Ponderings of a retired Tasmanian, photographing, animal loving, book reading, travelling, motorbike riding penguin, growing old disgracefully, who still loves old Penguin books and sharing our world with others.
I am part of a Facebook sketch group and something has cropped up that I really love and wanted to share with you. I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler but I do admire people who do sketch out various things going on in their lives.
However what I came across a couple of days ago is something I could probably do. It’s Book Mapping. I have seen others who do this but these examples are just so much fun I thought I’d share. Julie Hawkins is the artist and reader and she has kindly given me permission to share her drawings here. So thank you Julie.
Do any of you do anything like this? If so I’d love to know. Are there any blogs or fb pages or Instagram pages that reflect this mapping of books? If so and you know of them, please share as I’d love to follow.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet for today. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. Ideas abound.
This social isolation gets to you once in awhile. Trying to think of things to entertain myself. Today I took Ollie out for a photo walk in the bush. As we walked through the trees I decided I needed some themes in my photography to keep my interest. I needed to look for things. I saw a lot of old dead tree stumps with various degrees of deterioration and lots of insects so I thought I’d focus on those a bit. Then I thought I’d go home and discover what books relating to the word “tree” I had on my shelf.
There are several blog posts where people share what is on their shelf with others and I really enjoy those posts. Some of those books are read and some of them aren’t. So I had this big brainwave of combining my photography with my books.
Today is the first effort and I’m happy to share it here. Now I need to think of other themes I can combine all while social isolating. That should be more of a challenge than the trees have been. So…..
Here we go- five books and five photos
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail as most of the trees around our house are that variety. The description from Good Reads states:
The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others: his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen. When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement: she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property.
2. Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Tree by Saki. This is a little black Penguin from the 80 th birthday boxed set of the Little Black Classics.
It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met…’
Moonlight, sake, spring blossom, idle moments, a woman’s hair – these exquisite reflections on life’s fleeting pleasures by a thirteenth-century Japanese monk are delicately attuned to nature and the senses.
3. Climbing The Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jeffrey.
Today’s most highly regarded writer on Indian food gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared. Madhur (meaning “sweet as honey”) Jaffrey grew up in a large family compound where her grandfather often presided over dinners at which forty or more members of his extended family would savor together the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur’s palate.
4. Tree- A Life Story by David Suzuki.
Only God can make a tree,” wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a “biography” of this extraordinary—and extraordinarily important—organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen.
5. My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro de Vasconcelos.
Five-year-old Zezé lives in Rio de Janeiro, in a forgotten slump in great poverty. But Zezé is not alone. In this world of scolding and beating, he has discovered a magical universe where he spends most of his time: the realm of imagination. There rules a sweet orange tree called Minguinho, and he is a tree like no other: he can talk.
I’m finding the current situation in the world very weird. I’m not going to say anything more about this virus thing as I am well and truly tired of hearing about it. We are doing everything right though. Like everyone else we are trying to find things to do around the house and that isn’t too hard. For a start I have a lot of books I can read. I also have a 7 month old puppy to spend time with. So each day I ask myself- “will it be a quiet book and a cup of coffee?” or “will it be a crazy , high energy puppy to occupy my time?”
I have been reading a lot of photography magazines and watching you tube videos on the subject. So not reading a lot of novels. However I did start this one which I am enjoying so far at a fairly slow pace. It’s called Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook by Annie Gray. The blurb on the cover states, ” This is a book about Georgina Landmark. It’s about her life, her times and some of her employers, including Winston and Clementine Churchill. It’s about working class life, and women’s work and expectations, and it’s about domestic service at the highest level. It’s about British food and French influence, and the impact of war on the way we ate. Above all else, though, it’s the story of a woman who loved, loved and cooked her way through much of 20th century Britain, and, while her life is made more resonant by her relationship to her last employers, it remains Georgina’s story.
I might also add I love the cover of this book.
We have three cats and for entertainment they are quite hard on their cat tree. We replace the one in the house every few years by moving the old one outside to their enclosure and adding a new one to the living room. I ordered one online and it arrived in a flat pack package and I had to put it together. Once I sorted all the pieces and made sure everything was there I got it together this morning. I had to spray vinegar water around it to keep little Ollie from grabbing pieces and running through the house with them. I often spray a bit of vinegar water on things I don’t want him to chew, such as the edges of furniture or power cords. It works well as he hates the smell.
