January 6, 2012

A change of heart. . .

I'm consolidating my blogs into just one, over at the original Magickwyrds for the time being. Thanks for reading the Bookshelf- you'll find more reviews, crafting stories, faeries and cooking experiments over there, just follow the link and meet me there!

October 28, 2011

Christmas is in the air

     It’s funny how the seasons chase each other around the calendar, always one step ahead of us. Halloween isn’t even here yet and I’m already reading Christmas books. I say “it’s for inspiration- it’s for my work!” but honestly, they all see through my excuses. This is the year of the public library as we face another round of budget cuts, so I’ve been scrapping them off the shelves in the children’s section- ah nostalgia! Berenstein Bears, Richard Scary’s Best Christmas Book Ever! and Mousekin’s Christmas Eve are all oldies but goodies- but I’ve found a new gem this year, one I had forgotten all about since reading it as a child. Shirley Climo’s “The Cobweb Christmas” is a beautifully quiet little book, hidden away behind all the chipped, cracked and worn books on the children’s shelf that proves someone loves them, even still. I love when the old books are still in rotation at the library. So many of them get sold out back in the monthly book sales these days, never to be seen again.
     So, The Cobweb Christmas. What’s it all about? Well, it’s got little old granny-aunts; headscarves and quilts; all-seeing Santa’s and lovely old Christmas traditions, followed year after year. I love a good yearly tradition, don’t you? Forest animals and snow covered fields; tiny wooden houses, kindness to animals and a little bit of winter solitude.
     Here’s what it doesn’t have: greed, or bombs; desperation or video games; hustle and bustle or cities crammed full of nothing but shops. ahem. I’m just sayin.
     Possibly the best part of all, aside from the teensy-weensy little hint of morality running through this slim little volume, is the art that fills its pages. Very soothing and just a bit magical, Joe Lasker’s style is a lovely accent that brings this beautiful story to life. Soft colours, pencil drawn lines, lots of light and shadow- the images are just right.

Looking for a bit of magic this year? Pick up a copy of The Cobweb Christmas from your local library- and who knows? You might just find your next holiday tradition on the shelves nearby . . .

October 10, 2011

I'm under a dragon's spell . . .

     Found a lovely new book this month, and devoured it in less than a week! Okay, I know that is a long time to be devouring something, but it was so good I wanted to make it last. Donita K. Paul's "DragonSpell" is a great book full of  adventure, magic, dragon's (squee!) and good, solid storytelling.
     I flipped through the book in the bookstore and got hooked on the scene in Granny Noon's house. No spoilers! (It's awesome! If you liked "On the Banks of  Plum Creek, you will LOVE this)
     The imagery is lovely in this book- I love when an author really creates their "world", allowing me to get lost in the details of it. I consider a book to be a good read when I can wander away from reality and get caught up in the characters in a book.
     The cast of characters in "DragonSpell" is not too large, either. Sometimes authors get carried away populating their work, but this one is just right. The protagonist encounters lots of varied peoples along her journey, with enough description to illustrate them without them taking over the story. Perfect!
     "DragonSpell" was just what I needed to kick off the Fall season- a comfortable journey full of adventure, self-discovery, magic and dragons!

*Disclaimer- I love dragons, so this is a biased report.

October 6, 2011

An end to all things . . .

     A moment of silence . . .

September 30, 2011

Grand Opening

Popping in today with a quick announcement- I have decided to make this a public blog. Next week's posting will go live over the internet.

Just to be clear- I will be unlocking this blog next week: you will no longer be required to have an invitation to view it and all comments will be seen by anyone viewing the website.

If you do need to reach me confidentially, please send me an email through my home address.

