Reading in The Woods

a walk in the woods with coffeeIt’s camping season! Time for stories around the fire, nature walks, campfire concoctions, and for me; Extra Reading Time! I’m always up super early when I camp; and there is nothing better than starting a small fire, brewing a hearty cup of coffee, and relaxing to the sound of the breeze and the birds, with a good book of course.

Here are my suggestions for Reading in the Woods:

Gossip From the Forest
by Sara Maitland
Fairy tales are one of our earliest cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke similar sensations: At times they are beautiful and magical, at others spooky and sometimes horrifying. Maitland argues that the terrain of these fairy tales are intimately connected to the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils. With each chapter focusing on a different story and forest visit, she offers a complex history of forests and how they shape the themes of fairy tales we know best.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
When young Jody Baxter adopts and orphaned fawn he calls Flag, he makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature which won Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”  ~Lord Byron

Enchantment
Orson Scott Card
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm. Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Faerie Dusted Clouds
Put a handful of marshmallows in a cup, steam milk and pour half over marshmallows stir well, add the rest of the milk, top with a dollop of whip, sprinkle with sugar crystals and dust with vanilla bean powder. (For the cold version use ice cream instead of marshmallows.)

A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

download (1)Book Bean: S’more Coffee Please!
Espresso, pulled over dark chocolate chips, add steamed milk of choice, stir, top with graham cracker crumbs, lots of marshmallows, broil for a few seconds (if you can) and drizzle with chocolate


Galapagos: A Novel

by Kurt Vonnegut
A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
This one may not be for everyone, it might have you jumping at every creak and pop in the woods!
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” ~Saint Bernard

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle

Arguably the most popular rendering of the legend of Robin Hood, the yeoman-thief of Sherwood Forest. Each chapter offers new and exciting stories, including the famous scenes of Little John and his staff besting Robin on the bridge, Robin winning the golden arrow at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s archery contest, his complicity with courageous Will Scarlet and musical Alan-a-Dale, the continual outsmarting of the Sheriff, and many others.
A great choice to bring along for the little ones, or the young at Heart!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Leaves of Green Latte
Matcha Tea with Steamed Milk and Mint Leaves
Use Match powder to make a strong brew, add mint leaf and stevia and stir, steam milk of choice and pour over green tea, sprinkle with vanilla bean powder and garnish with mint leaves.

The Forest Unseen
11797368by David Haskell
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest
In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Written with remarkable grace and empathy,  a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Dare I mention this favorite of mine again?! Between the Quirky Radagast and the Enchanting Wood Elves, how could I resist!

Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Reluctantly Bilbo joins their quest, unaware of what lies ahead on the journey to the Lonely Mountain.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee-cup-2926638_960_720.jpgBook Bean: Muddy Mocha
Just a little bit of everything!
Espresso, cinnamon, chocolate, almond extract, steamed milk, sprinkled with nutmeg and clove, garnish with cinnamon sticks

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed 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: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.”
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

In A Cottage In A Wood
by Cass Green
A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge.
A twisted secret
Alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare, a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

2521_black_forest_coffee_2Book Bean: Black Forest Frappe
Brew you coffee strong, let sit, add ice to blender (or just poor ingredients over ice and enjoy), poor coffee over ice, add milk of choice, add grenadine and almond extract to taste, blend, place in cup of choice, top with whip, dark chocolate shavings and a maraschino cherry!

So if you are forest bound and unafraid of the woods, don’t forget a good book, I suggest something new and unexpected!

What are your favorite camp-out reads?

