A Flight of Fantasy

magic_ball_library_columns_castle_63093_602x339I love fantasy fiction, especially when it is a bit different and outside the box (as fantasy fiction goes anyway.) I love books that enchant and leave the mind twinkling with imagination and magic. That is the inspiration behind this article and I hope it will captivate even the skeptics.

Worthy Fantasy-Fiction reads in all their phantasmagorical splendor:

Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. One night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her and the life he knows vanishes. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He’s fallen through cracks in reality and landed somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
An epic tale of the two magicians who emerge to change Englands history. In the year 1806, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England — until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Another practising magician emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil and the two join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic and soon he risks sacrificing everything.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dynamic Duo Mocha
Orange-Mocha-Recipe-1.jpgA magical mix of cinnamon and orange in a mocha that’s to die for! Step 1: start slowly heating 1/8 cup or 3 small squares of dark chocolate (temping in double boiler or in microwave.) Step 2: When melted move to stove-top and mix in 1-2 drops of orange extract (or use orange flavored chocolate) and cinnamon powder to taste, then slowly whisk in 4-5 oz of milk of choice till smooth. Step 3: make coffee preferably pull a shot of espresso. Once your chocolate is hot and frothy and your coffee is ready cup your chocolate and pour in your coffee. Top with marshmallows and garnish with orange zest and cinnamon.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
“There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” (appropriate don’t you thik 😉 ) The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
The King’s Tea
a9241d03_snickers-pousse-cafe-001_thumb.jpgPour 6 oz of black or spiced hot tea into a pousse cafe glass, using a spoon in glass to prevent cracking. Add 2oz’s amaretto almond liquor, but do not stir. Top with on oz chilled whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and chocolate flakes. Enjoy.

 

The Once and Future King & The Book of Merlyn
by T.H. White

51yf9TfEUML._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Once and Future King:
A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchants.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

The Book of Merlyn:
This magical account of King Arthur’s last night on earth. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

The Eye of The World: Book 1
by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs (a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts,) five villagers flee into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and the light.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Tea & Cake Latte
4d0362963d474978c371f7bd88d94948Another magical dynamic duo, this time in respect to England it’s with tea! Start with  4 ounces of strong steeped black tea (brew 2 tea bags in 5 ounces of water.) Steam 8 oz of milk (or boil and put in a blender, to make hot and frothy.) Pour .5-1 oz Real vanilla bean syrup (if you’d like to make it yourself heres a link!) in to cup of choice. Add in white chocolate powder and/or flakes to taste. Next add the tea and stir. Last add the steamed milk. Sprinkle with white chocolate flakes and vanilla bean.

The Queen’s Poisoner
by Jeff Wheeler
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life. Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. When new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kay
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

Inspired by the glory and power of The Tang dynasty, Guy Gavriel Kay evokes the dazzling 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Masala Chai
shutterstock_168107177Bring two cups of water to the boil. Add 3-4 tsp tea leaves, 1 chunk dried ginger, 3-4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 whole cloves, one piece of cinnamon, and 1-2 whole black peppers. Bring to boil again for about 15 seconds. Let stand for one minute. Warm milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Warm desired amount of milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Add warmed milk and sugar to taste. Garnish with Anise.

The Golem and The Jinni
by Helene Wecker
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on an enchanting journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem; creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni; being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in NYC, though entirely free.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

That concludes the list but here are A few other notable fantasy reads:
            

I purposely left off selections that I have featured before,
I want to keep it interesting.
So for more of my fantasy picks and favorites click HERE
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and HERE
Narnia, The Count, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, Potter etc. and a few other great titles are featured elsewhere as well.

What are your fantasy favorites?

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Reading The Pacific Northwest

20130602opart-m-630x571.jpgExpanding upon my Oregon reads, I thought I would dedicate to The Great Northwest as a whole. It’s vast and natural splendor is astounding and I love literature that captures it’s spirit, grit, and enchanting beauty.
I’ll of course throw in a few well-known coffee roasters that are sure to impress.


