take some of her classes–perhaps in 1938, the year her book was published.

Diana Wynne Jones wrote so many amazing fantasy books, and by all accounts (and the evidence in her own semi-memoir, Reflections on the Magic of Writing) she was a fascinating woman full of extraordinarily colorful anecdotes.  I don’t know precisely when I’d like to meet her…unless possibly when she was at university, so that I could join her attending lectures by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

J. M. Barrie is probably no surprise either.  Like Montgomery, I feel as though I know him, because all of his books (and plays, somehow) feature a most charming narrator.  I can’t help feeling like that narrator is Barrie himself.  I’d like to meet Barrie and the Davies boys (the inspiration for Peter Pan) in April of 1904–in Kensington Gardens, of course.  George, the oldest boy, was twelve, and Barrie had just finished writing the play version of Peter.  The other advantage to April is that the daffodils would be blooming in the Gardens, and I love daffodils.

So if the Doctor came to your door and invited you for a literary spin in the TARDIS, what authors would you go to meet?

Saturday Snapshots: Come Away to Fairyland

Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy…” – William Butler Yeats

Spring has begun this month, and with it, the Once Upon a Time Challenge on Stainless Steel Droppings (my launch post here)…and so I have fairyland on my mind.  I’ve never climbed through a wardrobe, been abducted by the Green Wind, or fallen through a rabbit hole, so I can’t share photos from the various places those routes would take you 🙂 and cameras probably wouldn’t work anyway.  But as regular readers know, I have gone rambling about Kensington Gardens, where Peter Pan flew to when he “ran away from home and lived a long, long time with the fairies.”

Part of the fun of the Gardens is that there are no plaques or ceramic fairies or touristy things to point out the different sites of interest.  You have to take a quest, with J. M. Barrie’s The Little White Bird as your guide, and find the magic spots yourself.

Fortunately, the fairies seem not to object to cameras!

P1010296If you look closely, you can see one of the “paths which make themselves”–at night, of course, which is when everything really magical happens in the Gardens.

P1010608These are flowers along the aptly-named Flower Walk.  Barrie tells us that fairies caught abroad by humans will pretend to be flowers.  His advice on the best way to spot a fairy is to stare at a “flower” until it can’t help winking at you.  (I don’t know what that would look like either!)

18 Branch of BeechThis is the branch of the Weeping Beech in the Flower Walk, where Peter Pan spent the night immediately after running away from home.

P1010308If you can’t find some fairy dust, and reliable directions on how to fly past the second star to the right, you can at least go see the island in the middle of the Serpentine.  Peter spent some time living there too, until he built a boat and (eventually) learned how to fly.

The Gardens are not the most exotic or showy of fairylands, but they’re certainly the most accessible–and they are every bit as charming as J. M. Barrie.

If you feel like visiting fairylands, even in books, why not join up with the Once Upon a Time Challenge?  And of course, you can also find more Saturday Snapshots on At Home with Books!

Blog Hop: Five Books to Grab

I’m joining in with the Book Blogger Hop again today, when bloggers discuss bookish topics!

book blogger hop

This week’s question is: What are the top 5 books you would grab in an emergency?

I’m not entirely sure what this question means…I mean, the five books I would read during a personal crisis are not necessarily the same five books I would choose if I was only going to have access to five books for an extended period…  But let’s assume the point here is, which five books would you choose if you could only have five books.  Say, on an extended spaceflight to Mars.  I like that better than the idea of being stuck on a desert island, where I’d need books about survival on a desert island!

So if I was on a long spaceflight and could only bring five books…

1) The Bible, although that’s so obvious it almost feels like cheating.

2) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (unabridged), because I read so quickly, I’d need something that would last.  Which is an argument in favor of the Bible too, apart from spiritual inspiration.

3) Susan Kay’s Phantom because, I mean, it’s Susan Kay’s Phantom and I just madly love it.

4) The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie because it’s a wonderful, lovely, magical book.  Plus, even a spaceflight to Mars would probably have its alarming and homesick moments, and this would make a perfect comfort read.  George Davies, the boy who inspired David in the book, brought a copy with him to the trenches in World War I.

5) And finally, The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, because I couldn’t possibly get by without any Montgomery, and this is my favorite of her novels.  Though I’d be tempted to bring Volume I of her journals instead.

And if, as I know I surely would, I decided to toss a pair of shoes out of my luggage and squeeze in two more books…

6) The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce–there is an omnibus edition, so it could be counted as one.  Alanna is the most inspiring of heroines, and every so often, everyone needs to believe that they can do anything.

7) Something Terry Pratchett…possibly Night Watch.  Because of course I’d need something funny too.

And then I’d probably have to discard some more clothes so that I could bring something by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and also If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, and a spaceflight to Mars really would be a good moment to read some favorite Star Trek books, and so we begin to see why I have three enormous bookcases in my small apartment!

So if you had to grab five books, for a spaceflight to Mars or maybe if you were on a desert island, what would you snatch up?

Saturday Snapshot: Knick-Knacks

I like everything I own to have a story.  That doesn’t extend to, say, my shampoo or silverware, but it does include my knick-knacks.

Shelf - Barrie Fairies

I saw these adorable fairies for sale in Covent Gardens.  Having just spent a week wandering around Kensington Gardens with fairies on my mind, I couldn’t resist.  Naturally I keep them in front of my J. M. Barrie collection.

Shelf - Fandom

Here you see the result of some of my fandoms…my shelf of Star Trek books also houses Trevor the Tribble, Kirk and Spock salt-and-pepper shakers, and a Data action figure that I bought at my first ever job, at KayBee Toys (for the record, I don’t recommend working in a toy store for the Christmas season).

On the next shelf, my Phantom collection, with a model of the Paris Opera House, and then my Pirate collection.  I bought the “solemn” Captain Jack action figure because the grinning one was terrifying (really), and I managed to get a Captain Jack Happy Meal toy without actually buying any food at McDonalds.

Shelf - Lucky Cat

A less obvious connection here…but I have a Lucky Cat figurine that I bought in Chinatown in San Francisco, and it’s on this shelf because Keladry, heroine of the Protector of the Small quartet, has a collection of Lucky Cat figures.

Those are my cleverest book-and-knick-knack combinations…but perhaps I’ll share other knick-knacks another day! 🙂  Do you have any with fun stories?

Visit At Home with Books for more Saturday Snapshots!