Thanks for reading my blog! It has been a wonderful experience reaching out to you all and sharing what I read. Joanna and Brad have made the majority of the comments, which leads me to believe they are the only two people reading this, and that makes me feel funny about keeping this a "private" blog. I speak with them or exchange emails with them almost every day (and I see Brad every day, anyway!) so it feels kinda weird to create a blog for just the two of them to read. I spend a lot of time writing these posts, and would like to see if they do as well as my other blog out in the wide world net. I had originally created this blog to serve as a kind of bookclub, but it hasn't been successful in that vein, so I am removing that give-and-take aspect of the blog out of the concept and when I did that, it was just another blog I write. I enjoy writing it, but it's very one-sided as it stand right now, so I'd like to see if I can drum up some business and get a "customer base" for the Bookshelf.

If you have been lurking- thanks for reading my words!
If you have been posting- you are awesome, thank you sooo much for encouraging me in this!
And if you liked what you saw so far, just wait til next week's posting . . .

September 27, 2011

The Essentials of gaming

     It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

I was talked into trying out D&D last year when Brad and I started a homegame on a regular basis. It turns out I really liked it, and even started going to GameDay this year almost every month. Now, this Fall I’ve been going to Encounters once a week.

Then I started browsing the bookshelves at the store we play at.

It’s not my fault!

Dungeons and Dragons@ has a semi-new line of books called “Essentials”, which I just completely adore. They are in the smaller, paperbacked format which I find so readable, that I just had to have them.

ALL OF THEM. ahem.

They are an updated version of the hardback, full size gaming books that everyone has been collecting since the beginning of time (er, for gamers that would be THE BEGINNING OF TIME IMMEMORIAL . . .) is there an echo in here? I like them. A lot. I think they are easier to read, have prettier pictures (ahem. I love picture books. I’m just sayin. You put pictures in your book, I’m probably buyin it. ahem.) AND they have up-to-date information in them, so now I don’t have to go lurking on the message boards anymore. Not that I ever did- there are too many of them, and the boys make boy comments all over them. just sayin.

There is just one teensy, weensy little problem. There aren’t any more! There are three main ones: the Rules Compendium; Heroes of the Fallen Lands; and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. There are two or three- maybe four, I haven’t checked their publishing schedule lately- boxed sets that contain the Monster book (drool) and a whole slew of gaming “tools” that are completely and totally necessary for running the game. ahem. (obviously, this is not true. Most people wouldn’t need the neat little pogs that represent monsters, or the tile sets that make the little towns you play in, or those cool maps that illustrate the towns, or countryside's, or bogs; and you definitely won’t find a DM screen in every gamers backpack, and just how many dice does one gamer need, anyway? Um, LOTS. We need lots and lots of sets of dice. And some more for just looking at. And a few extra in case our favorites go cold. and don’t even get me started on the crafting/decorating possibilities of these little babies!)

So yeah, I’m sold. Show me the cute, little, sparkly, or crafty, and I’m there! Just don’t tell my husband, he thinks I just like the Goblins cause they’re Pyromaniacs . . .

September 16, 2011

The Rhythm of Family

     This is a beautiful book, written by Amanda Blake Soule and her husband, Stephen. I have her first two books also- "The Creative Family" and "Handmade Home". Full of essays, projects, observations, child-rearing advice, and glorious pictures of their home in Maine throughout the seasons, it's a great book for parents, crafters, nature lovers and artists alike.
     Each chapter covers a month, with an essay by each author, a project for kids, maybe an observation exercise, or a recipe to follow. Amanda has a blog that I've been reading for (has it been that long?) 3-4 years now that she fills with beautiful pictures of all her yummy food recipes, knitting projects and her tomato harvests. Her books have been a natural progression from all the work she does on her blog, and is a more in-depth look at her family's yearly habits, routines, and rituals, without being preachy or weird who-does-this-woman-think-she-is-look-at-my-perfect-family-ness.
     "The Rythm of Family" does such a good job of highlighting some issues that keep cropping up in modern life, without being overbearing or weirdly intense about them. How do we disconnect from the media, without ignoring it? How can we get outside more, and still make it fun to be there? What should be in applesauce? How long does it take to dye fabric? How do I make a rubber stamp?
     What? I did say she had craft projects in there, to . . .