Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two Books: Dog Stars and Orley Farm

Two wonderful and very different books I read last week. Wow, such talented authors, Peter Heller writing now and Anthony Trollope in the 1880s.

Dog Stars by Peter Heller
"Dog Stars" is set in the American west ten years after a flu pandemic has cut the world's population to close to zero. Here are the first words in this book, which kept me reading fast!
"I keep the Beast running. I keep the 100 low lead on tap. I foresee attacks. I am young enough, I am old enough. I used to love to fish for trout more than almost anything."
I posted this review:

Dog Stars is one of the best books I read this year, with a brilliant plot of Hig trying to survive in a post apocalypse world, with his beloved dog by his side, and with his ally Bangley, a man who is a survival and weapons expert who relentlessly leads in protecting the three residents. The three of them create a perimeter around the small airport in a wild area of Colorado where they live and where Hig keeps his old airplane, The Beast. They defend the perimeter without mercy in this brutal new world. Hig is the gardener and the one who flies The Beast to get essential supplies like the soda they enjoy. Eventually Hig can not resist putting them in danger by flying to an airport where he received an answer to his plane radio broadcast. This is a stunning and mesmerizing story. A few people did not like the way some of Hig's thoughts are written, rather fragmented, but for me, it seemed natural, and Hig being Hig. And Hig is a good guy.

Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
This is a review I posted on Amazon and goodreads and librarything:

I have quite a crush on this author. I discovered the pleasure of reading his books this year and this is the 7th book I have read by him. He knows people and their motivations so well. This book contains love interests between young people, and secrets that torment people (I am being vague to avoid giving anything away), and describes living in country homes and in city houses, the rules of society then, and some humor sprinkled in. The event that pulls this book along relentlessly is the trial to see who has the right to own Orley Farm, either Lady Mason and her son Lucius Mason, or the half brother of Lucius, Mr. Mason of Groby Park. Mr. Mason is full of rage against Lady Mason and pushes with all his might to get Orley Farm.
Trollope uses some fun surnames for characters and he injects himself with humorous asides along the lines of  "if I were a better author I could readily explain ...". If you are like me you will long remember some of these characters like Lady Mason, Sir Peregrine Orme, Sophie Furnival, Felix Graham and many more. Trollope's books make me happy!

Blog friends who like Trollope, there is a Facebook group "Anthony Trollope Society" with lots of interesting posts. We are hoping to have 1,000 members by Christmas so come on by.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friends of Narnia, Call and the Mighty Lion Will Come

And this scene from "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis, dear friends, gives me goose bumps when I read it. Our King is strong to help us and as the song says "He is mighty to save".

“Aslan—and children from another world,” thought Tirian. “They have always come in when things were at their worst. Oh, if only they could now.”
And he called out “Aslan! Aslan! Aslan! Come and help us now.”
But the darkness and the cold and the quietness went on just the same.
“Let me be killed,” cried the King. “I ask nothing for myself. But come and save all Narnia.”
And still there was no change in the night or the wood, but there began to be a kind of change inside Tirian. Without knowing why, he began to feel a faint hope. And he felt somehow stronger. “Oh Aslan, Aslan,” he whispered. “If you will not come yourself, at least send me the helpers from beyond the world. Or let me call them. Let my voice carry beyond the world.” Then, hardly knowing that he was doing it, he suddenly cried out in a great voice:
“Children! Children! Friends of Narnia! Quick. Come to me. Across the worlds I call you; I, Tirian, King of Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands!”

From The Last Battle, C.S.Lewis

Monday, September 21, 2015

Postcards from Diane

Here are four cards and postcards I received from Diane; she finds the BEST cards to send to me. The two on the top are from a vintage store she discovered. I especially like the teapot shaped postcard with the pretty blue bird on it, which arrived today, flying in from the Philippines.
Thanks Diane; you are a sweetie.
You will find her blog at Diane Wants To Write
If you have a moment stop by her blog and say hi.
I hope you can read the card with the kitty cat on it, it is cute. "Every day may not be good...But there is something good in every day."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Angel Wing Begonia

This lovely Angel Wing Begonia was growing in a one gallon pot when we moved here, more than 30 years ago. It has survived a freeze or two, and lived in deep shade as  the ten foot tall and eight foot wide ivy grew over it. I wrote about our $6,000 ivy and old rotted fence removal and new redwood fence project in an earlier post. The fence you see in these photos is our new fence. Now the begonia is liberated and in part sun on our patio. I know it is probably 40 years old and I have never repotted it.
It was shining as it caught the sun which is why I took these photos. The colors of the leaves are more red, a darker red, than these show, and it gets tiny red flowers.The leaves are green on top with spots of light grey, and red on the back, with the red also showing. In many areas with colder winters they are grown as house plants.
Below are photos of the green leaves when they are not illuminated by the sun, and of the red flowers. The plant to the left is an African Basil which in its second year has grown tall.

This type of begonia is sometimes called cane begonia and I read you can make starts by cutting a bit of the cane and putting it in water until it roots. I want to try that. Angel wing begonia is suited to grow outdoors in zones 10-11, but it has grown here in zone 8 for 40 years, with no special pampering. It requires filtered sunlight or the leaves with scorch and do not over water.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jesus Calling, a pink cover contains wisdom

I recently bought this delightful book of devotionals with one devotional for each day. The edition I bought has the look and feel of pink leather, yet it is imitation leather. The bookstore had this edition and a paperback. This pink edition is a pleasure to hold and read which is why I chose it. The author is Sarah Young.
Here is a link to it on Amazon Jesus Calling
The devotional for September one says in part "Seek Me in good times; seek Me in hard times. You will find Me watching over you all the time."
Recommended Scripture for this day: Deuteronomy 4:29, Hebrews 10:23 and Psalm 145:20.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pink Gladiolus on Wordless Wednesday

This bouquet of pink gladiolus makes me smile when I see it on our kitchen table. This is one bunch with ten stems and makes a generous sized bouquet.
Since this is Wordless Wednesday I won't say too much :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pretty hare painting by Jackie Morris

Look what beauty arrived in my mail, all the way from Wales from the artist Jackie Morris.
In the top center is a card and the others are postcards. She illustrates books, paints, and also writes books. Her current book is a retelling of The Wild Swans story by Anderson. If you go to her blog and website you can see a lot of her beautiful paintings and more about the Wild Swans book which releases about September 19, 2015.
I enjoy visiting her blog and reading about her life in the countryside of Wales, where she walks with dogs and cats and encounters wild life, all of which inspire her art.
Thank you Jackie for the beautiful card and postcards.