Here are the books that I feel really showcase the quality of the NW:

The Orchardist
by Amanda Coplin

At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he’s found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit at the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

download
C
oava

on Hawthorne
Our espresso bar is about community.

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The gorgeous shop expands on the simplicity of Coava’s signature menu with direct-trade Cocanu mochas, house-made Madagascar vanilla, and elegant teas from Portland’s Jasmine Pearl Tea. We always offer two origins for espresso based drinks alongside our rotating black coffees. Our pastries are crafted locally by the incredible folks at Little T American Baker. We always have fresh bags of our current coffee offerings. Whether for a gift, a special occasion, or just daily drinking, we can help find the perfect one for you.

The Boys in The Boat
by Daniel James Brown

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com (out of almost 20k reviews!)

logoVictrola Coffee Roasters
Seattle, Washington
Victrola Coffee Roasters We source premium coffees, roast them to highlight the natural beauty in bean and prepare them with care and intention as we tell the global story of coffee.
From the beginning, Victrola, named for the popular home phonograph of the 1920’s, victrolaseattle_612embraced the liveliness, exuberance and fun of the Jazz era. In our popular imagination the roaring 20’s represent excess, prohibition, flappers, and speakeasies. The era’s fingerprints mark much of what we do, from our passion for live vintage jazz to our cafes unique architectural charm.

The Good Rain:
Across Time and Terrain in The Pacific Northwest

by Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan describes his journeys in the Pacific Northwest through visits to salmon fisheries, redwood forests and the manicured English gardens of Vancouver. Here is a blend of history, anthropology and politics.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

download (1)Ritual Roasters
San Fransisco, CA
Forty years ago, a cup of coffee was nothing more than a caffeine delivery vehicle. It didn’t really matter how it tasted, it just had to slap you awake in the morning or prop you up through a long afternoon. 470555875_cb228d4481But in the last decade or so, things have changed. A lot. A few people scattered across the country discovered how amazing a cup of coffee can be when you source the beans directly from farmers you know. When you roast the beans yourself in such a way that nothing intrinsic to the coffee is removed. When you brew the coffee with down-to-the-second precision.

Snow Falling on Cedars
by David Guterson

On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, home to salmon fishermen and strawberry farmers, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with coldblooded murder. The year is 1954, and the shadow of WWII, with its brutality abroad and internment of Japanese Americans at home, hangs over the courtroom. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the Pacific war and now runs the island newspaper, is among the journalists covering the trial – a trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyomoto, the wife of the accused man and Ishmael’s never-forgotten boyhood love.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

vivace-logoEspresso Vivace
Our charter is to research, develop, and prepare caffe espresso as a new culinary art. “Espresso Vivace” translates loosely as great enthusiasm and excitement for espresso, the new world coffee.
Vivace is a partnership founded by David Schomer and Geneva Sullivan in 1988. espresso-vivace-roasteriaSince 1992 we have been roasting in the Northern Italian style: searching the world for the mildest arabicas and bringing each bean in our blends to the fragrant peak of caramelized sugar content. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has described Vivace espresso as the best coffee in the US, if not the world. Check out their Professional Barista Course as well.

The Absolutely True Diary
of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

This award winning book tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written; this story is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Sherman Alexie is Also the Author of 2 other great NW novels:
His first book “Reservation Blues” (winner of the American Book Award and The Murray Morgan Prize,) and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fish Fight in Heaven” and many many others.

reserve-logo
Starbucks Reserve

Roastery and Tasting Room

OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH COFFEE KNOWS NO BOUNDS.

Starbucks_Reserve_Roastery_and_Tasting_Room_03_galleryIntroducing a one-of-a kind coffee shrine in our hometown that captures the past, present and future of Starbucks.

This is our Roastery, a place we had to create. The Siren called. We listened.

