Story Photo: The Book Cover

I Love Books

I love to read books. While my preference is for mysteries, I read all sorts of books. To me, a bookstore is the equivalent of a candy store. I breathe in the smell of books with the same enthusiasm I have for the smell of sweet tasty delights. Except with a book, it’s my mind that waters, not my mouth:~)

Cover of a Book

Looking at the picture above, I imagine it as the cover of a book because it makes me wonder what happened to this window. How did it get broken? Who did it? When and where did it happen?

I often go to Amazon.com to get information about a book. I like how they show the cover as well the title and author. I also like that they usually include a review about the book, which sometimes helps me make a decision about a book.

Well, that’s your challenge today. Imagine this is a book cover to a brand new book and you are helping to prepare the Amazon.com information about it.

The Challenge

The challenge today can be short and sweet or a bit more detailed, depending on your mood or how advanced your job is at Amazon:~)

Short and Sweet

In preparing the Amazon.com information, consider answering one or more of these questions. Remember, you don’t have to answer all of these questions.

  • What’s the title of this book?
  • Who wrote the book?
  • What genre of book is it?
  • What books did customers buy who bought this book? (I always find this part of the Amazon book coverage interesting!)

The Special Challenge: Book Review

If you’re feeling a bit more adventuresome, write the book review that goes with this book using no more than 150 words.

In writing this review, feel free to use information from another person’s comment. For example, if you like the title someone left for the book, you can write an excerpt based on that title. If you do this, however, you must mention whose comment you used.

Have fun, be creative and enjoy:~)

Note: the photo used in this post is slightly modified

Book Review: the lives and times of archy & mehitabel

A Cockroach Who Blogs

One of my favorite poets, Fireblossom of Shay’s Word Garden reminded me of the stories of “archy & mehitabel” in a recent poem. These are old stories, but bring fond memories back to me.

I have a book, “the lives and times of archy & mehitabel” written by Don Marquis. I’ve read this book many times and still enjoy it.

The book I have was published in 1940 and in my opinion, features a character who had to be one of the most unique bloggers in history.

My book belonged to my grandfather, Dad Arthur. When I visited his library I would pick this book to read. When he died it was passed on to my father, and knowing my love for it, he eventually gave it to me.

A Timeless Literary Classic

The book is now faded with age and worn from the many times it’s been read. But that’s the sign of a well loved book, isn’t it?

I smile as I write this because it IS an odd duck of a book. The main character is a philosophical cockroach named Archy, who in his past life was a human who wrote free verse poetry. He discovers a typewriter and begins to type out his thoughts, dreams and complaints. You can see why I say he was a blogger:~)

Archy writes about his life and the multiple lives of his cat friend, Mehitabel, who claims to have been Cleopatra in a former life. He writes about the many characters they meet along the way. His stories are poignant, funny and recount situations that any of us could relate to today.

These stories of Archy the cockroach and Mehitabel the cat still make me sigh and smile in equal measure.

Freestyle Poetry By Don Marquis

One of the things I like most about this book is that it touches on the many difficulties that writers experience today. Archy’s style is unique; he writes on an old manual typewriter, jumping on the keys with his body. Here’s one of his more famous writings:

boss, i am disappointed in
some of your readers they
are always asking how does
Archy work the shift so as to get a
new line or how does archy do
this or do that they
are always interested in technical
details when the main question is
whether the stuff is
literature or not…”

Now tell me, doesn’t this apply to many bloggers? These days we deal with the same struggles Archy did when we talk to people about blogging. The literary side of writing can be easily lost while explaining the technical details.

Writing Style Models Bloggers

Archy would have been very comfortable with the freedom of style that bloggers enjoy. For example, as you can see from his poem, Archy doesn’t pay attention to capitalization or grammar; he writes about what he’s thinking or feeling in his everyday life. Sound familiar?

“the lives and times of archy & mehitabel” is still available. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys poetry written by a different kind of writer. Archy is a lot of fun to read, albeit not always an easy read; this is true stream of consciousness writing. It is also outdated in some of its stories.

I like “the lives and times of archy & mehitabel” because of its past as well as its future potential. I hold this book and know that both my grandfather and my father held it before me. Perhaps, they even laughed at the same lines as I do today.

Someday, I may give this book to my children or their children. I find it strangely comforting that a very early blogger and poet, who just happened to be a cockroach, could be the link between my past and my future.

What about you?

What older books remind you of a blogger’s style of writing?
What books have passed down to you that you continue to read and re-read?
Did you ever have to use a typewriter when writing? If so, what were the difficulties and how did it compare to our modern computers?

