Blog Hop: Have Book, Will Travel

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Do you have a book with a location that you just HAD to visit after reading the book?

Oh, definitely!  Most of the trips I take end up being literary pilgrimages in one way or another.  🙂  But there are two places that I most wanted to visit (and they will probably not surprise regular readers!) Continue reading “Blog Hop: Have Book, Will Travel”

Book Review: To Hold the Sun

To Hold the SunWhen I started reading To Hold the Sun by Chas Watkins, I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure if it was memoir, self-help, or fiction.  But the copyright page tells me “this is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance…” etc, so technically it’s a novel.  But I found I liked it much better viewed as self-help, or perhaps philosophy.

The plot is essentially the old fable, a student goes to the master and says, “Teach me your wisdom.”  This particular students is an investigative journalist who is vaguely dissatisfied with his life, sent on an assignment to the Caribbean island of Roatan, there to interview Paul, a practitioner of “the art of happiness,” as well as of handstands. Continue reading “Book Review: To Hold the Sun”

Saturday Snapshot: Quasimodo’s View of Paris

I’ve been reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo this week, so naturally I have the cathedral on the brain.  I already shared some photos in a previous Saturday Snapshot, though, so I had to come up with a new angle…like the view.

Notre Dame Views (2)The Seine and the Eiffel Tower, from one of Notre Dame’s towers.  I got lots of pictures of the Eiffel Tower and walked under it–I didn’t go up in it, because I was already planning to get the view from Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Views (3)This may look like a complete muddle of rooftops, but look for the gold statues near the center, with the blue dome behind them.  That’s the Opera Garnier, and what photography doesn’t manage to capture is how gloriously those statues seem to shine, even from a distance, even on a cloudy day.

Notre Dame Views (1)And this is not a view from the towers, but it is on a street a block away…  I wonder what Victor Hugo would think?

Visit West Metro Mommy for more Saturday Snapshots.  Have a great weekend!

Saturday Snapshot: Botanical Gardens

Today, a few more pictures from my Vancouver trip.  These are from the botanical gardens, and if you’re ever going to Vancouver, I recommend it!  My camera battery died halfway through the gardens, but I managed a few pretty pictures…

Vancouver Garden (1) Vancouver Garden (2)Vancouver Garden (3)This hedge-maze labyrinth was amazing.  So much fun–big enough to feel like a challenge, but not so big that it got frustrating.  And it amuses me that there’s a “monkey puzzle tree” in the middle!

Visit West Metro Mommy for more Saturday Snapshots–and have a great weekend!


Saturday Snapshot: Minas Tirith in Vancouver

If you’re ever in Vancouver (as I was a couple weeks ago), I highly recommend visiting Granville Island.  It’s a collection of wonderful little shops, and there’s a big market as well.  My favorite was The Crystal Ark, which had all sorts of crystals and jewelry for sale (at insanely good prices!)

P1020558I enjoyed the Canadian geese too…  The Crystal Ark is online, but only has a small selection of their products available–which may be just as well, as I shudder to think of the shipping costs!

Minas TirithI was tempted by lots of things, but I ended up buying a crystal tower, because…Minas Tirith!  And naturally I had to put it in an appropriate place on my bookshelf when I got home.

Visit West Metro Mommy for more Saturday Snapshots.  Have a great weekend!

Saturday Snapshot: Vancouver Landscapes

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Vancouver to visit a friend.  Today, some pretty water-and-mountains photos.  Maybe another week I’ll post about the botanical gardens!

Vancouver (3)

Vancouver (1)

Vancouver (2)

This sculpture is a “Digital Orca,” and the sign says it’s melding natural elements with technology.  Everyone agrees it looks like it’s made out of Legos…

Visit West Metro Mommy for more Saturday Snapshots.  Have a great weekend!

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!