A Building as unique as the coffee.

Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Cheryl thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Caffe_Vita_Logo_2013Caffe Vita
We’ve been roasting coffee in Seattle since 1995.
We are an independent, locally-owned company.  From our beginnings at the base of Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, Caffe Vita now operates nine cafes in the Pacific Northwest, a caffe-vita-LES-NYC-outside-1200x887roasteria cafe in New York City, and a cafe in Los Angeles.
We are pioneers of the Farm Direct movement, meticulously sourcing the best coffee available while developing long-term, mutually fruitful relationships with coffee growers in more than 11 countries.

PBS_0They also have the Public Brewing School A complimentary class that delves into the world of understanding and brewing better coffee at home. PBS focuses on manual brewing methods but is also an open forum to talk all things coffee!

Trout Fishing in America
by Richard Brautigan

Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and 1970s whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imagination of young people everywhere. He came of age during the Haight-Ashbury period and has been called “the last of the Beats.” His early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in America became an international bestseller. An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up in one word: mayonnaise.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

download (2).pngheart.
The motivation behind our coffee is simple: uncompromising quality. We are a specialty coffee roasting company aiming to bring people a focused and an exceptional coffee experience.

We begin with some of the best green coffee from mainly Central America, South America, and Africa.
487f096a0a008c5539f41f4542016f65We roast our coffee to the ideal degree, while fully developing complex flavors, and bringing out delicate clarity. The coffee is then cupped in the lab and must pass the standard of excellence before reaching our customers.
We believe that starting with quality green coffee enables us to put the care into the roasted coffee we serve—from the source to the final cup. We love what we do and want to share it with you.

Take a seat, let it cool a little, and enjoy the difference in heart coffee.

Tibetan Peach Pie
by Tom Robbins

Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe. His warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

fb-og-image-default-b0bce82fbf6759deaa8fb9b4b848783f6108edc78c42af454c1f82e7e999e093Blue Bottle Coffee
In the early 2000s, in Oakland, California, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee.
Blue Bottle BrooklynUsing a minuscule six-pound batch roaster, he made a historic vow: “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my guests, so they may enjoy coffee at peak flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.”
In honor of Kolshitsky’s heroics
(see story here), he named his business Blue Bottle Coffee and began another chapter in the history of superlative coffee.

Winterkill
by Craig Lesley

Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award: a deeply moving and evocative novel of fathers and sons. Danny Kachiah is a Native American fighting not to become a casualty. His father, Red Shirt, is dead; his wife, Loxie, has left him, and his career as a rodeo cowboy is flagging. But when Loxie dies in a car wreck, leaving him with his son, Jack, whom he hardly knows, Danny uses the magnificent stories of Red Shirt to guide him toward true fatherhood. Together, Danny and Jack begin to make a life from the dreams of yesterday and the ruins of today’s northwestern reservations.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

thundermuck-logoColumbia River Coffee Roaster
Coffee That Floats the arts
On the Coast, where we’ve been roasting fresh beans to order since 1992. We are ever-mindful of presenting a lovely cup of coffee to accompany our varied and ever-changing lives.
Joshua Bessex - Daily Astorian - Jan 5, 2015 - AR-150109903Our ongoing work includes a journey to expand our offering of direct-trade, organic, shade-grown, sustainably-harvested coffees, which also benefits the growers and their family of workers.

Our roasting facility makes its home below the Megler Bridge in the historic Uniontown District of Astoria, Oregon

The Curve of Time
The Classic Memoir of a Woman and Her Children Who Explored the Coastal Waters of the Pacific Northwest
by Wyle Blanchet

The fascinating true adventure of widowed Muriel Wylie Blanchet who packed her five children onto a 25-foot boat at the end of the 1920s, and acting as skipper, navigator, engineer and mother, took her family into the coastal waters of Vancouver Island, summer after summer, charting a world they made their own, encountering storms, fogs, rough seas, cougars and bears with the high spirits, the courage and the respect for native cultures and the natural world of a bona fida pioneer.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Cave-near-Mt-JeffersonI am a proud Pacific Northwesterner and I hope these books give a, if not complete, at least true illustration of it’s dazzling allure, strength, & character.