Our cats took one look at this tree, backed up and went, “Whoa! Check this out!!” So far, we are getting gentle sniffing at it but not daring yet to venture onto it. I’m sure it won’t be long before they explore it properly,
Photography and bush walks with Ollie:
We have a reserve behind our house that has trails that eventually lead to the pinnacle of Mt, Wellington. Ollie and I took the camera out one beautiful autumn day and took some photos. He sniffs out wallaby poo and I look for things to photograph. I thought I’d do a bit of macro work. These are the photos.
Well that pretty much sums up the week. I won’t go on too much about the cancellation of all of my activities I generally participate in. The Book group and Shakespeare group at Fuller’s book store have stopped though a Shakespeare activities is coming up soon online dealing with the sonnets. That should be fun.
The Play reading, Motorbike group rides and social events, the sketch groups at the museum and all photography events have been cancelled as well. Though the sketch group has a fb page and our photo club currently has a bingo game going on with our fb page.
In summary, it really is a strange time and I’m finding it quite interesting to see the progression of the government rules coming out daily. Tasmania is currently locked now. You can leave but you can’t enter without going into 2 weeks isolation though they are still working on how they monitor the caravans coming in on the ferries from interstate and driving around everywhere. Governments are great at issuing orders before they work out how they are to be implemented and monitored.
And if I do get really bored there is Netflix though I don’t want to dive too deep into that entertaining activity. Remember, I have all these books
I hope all of you out there are doing well and coping and staying well. It is distressing to see what is happening with people losing jobs, getting sick and dying in large numbers around the world. But it is careful we balance these things out in our mind to prevent getting too depressed about it all. I appreciate all my blogger friends at this time and sometimes I don’t have time to comment on all the blogs I read, I do read most of them, most of the time. I appreciate seeing what others are doing during these weird times.
First off I’d like to thank the weather gods for sending us rain overnight. It’s not all we need but it sure sounded lovely on the roof this morning. I hear it’s raining over the fires as well but that’s a mixed bag. Lightning can start more fires, but cooler conditions and rain can help extinguish the fires that are still going.
It’s been a silly old day today. I took Ollie for a walk today and of course he got into the burrs. Burrs and a rough coated Jack Russell are not at all compatible. Especially when one has very short legs and the burrs get on the puppy tummy as well. Trying to comb anything out of a five month old puppy is a challenge but we finally got through it.
Then I thought, “Now what can I do to entertain myself when Claire’s meme came through from her blog. Several of my blogger friends have participated in this little exercise so I thought I’d have a go. However, one is supposed to use the names of books read in 2019. I didn’t keep track of what I read in 2019. As I am focusing this year on the books currently unread on my shelves I decided to use those TBR books instead. So here goes. I revised the rules for my page.
THE RULES: Using only books you have not read on your shelves, answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. Let me know below, if you’ve joined in too
How do you feel? Happy Returns by CS Forester
Describe where you currently live: In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Outback and Beyond by Cynthia Nolan
Your favourite form of transportation: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rob Pirsig
Your best friend is: The Literary Dog by William E. Maloney
You and your friends are: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
What’s the weather like: Rain-Four Walks in English Weather by Melissa Harrison
You fear: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
What is the best advice you have to give? Get an: Accommodating Spouse by Elizabeth Jolley
Thought for the day: Browse The World in Bookshops by Henry Hitchings
How would I like to die? Central Mischief by Elizabeth Jolley
My soul’s present condition: Autumnal Tints by Henry David Thoreau
For people who read a lot they will probably know this was an important short story in
American Literature. It’s first inception was not a film though two films have been made of this story, neither kept to the plot.
It was written by the wonderful author James Thurber. I love his tales. I have read him off and on for years and he had such a creative, humorous imagination. He was born in 1894, the same year my maternal grandparents were born though they were a few months older than him. He was a cartoonist, humorist, journalist, playwright, children’s book author and wit. He was best known for short stories and cartoons published in the New Yorker. (Wikipedia).
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was first published in The New Yorker magazine March 18, 1939. It is a story about a man who day dreamed his life away. How often do we do that? I was a great day dreamer especially as I sat in school classes and it never really disappeared much into adulthood.
