Friday, July 14, 2017

My top 20 favorite books

I've been thinking of doing a "My Top 20 Books" list and then was inspired when I saw Carole of Carole's Chatter and her sidebar. She has a nice Top 20 photo / illustration she said I can use. I believe that what we read (our books) and our gardens are forms of autobiography and reveal things about us.
These books are not in order.

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

The Belton Estate by Anthony Trollope. Actually any of the 17 novels I have read by Trollope.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. Any of his novels.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. All 20 books in this series, this is the first.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
Ireland by Frank DeLaney.
Emma by Jane Austen.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat.
Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.
The Hacienda, My Venezuelan Years by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (all the Chronicles of Narnia).
The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel.
In Search of Lost Time. Swann's Way Vol 1 by Marcel Proust. Translated from the French by C.K. Scott Moncrieff whose translation has been rightly called a masterpiece in itself.
I was not surprised to see that many of my favorite authors are from the U.K. Wodehouse, Trollope, Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Lewis are giants of literary talent for me.
Do you ever experience Bloggers Remorse or Bloggers Ooopsy? Five minutes after posting this list I realized one of the best and most exciting books I have ever read was not on my top 20 list. Shame!
Instead of dropping one of the above 20 I am adding it: "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew.

This book is full of adventure, danger, Andrew's commitment to his faith and hope to marry, as he smuggles Bibles to countries where that act carries a death sentence.  It is a real page turner.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The World Is Still a Beautiful Place

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.​​​​​​​" Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
My dog Bounce wearing his new Hawaiian shirt at our family July 4 celebration which was at my house on July 2. The shirt is a gift from Julie and her two dogs. Four people and three dogs and one cat gathered together. You see, the world IS still a beautiful place. 
Ha ha, a couple days after I posted the photo, I cropped it and added it above.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July to all my friends in the USA and around the world.
"America" was written in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith, when he was studying to be a Baptist minister. Here are the first and last verses:
My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty of thee I sing, Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride, From every mountain side let freedom ring.
Then the last verse:
"Our fathers' God to Thee, author of liberty to Thee we sing, long may our land be bright, with freedom's holy light, protect us by Thy might great God, our king.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Best song I've Heard, Holy Mother Hear My Cry sung by Pavarotti

This is the best song sung in concert I have heard.
The lyrics mean a lot to me and I love the powerful way Luciano Pavarotti stands very still and sings so movingly. He does not need any gestures as his voice is so expressive. All he holds is a large white handkerchief. Many of us know the story of why Eric wrote this song and I think it is meaningful to all who have felt deep sorrow. I think that is all of us. 
Holy Mother Hear My Cry by Eric Clapton, sung in concert with Luciano Pavarotti.

Holy Mother, where are you?
Tonight I feel broken in two.
I've seen the stars fall from the sky.
Holy mother, can't keep from crying.
Oh I need your help this time,
Get me through this lonely night.
Tell me please which way to turn
To find myself again.
Holy mother, hear my prayer,
Somehow I know you're still there.
Send me please some peace of mind;
Take away this pain.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait any longer.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait for you.
Holy mother, hear my cry,
I've cursed your name a thousand times.
I've felt the anger running through my soul;
All I need is a hand to hold.
Oh I feel the end has come,
No longer my legs will run.
You know I would rather be
In your arms tonight.
When my hands no longer play,
My voice is still, I fade away.
Holy mother, then I'll be
Lying in, safe within your arms.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Books from Library Book Sale

Seven books from the library book sale last weekend. I was good to limit my purchases to seven since sometimes I buy more than 20 books and I am buying faster than I can read. I added 3 pretty postcards to the photo, which I bought online to mail to my dear pen pals.
These books look great. Two collections of my favorite comedic writer, P.G. Wodehouse, "Tales From the Drones Club" and "Wodehouse Is the Best Medicine." Wodehouse lifts my mood to smiles.
"I Dreamed of Africa" a memoir by Kuki Gallmann. The author moved from Italy to Kenya years ago and at the time of writing was living on her huge ranch with her daughter and eight dogs. There are plenty of photos which I appreciate. The book was published in 1991 and is a tribute to the memory of her husband and son.
"The Tiger Ladies: A Memoir of Kashmir" by Sudha Koul. She recalls when Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully side by side in Kashmir, as opposed to recent headlines of Muslim violence.
"Corduroy Mansions" by Alexander McCall Smith. There is a cute dog on the cover, looks like a beagle puppy. I like every book I have read by Smith, about 20 so far.
"Born Standing Up" a memoir by Steve Martin. My friend listened to the audio version of this and loved it.
"Not So Funny When It Happened: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure" edited by Tim Cahill.
I see I chose mostly humor and memoirs. Who else likes these genres? Did you find any book bargains this week?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fun British comedies on TV

Two months ago I subscribed to Acorn TV via Amazon Prime which offers some great British and Australian TV shows and movies. Since I live in the USA this is a real treat for me, as Acorn offers many shows I like, including mysteries new to me like "Rake" and "Murdoch Mysteries" and lots of goodies like "Midsomer Murders" and "Endeavor", dramas, and some fun comedies. Plus it is only five dollars a month. I dropped cable two years ago, which was costing seventy dollars a month and didn't have many shows I like.

My favorite show thus far on Acorn is "Ladies of Letters", which is fabulous fun. Two quite mismatched English ladies meet and then keep in touch via letters. Their letters are often wildly untrue which makes for much laughter from me. The first photo is of Maureen Lipman who plays Irene, and the second is of Anne Reid who plays Vera. Anne Reid does a wonderful performance in "Last Tango in Halifax", by the way.
Some people who enjoyed the books and radio series do not like this rendition of "Ladies of Letters" but this is my first introduction to it and I find the ladies to be hilarious while being not very pleasant in the way they treat each other. Their letters to each other show them to be out of touch with reality, which causes funny situations. There are 20 episodes and some of the episodes are rather dark.
Two other funny comedies I am watching are "French Fields" (English couple moves to France and this show is a continuation of "Fresh Fields") and "Boomers" (3 English couples who are long time friends).
I watched all 20 episodes of "Ladies of Letters" and miss those gals, wish they would make more. Another good comedic find is P.G. Wodehouse's "Blandings" which I am watching.
I enjoyed the movie "The Man Who Lost His Head" about a man who works for the "British Imperial Museum" and travels to New Zealand on assignment to get the Maori people to allow the museum to keep a famous Maori chieftain's carved head. Will romance occur? A nice glimpse of very rural life of a group of Maoris. I saw this on Acorn TV.
Today on Facebook I saw an ad for Britbox_US which offers shows from the BBC and ITV, and claims to be the biggest collection; it is $7.99 a month and apparently became available in the USA earlier this year. Have you tried it?
Do you have any favorite British or Australian TV shows or movies you suggest I look for?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Our patio, yard and quote

Here are some photos taken this month, which show the view from my kitchen through our patio doors. When I stand at the kitchen sink and look left this is what I see on our patio.
The plant on the left on the table is a pot of pink roses and on the right is a planter of purple petunias, rose cosmos, white bacopas and dusty miller, both of these are gifts from my sons for Mother's Day. Note grey kitty Fluffy on table.
Here is Fluffy on patio, near some potting soil. She chose us by showing up in our fenced back yard about five years ago.
My friend has this quote as her email signature line:
"Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have." by John Piper