Tsundoku Treasures

As I was at the Beach this weekend I of courses had to scope out the local hole in the wall bookshop. I found Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City, ORIMG_0026
It’s the sister store to Roberts Book Shop, the biggest books store on the Oregon Coast. Though I have not yet had a chance to visit that store, I was most intrigued by what I was told of it. I may just have to make a special trip back, solely to seek it out.
However, I did enjoy Bob’s, it was a perfectly quaint little books shops filled with new and used books; I loved the cozy Atmosphere and friendly staff. I (to no one’s surprised) picked up a couple of new books as well.

Here is what piqued my interest:

imagesThe Woman in the Dunes
By Kobo Abé
Translated by Dale Saunders

A book on which the highly acclaimed motion picture was based, is one of the most famous contemporary Japanese novels. It’s a story of a man held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit in a remote seaside village which is in constant danger from the advance of the windblown dunes. It strikingly combines the elements of a suspense story with those of modern existentialist novel.

“It was the quality of a great myth, told with the exactness of realistic fiction. It reveals a talent unconditioned by geography: it is a major achievement.”
~ Chad Walsh (Book Week)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland
In a Ship of Her Own Making
By Catherynne M. Valente
Illustrated by Ana Juan

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, she of course accepts!

What made me buy the book was first, that I loved the title and second, was this printed on the back…

The Signpost before her now was made of pale wind-bleached wood
and towered above her. On the easterly arm, someone had carved the
deep elegant letters:
TO LOSE YOUR WAY.
On the northerly arm, pointing up to the tops of the cliffs, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR LIFE.
On the southerly arm, pointing out to seas, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR MIND.
And on the westerly arm, pointing up to a little headland and a dwindling of the golden beach, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR HEART.

Well, I’m intrigued! Are you?

Beach Books

beach_books2.jpgI am spending the weekend enjoying the gorgeous Oregon Coast while currently reading two sea-worthy books, and it’s got me thinking about Beach Books; novels filled with the lore and adventure of the sea. So, as I pondered the ocean’s beauty, I have compiled a list of books reminiscent of the vast and wonderful sea.
I have come up with a list of really great books that capture the ocean’s beauty, strength, and wonder.

Here is my list of oceanic beauties, shore to decorate many beach bags:

The Old Man and The Sea


by Ernest Hemingway

The endearing story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway tells the timeless tale of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

The Little Mermaid



by Hans Christian Anderson

After saving a prince from drowning, a mermaid princess embraces a life of extreme self-sacrifice to win his love and gain an immortal soul.

Over a century after its first publication, this tale persists as one of the world’s most enduring works of fantasy for children.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com


The Light Between Oceans

by M.L Stedman
Australian Tom Sherbourne returns home after fighting in the western trenches of World War I in Europe. He and his wife, Isabel, move to an isolated lighthouse, where they remain for several years. While there they informally adopt a baby girl who washes up in a lifeboat. When the child is two years old, Tom & Isabel return to the mainland on leave. There they discover that “there are other people in the world”, and keeping the child “has devastated one of them.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


The Swiss Family Robinson


by Johann David Wyss

Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com


Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
Life of Pi, according to Yann Martel, can be summarized in three statements: “Life is a story… You can choose your story… A story with God is the better story.” A recurring theme throughout the novel seems to be believability. Pi at the end of the book asks the two investigators “If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for?” According to Gordon Houser there are two main themes of the book: “that all life is interdependent, and that we live and breathe via belief.”