The story begins in Connecticut with Walter driving his wife into the city to do the shopping and have her hair done. Walter doesn’t pay much attention to the real world, but instead lives in a dreamlike state of heroic antics.
As they drive into town his wife tells him to quit driving so quickly. He goes into his imagination and sees himself as a pilot of a US Navy flying boat in a storm. There is a brief description of this episode of heroism. As they drive past a hospital he suddenly turns into a wonderful surgeon performing the trickiest of operations to save the life of his patient.
Once past the hospital something else catches his imagination and he becomes a deadly assassin testifying in a courtroom. Soon afterwards he is a Royal Air Force pilot volunteering for a secret suicide mission to bomb an ammunition dumb.
Once the trip into town is complete he sees him self standing against a wall facing a firing squad. Each imaginative event is inspired by some detail of his hum drum life.
James Thurber’s stories and cartoons often displayed meek mannered men dominated by overweight, domineering wives. It seems to be a joke repeated often over time, especially in cartoons.
I remember the discussions of the story as far back as high school as his short stories, this one as well as The Catbird Seat were often taught in high school English classes. I wonder if they still are. I loved him and his stories.
This story begins the exploration of the book, Funny Ha Ha, I talked about in a previous post.
It’s to be 40 degrees C (104 F) in Hobart today. The firefighters are on high alert as a large storm is expected to come through tonight and they are worried about lightning strikes starting fires. The last time Hobart hit 40 degrees C on this date was 1897. Needless to say we are sequestered in the house for the day.
It gives me a chance to finalise my challenges for next year. I am adding two other types of reading in order to diversify the books a bit. I got a book voucher for my November birthday and with it I purchased a very thick book of comical short stories by well known authors. It is called Funny Ha Ha. Authors include the likes of James Thurber, Saki, Spike Milligan, Mark Twain, Joyce Carol Oates and Dorothy Parker to name a few. There are 80 stories in all, of a few pages each. I decided I will randomly pick one story each Monday morning and have programmed that into my phone calendar so I will get a reminder each week.
As New Year’s Day is this Wednesday, I decided to randomly pick a story today and was pleased when my random generator app chose The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.I have read this story before, once assigned in high school and once later on. I also saw the film but didn’t get as much out of that as I did the story. I look forward to reading it again.
The description of Funny Ha Ha states:
“Funny Ha Ha is the definitive collection of comic short stories. From Anton Chekhov to Ali Smith from P.G. Woodhouse to Nora Ephron, the greatest writers are those who know how to laugh. Here, award winning comedian and broadcaster Paul Merton brings together his favourite funny stories of all time. Whether it’s the silly, surreal, slapstick or satirical that makes you smile there’s a story here to tickle every funny bone. From prize-winners and literary giants, to stand up comedians and the rising stars of funny literature, this brilliant anthology is guaranteed to cheer your day. “
My second challenge is to continue with more of the books from 1001 Children’s Books You Should Read Before You Die. I started it before but it got waylaid. I’m hoping to rejuvenate that project. The only conditions I am assigning this project are I will use the Random Generator app to pick from the 900+ pages of the book and the books must come from the library. I had a quick library search and they do have many of them. However some books are not available. There are quite a few copies that are eBooks I can download and others I need to put a hold on them. I am choosing three books at a time and locating them in the library. I will read them once they become available or I get into town to pick them up. Most won’t take very long to read. I’ve not read children’s books much since I stopped working in the Education department. I like to keep up on children’s books and some young adult books. It keeps me in the loop of what goes on with the younger generations though many of these books were classics when I was young.
I also have some diaries I will try to keep up. They begin on 1 January and I will try to start my day off with the passage of the day. They are books I’ve wanted to read for awhile and if I take a year to read them I might be able to keep up. No promises on this one.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys (those entries are a bit longer) Everyman’s Library, introduced by Kate Loveman
A Traveller’s Year: 365 Days of Travel Writing in Diaries, Journals and Letters, compiled by Travis Elborough & Nick Rennison
New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009, Edited by Teresa Carpenter.
Dear Los Angeles: The City in diaries and Letters 1542 – 2018, Edited by David Kipen
Books three and four are really interesting. The editors have compiled all the diaries and letters they could find over time, in these locations, and organised the entries from centuries ago; to current day by day of the year beginning with 1 January. So an entry might read: 1 January 1723 and the next paragraph could be 1 January 1802, and so forth. It sounds disjointed but I’ve had a read of these books here and there and they are really quite fun. Of course big events in these two cities are covered but there are also very minor characters who kept diaries and one gets a sense of what daily life’s like at the particular date.