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Accolades for Arthur Conan Doyle

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

6815345113_e3ee5dc18e_bConan Doyle is most famous as the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, but he had a varied career as a writer, journalist and public figure.
Born Today on May 22nd 1859 in Edinburgh into a prosperous Irish family. He trained as a doctor, gaining his degree from Edinburgh University in 1881. He worked as a surgeon on a whaling boat and also as a medical officer on a steamer travelling between Liverpool and West Africa. He then settled in Portsmouth on the English south coast and divided his time between medicine and writing.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The most recognized detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes emerged on the crime scene in A Study in Scarlet in 1887. His deductive reasoning, keen insight, skillful observations, and investigative tactics became the tools necessary to solve riveting and intriguing crimes that continue to delight generations of readers. Discover or rediscover the joys of these fascinating mysteries.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Vampire Stories
Who would suspect that the same mind that created the most famous literary detective of all time also took on the eternally popular genre of vampires? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a contemporary of Bram Stoker, gave us some fascinating works of vampire fiction. From the bloodsucking plant in “The American’s Tale” to the bloodsucking wife in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” he reveled in the horror created by creatures who survived on the blood of men and women.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com
The Lost World
Talented and extremely ambitious reporter Edward Malone received a humiliating refusal from a beloved girl to marry him only on the grounds that he is too mediocre. The offended young man rushes to the editorial office and begs the authorities to send him to the most dangerous corner of the Earth, so that he can make a report there.

An experienced editor gives the young man a difficult task: at any cost to get an interview with the scandalously dangerous, impulsive Professor Challenger, glorious for his hatred of journalists. After a small but very colorful fight, the professor invites the young man to a conference where Challenger will make a statement that will shock the whole scientific world. It says that dinosaurs and other relic living creatures have been preserved on the inaccessible South American plateau. To support this statement the professor assembles an expedition in which the reporter Malone will become a representative of the press.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

What are you favorite Doyle delights, please share!

Remembering Browning

“Love, hope, fear, faith – these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.”

collection_5295_RobertBrowningRobert Browning was born in Camberwell on May 7th 1812 and educated by private tutors. His parents were wealthy enough to allow him to travel and to be a poet as if it were a profession. He came known by literary figures such s Wordsworth and Landor after the publication of “Paracelsus” in 1835, but he was unrecognized by the public until “Men an Women” appeared twenty years later. He was therefore almost unknown when in 1846 he eloped with Elizabeth Barrett.

He is now widely recognized as a master of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. Browning is perhaps best-known for a poem he didn’t value highly, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a children’s poem that is quite different from his other work. He is also known for his long form blank poem The Ring and the Book, the story of a Roman murder trial in 12 books.

A long dramatic narrative poem, and, more specifically, a verse novel, of 21,000 lines. It was published in four volumes from 1868 to 1869 by Smith, Elder & Co.

The book tells the story of a murder trial in Rome in 1698, where an impoverished nobleman, Count Guido Franceschini, is found guilty of the murders of his wife Pompilia Comparini and her parents, having suspected his wife was having an affair with a young cleric.

“No, when the fight begins within himself, A man’s worth something.”

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”


The love affair between two of the Victorian era’s most famous poets is one of passion, tragedy, illness, and ultimately, endurance. Collected here are their 573 love letters, which capture their courtship, their blossoming love, and their forbidden marriage.


Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.

 

Star Wars Fan Book Guide

131005-F-NZ143-040In a Galaxy not so far away Jedi fans of all varieties are celebrating Star Wars day.
So of course I’ve decided to come out of hiding and do a special Star Wars themed Mini Bean. This is for all those Science Fiction lovers of Galaxy Warfare and Stellar Adventures!  It just so happens that I have quite a cache of these books in my to-read list at the moment, so that works out nicely.

Star Wars worthy books and stellar sips, May the 4th be with you:

Foundation
by Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

There are 2 preludes to this series:
Prelude to Foundation and Forward to Foundation

rebel boostBook Bean: Rebel Booster
Brewed strong tea of choice (I prefer white tea) and red bull (can do sugar free red bull with 1 serving of grenadine) with a tish of grenadine (optional for the sweet tooth.) Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
AKA “Blade Runner”
by Philip K. Dick
Although I admit I was not a fan of the movie I have still always wanted to read this classic novel.
Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back, with lethal force.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

moonmochaBook Bean: Moon Mocha
Steamed or heated milk of choice (good with coconut milk), espresso shot, white chocolate syrup to taste (or can temper white chocolate chips and add to hot milk first, if syrup is unavailable, or use powder), top with whip cream (optional) and finish with a tsp of vanilla extract powder.