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


 Gift From The Sea

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Casting an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by lyrically recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, Lindbergh helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com


The Whale Rider

by Witi Ihimaera
Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he is focused on his duties as chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara, on the East Coast of New Zealand; a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. Every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief, but now there is no male heir, only Kahu. She should be the next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored and leads her tribe to a bold new future.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea


by Jules Verne

A classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on their ship. On the Nautilus, the three embark on a journey which has them going all around the world, under the sea.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


English Passengers

by Matthew Kneale
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His traveling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


Robinson Crusoe


Daniel Defoe

A castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Jacob Have I Loved



by Katherine Paterson

Sarah Louise, who lives with her family on a Chesapeake Bay island, grows up feeling less important than her beautiful twin sister. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one, but she must begin to find her own identity.
This is a great book (and movie) that I really love, think Hemingway meets Fried Green Tomatoes.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

 

In The Heart of The Sea



by Nathaniel Philbrick

This novel brings to life the extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men, in the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex. An event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. A wealth of whale lore and a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. In a harrowing page-turner, Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

What sea-worthy book/s do you consider a beach bag must?

Spring Fling!

bouquet-tulips-books-white-hat-carafe-juice-green-grass-spring-garden-against-background-cherry-53447938Spring is in full swing, and to my delight I’ve done a lot of reading over the last couple weeks. While on a wonderful extended weekend trip to beautiful southern California, I was even able to completely read one book and start two others. A total of five books since spring officially began,
I like the way this is going!

Here is What I’ve Been Sipping on this Spring:

Proof of Heaven
by Dr. Eben Alexander
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
This is a story that would be remarkable no matter who it happened to, but the unique and intriguing circumstances make it all the more enchanting. A highly trained and respected neurosurgeon contracts (mysteriously) an extremely rare brain disease, has an extensive and scientifically unexplained near death experience, and then miraculously makes a statistically impossible full recovery.
That it happened to Dr. Even Alexander makes it revolutionary. This is even truer of this new edition, in which he expands upon the lessons he learned from his experience, adding new insights and guidance for a world more in need of them than ever. Reading this book inspires a whole new way at looking at life and one’s self; that is both comforting and enthralling.

Playing with Fire
by Tess Gerritsen
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
I bought this book completely on a whim, because while purchasing it for a friend I read the first page and instantly knew it was my cuppa tea. This musically inspired thriller was also a romantic historical fiction.
It had an air of antique ambiance that I was quickly and completely absorbed in. To my surprise it also happened to take place in pre-WW2 Italy, did she write this just for me!

This book is deeply personal to the author and her musical background, which added an intimacy to the reading experience that was wonderful. The story also inspired/compelled her to compose a peace of music “Incendio” that has been performed by international violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers.
One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”

Here is a new go to favorite of mine I tried on my trip

Book Bean: Green Tea Lemonade
3c1b4d4cfc6a01ca57759a20c4a6c940Add some old school charm to your afternoon tea! Make some iced green tea and add a splash of homemade or prepared lemonade for a lightly sweet twist. Serve with lemon slices and mint leaves. Find a place under a tree or on a porch swing to lose yourself in a book while sipping this crisp and refreshing drink, and enjoy the added benefit of a healthy boost of energy!

Papillon
by Henri Charrière
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
A young man called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious Devil’s Island, a place from which no one has ever escaped .
His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexander Dumas
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com
Dumas’ classic novel of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of the Château d’If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

I love Dumas’ storytelling; he is romantic, witty, and poetic, and yet the way he can spin an intriguing adventure cannot be matched! This story (as is customary to his writing) has it all.

I’ve also been trying this new coffee out, and it is fantastic

BookBean: Seabrook Blend
by Grounds for Change
 images (2)A perfect match for my current nautical reading selections! Full-bodied, rich, and so deliciously smooth; with noticeable notes of hazelnut and caramel that are a pleasant delight. Each cup is interesting and full of flavor and culture, a perfect blend.

So what have you been reading/sipping? Do share!