“The kind of life that makes one feel empty and shallow and superficial, that makes one dread to read and dread to think, can’t be good for one, can it? It can’t be the kind of life one was meant to live.” Willa Cather
How true is this quote! So please let us all have lots of books to read! And I have to admit this blogpost has become longer than I expected as I couldn’t stop sharing lovely passages from the book.
I have a pile of books that I’m currently reading and would like to share some of them with you. Of course I would love to hear if you’re reading an interesting, moving or beautiful book too! I always like to discover new books.
De veldkeuken ( my free translation: portable kitchen) is an unique cookbook as it’s filled with recipes spiced with love for nature, human and animal. Fair, local and biological products doesn’t only makes the most delicious food but it also produces a better world. I love the mix of pictures of food, garden and nature, and the stories behind this real existing place in the Netherlands.
Another book is The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift. She writes about the history, people and nature of her House at Morville where she creates a garden of her own. Inspired by the medieval Books of Hours it is a meditative journey through the seasons, but also a journey of self-exploration. It’s so fluently and lyrically written as she takes me from one place, to another person, to another little flower in her garden and without knowing it’s the next season in the book! I would love to share this beautiful part on butterflies.
“Down in the garden, butterflies swim in the viscous golden air, their wingbeats slowed to a sleepwalker’s puls. One or two golden-brown commas sun themselves against the yew hedge, their wings burnished and mottled like walnut marquetry, the edges deeply lobed and intended- the colour and shape of oak leaves in winter. … They are beautiful airheads, the butterflies, homeless but unconcerned, who sleep wherever they happend to find themselves, wander the world with nothing more effective for defence than painted owl-eyes to scare away predators who store up no treasure, build not homes. But despite their apparent fragility and ephemerality, butterflies are great survivors. They know how to adapt. When food is short in winter they close down and hibernate. They live longer than either bumblebees or wasps, who expire at the end of summer. And, unlike honeybees, they have no intention of working themselves to death for the sake of the next generation. … In our warming world with its chaotic weather systems it is creatures like these, fragile as they are, which will survive. Time should be running out for the red admiral. But he acts as if he has all the time in the world. Perhaps he has decided to change the habit of generations and stay for the winter after all. “
I hope the golden- brown commas in our garden will find a safe spot to hibernate. They look so pretty and delicate with their almost papery transparent wings!
Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson is a more spiritual book. She meditates on the pursuit of peace and its natural companion, humility. I love how she uses the simple rhythms of rural life and nature to teach about to live a humble and peaceful life. A little quote about gratitude:
“Humility teaches us that all is gift. Humility teaches us thankfulness. But it is not a thankfulness based in having more than other people because that kind of thankfulness fluctuates on whoever you’re comparing yourself with. … No gratitude born from humility is not a gratitude rooted in having more than someone else. It is a gratitude rooted in having anything at all. … You entered this world with nothing. You didn’t even have clothing on. Your very existence is a gift and everything that you have or have ever had is a gift as well.”
The next book is “Tekenen is ademen ( my free translation “drawing is breathing”), a biography about Marjolein Bastin. She is a famous nature illustrator from the Netherlands, but also well-known in the US. As a child I already loved her Vera the Mouse illustrations and now I’m drawn to her lovely nature illustrations.
“The clear song of a bird, the fresh scent of rain, the beauty of a flower… nature offers us gifts every day if we only take the time to notice them. Pause and let the sun warm you, enjoy the breeze, listen with new ears, see with new eyes. Lose yourself in nature.. and find yourself at home.” a quote of Marjolein Bastin on a bench in the US
It’s so interesting to read about how she grew up, what influences her, how she makes her paintings and how she has become so well known. She’s quite a shy person and sometimes insecure about her work, she has an endless love and fascination for nature, a longing for rest and silence, and a love for beauty. “The love for beauty, balance and completeness is a language so strong, it always surprises me”, she says. All these things are so recognizable to me and it’s heartwarming to read about.
Of course she has her own garden, a place to withdraw when life is too hectic. In her garden she has the feeling of timelessness: nothing has to be done, only being there.
When visiting the library I came across this most lovely children’s book “Thumbelina”. I have to admit I have a weak spot for beautifully illustrated children’s books and this one is definitely a favourite one right now!
This book is a Korean adaptation of a fairytale written by H.C. Andersen. It’s so beautifully illustrated by Hyewon Yang. I think she perfectly catches the right dreamy atmosphere and delicacy with her water paintings that makes you feel being in the dreamworld of Thumbelina. And happily for me, our youngest daughter still loves listening to a story and looking at the pictures.
And they lived happily ever after… This book was finished too quickly!
But I still have my other books to read!!! I would definitely love to hear if you are reading a good book …