Battlefield Earth
by L. Ron Hubbard
From the ashes of humanity rises a young hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. Setting off on an initial quest to discover a hidden evil, Jonnie unlocks the mystery of humanity’s demise and unearths a crucial weakness in their oppressors.

Rated 4.6 on audible.com

Best of 2016 Science Fiction Audiobook
A very long book (1k pages depending on the version) so opting for the Audiobook may not be such a bad idea. 

jedi-juice.jpgBook Bean: Jedi Juice
1 cup pineapple, 1 large beetroot, 1 green apple, 1 cucumber, ½ lemon, and 1-inch fresh ginger. For those without a juicer use fresh and/or 100% juice alternatives with squeezed lemon and zest of ginger. This combination of juices is full of energy, super healthy, and tastes great too!

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
A world at stake – A quest for the ultimate prize – Are you ready?
This cult classic is all the rave right now because of the new movie. I haven’t seen the movie, so feel free to weigh in on which one is better. No spoilers though! I have it on good authority that the audible books is quite good on this one as well. If you haven’t read this yet and are a fan of the Genre, it is a classic and a must read.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

chewbaccachino

Book Bean: Chaibaccaccino
Frothy steamed milk, strong brewed coffee or espresso shot, with cinnamon (to taste,) sugar
(to taste,) a dash of clove and nutmeg stirred in, and lavishly topped with cocoa.

This is the story of a book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

-not an Earth book, never published on Earth, and, until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or even heard of by any Earthman.

Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book!

Another classic by Douglas Adams
Read the original or go for the
all-in-one trilogy.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Also nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by The Great American Read

yodas-tea-e1525496072156.jpgBook Bean: Yoda’s Tea
Brewed Green tea (or matcha if preferred) with muddled mint leaves and honey to taste, garnish with lime (optional.) Good hot or cold it is.

We Are Legion
(We Are Bob)
by Dennis E. Taylor
Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.
Also another great audiobook choice as it was named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Book of 2016

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

images-e1525496694837.jpgBook Bean: The Dark Side Decaf 
Espresso roast coffee pulled or brewed  with a dash of cocoa powder (in the brew), pinch of salt and 2 tsp of sugar (optional and/or to taste.) Try sipping on this while nibbling some chocolate, Dark and Delectable!

Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.

Of course I couldn’t leave out my favorite; this book is short and sweet, but amazing!

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Ender’s Game is an affecting novel.”―New York Times Book Review

full throttle


Book Bean: T
he Force Full Throttle
Medium roast coffee, with added espresso shot, a pinch of salt, 1-2 tsp of sugar, and 1-2 tbls of half n half (or to taste.)


I’ll end with a few books that are officially Star Wars.

D1nhxfncvcS._SL250_FMpng_Star Wars: Old Republic Trilogy 
Read by Marc Thompson
Written by varied authors
A trilogy basedon a popular video game; the best rated Trilogy out there (and the audible books are raved about!)

Revan
by Drew Karpyshyn
There’s something out there: a juggernaut of evil bearing down to crush the Republic – unless one lone Jedi, shunned and reviled, can stop it.
Rated 4.1 on audible.com
Deceived
by Paul S. Kemp
The Old Republic ramps up the action and brings listeners “face-to-face” for the first time with a Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords: Darth Malgus, the mysterious, masked Sith
Rated 4.1 on audible.com

and Fatal Alliance
by Sean Williams
Number-one New York Times best-selling author Sean Williams brings the world of the game to life in his latest novel, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance.
Rated 4.1 on audible.com

Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno
At long last, the Star Wars story of the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Plagueis and his apprentice, Darth Sidious, is revealed!
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It’s a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine,
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Arguably the best star wars book written, but please weigh in!

latteauleia.jpg
Latte au Leia:
Choice brewed coffee with cinnamon, steamed milk (if you don’t have a way to steam then heat and froth as best you can,) a tiny bit of caramel sauce stirred in, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. R.I.P Princess

379b9c7b7e9d5516362aed3512de5f14Well that’s it Star Wars fans, I hope you found it enjoyable and/or enlightening. Please share your relative favorites!