Artwork by George Herriman

Book Review: If… Questions for the Game of Life

Book-IFA questions game

For my birthday, I was given a cool little book called, If… (Questions for the Game of Life). This book, written by Evelyn McFarland and James Saywell, contains a series of questions all beginning with the word IF.

Some of the IF questions in this book really make you think, some might be embarrassing to answer in company and others are just plain fun.

I have Volume One and there’s also a Volume Two and Three in this series. Here are some sample questions from this book:

•    If you could call any person from history for advice tonight, who would you prefer to talk to?

•    If you could “unknow” one thing you know, what would it be?

•    If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would you change?

•    If your house were to be haunted by the ghost of one person from history, who would you wish it to be?

•    If you were to perform in a circus, what would you do?

•    If you could choose a lover from any person in history, who would it be?

A good party icebreaker

So far, I’ve had a blast with this little book. You never know what people will say!

There are lots of interesting questions. Some are rather challenging to answer. If… makes people think “outside the box” and explore their values.

It’s a great book to use on your own, with friends or workmates. You can also put it in your pocket and bring it to a party; it’s guaranteed to be a great icebreaker.

In my case, I try to answer the questions with the first thing that pops into my mind. Because of this, I discovered that I have a fascination with Thomas Jefferson.

To give you an idea of how it works for me, here are my answers to two of the questions from this book:

If you were to perform in a circus, what would you do?

I would be a trick rider on horses. I like to ride and this has always looked like a lot of fun to me. Plus, it looks safer than being a lion trainer:~)

If you could choose a lover from any person in history, who would it be?

If you’ve been reading closely, you already know the answer to this question – Thomas Jefferson. There’s something really sexy about that man’s mind!

I dare you

Now that I’ve answered two questions, it’s your turn. I dare you to pick a couple, and share your answers.

Fear Not

mymail

Book Review: Listening to Your Inner Voice

Jet lag is a pain!

I’m finally back in the States.  The picture above is my mail, which I haven’t even started to go through yet.  I’m totally exhausted. My body still thinks its six hours ahead of EST. In other words, when it’s noon, I’m thinking it’s dinner time and by 4 pm, I’m ready for bed!

As I am readjusting to the new time zone, getting unpacked and tackling this pile of mail, I thought I would share a book review that I’ve been meaning to put up on my blog.  I will have a new Story Photo post for you on Monday, plus my regular post for next Thursday is in the works. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this book review. It really is a great book to have in your library!

Courage is Yours

innervoicebook1Ages ago, I received this book as a gift.  I really liked the title, Listening to Your Inner Voice. Prior to getting this book, I had not heard of its author, Douglas Bloch, but I thank him for writing this book.  My copy is now dog-eared and looks used, but in a good way.

In Listening to Your Inner Voice, Block writes about many different topics dealing with finding and expressing your inner sense of purpose, working through resistance and pain, and letting the Universe guide and assist you.

There are 52 meditations in the book and each is two-pages. The first page is an inspirational discussion about the topic and the second page has suggestions for affirmations and a relevant quote.

My favorite meditation is the one he wrote about courage.  Here’s a passage from it:

“People ask, “How can I have courage when I’m afraid?” The answer is clear.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move forward in spite of it. When fear comes up in your life, fully feel and experience it. If you try to push it away, it will only expand.

Say to your fear, “I acknowledge you. But as I connect with my higher knowing, I see that you are not in alignment with my true calling.  Because I have the courage and the faith to follow my heart, I am moving ahead with my plans in spite of you.”

I love the idea of having a conversation with my fears! I also like that Bloch recommends that we should  take the action that scares us, trusting that once we start moving, our fears will recede. He suggests the following affirmations to help us get started:

I listen to and follow my inner voice.
I feel my fear and proceed anyway.
I act to please myself rather than others.
I courageously move forward in the direction of my dreams.
I am true to myself.

When I’m afraid to do something, I will often turn to this book and the section about courage. Reading it reminds me that fear will stay with me as long as I hesitate. Once I begin to move forward, however, it loses its power over me.

I highly recommend this book. It’s only 147 pages, but I’ve found so much inspiration and motivation in it, that I want to share it with you.  Just in case you want to read more about the book, visit it on Amazon.

I want to end this post with the quote from the Courage section:

“Come to the edge,” he said. “No, we will fall,” they replied. They came to the edge. He pushed them…and they flew.” ~ Appollinaire

I hope this book will help you lift your wings and fly:~)