Now I know, come 1 January, I love to take a big bite out of the book world and I am quite enthused now. But I have decided that 2020 is the year I drop way back on social media, except for my photography work and instead of wasting time looking at FB, Instagram and You Tube, I’m going to immerse myself in the books I have been collecting for decades and then moving them on. Wish me luck. (I know, I have an inflated sense of self and a very good sense of humour.)
I’ve had a couple of quiet days playing with my books as I mentioned previously. I’m now looking ahead to how and what I’d like to read beginning the year. As much as I love challenges I don’t plan on many. My main challenge is to read the books on my shelf. There is an abundance of places to visit, people to meet and adventures to be had sitting on those shelves and it’s time I get serious about them. While most of my books are “real” books, I also have some Kindle books unread. I will include those also.
The other set of books I’ll need to read are those for the Book Group I belong to at Fuller’s book shop. That kicks off the first week of February and runs through November. They have several groups that meet the first week of each month, all reading the same book and facilitated by a staff member. They are good fun and I hope to not be travelling so much in 2020, so will be able to participate. My group is the first Thursday evening of each month.
I have chosen 52 books randomly from my shelves and written those names down in my book journal and put them on the Good Reads app. If any of you are on good reads feel free to friend me at Travellin Penguin. I wouldn’t mind some Good Reads friends. Beside the name of each of the 52 books written in my journal, I have put the symbol from a regular playing deck of cards. On January first I will shuffle the deck and begin reading whatever comes up. I won’t try to do a book each week. There are other things I read but I will try. Instead of picking a new card each week, I will pick a new card once I’ve finished the previous book. That could be a day or two weeks. Who knows?
I’ve got a wonderful book of short stories that all feature humour. I’ll tell you about that one in the next post, Part II. I do think that will be fun and I will try to stick with it.
Now, back to challenges. I read about a dozen blogs regularly and they have challenges that pop up regularly either through their own post or through that of a friend. If I see a challenge that fits in with my TBR books I might jump in and join it for a week or two or perhaps a month, but that will be my limit. Many of the challenges are graded from reading one book in the challenge to several books. I’ll stick to the minimum, because at least I can participate then move on without getting bogged down.
I am in the unfortunate position that none of my family or friends here, that I see regularly read much. So there is no one to talk to about books. I find that quite disappointing as there’s nothing better than a good natter to someone about a book. It’s ironic really, because we have one of the busiest book stores in Hobart on earth. Whenever I go into it, which is often, it is absolutely bustling with people and activity. I have a friend in NSW who reads a lot which is lovely. (You know who you are 😍) and she also lives in Tassie, nearby, from January to April. Then I have a chance to catch up bookwise but that’s about it. So bloggers really are my friends. I love to read what they write about their books and their enthusiasm. I also love seeing what books they get for Christmas. I did get a book voucher for Christmas but there is never an actual book wrapped up and handed to me. I do love the vouchers though. So I do look forward to being more social in a few challenges and we’ll see how that goes.
I’ll start up my photography again in January and my play reading class in March. I had a complete two month break from photography as I wanted to stop, so I’d have time to think about the direction I want to go and have it feel fresh again. Other than that I am narrowing down quite a few outside activities. I need time for myself to read and write and train Ollie. I cannot abide an untrained dog and he’s doing well with his training. I’ll dedicate another post to him as I know a couple people follow him and I enjoy documenting his life. If you’re not interested, that’s okay. Just pass that post by. I’m looking forward to dragging my mega camera around again, the old workhorse it is.
I guess that kind of sums up where I am at the moment. Doesn’t the beginning of the year always feel like a new, clean slate with all kinds of adventures (hopefully) waiting around the corner? I do so look forward to following my blogging bookish friends and seeing what you get up to. I hope anyone reading this has things planned for 2020 too. It’s a great way to escape all the negativity in the news media these days and let some light into our lives. All the best to you.
ps- Penguin is going to get a new wardrobe this year too. I’m tired of looking at his old clothes. Maybe he’ll dress like some of the book characters I meet.