24 January 2012

Want To Play?

You get me thinking. Often.

You inspire me. Regularly.

You prompt me to be a better person. Frequently.

You challenge me. Time and again.

Thank you.

I've had a burst of creativity this afternoon and would like you to consider an idea inspired whilst writing a reply to one of your fellow Gifters just now.

In response to my post "A Year Of Books - A Challenge", Millie wrote:

2011 was the year that I read the least for pleasure & it broke my heart. 
This year will be different, nothing will get in the way, nothing. 
Lovely post Felicity.
Millie xx 

I started to type a reply and was struck like a bolt from the blue as the phrase on the poster above came to mind. Then lickety-split I set to, creating a graphic to remind myself, Millie and all of you who are committed to reading the written word to keep the art of reading books alive. 

As I was faffing with graphics, I began to ponder whether or not any of you might be interested in joining together for a regular  'show & tell' of the books that we've read?  Perhaps on a monthly basis.

Some of you already write posts like the gorgeous Kerry has here, sharing your reading delights each month.
But for most of us, keeping track of our reading activities is a bit of a 'hit & miss' affair.

I wonder if we would be more inclined to set aside the laptop for the delights of the paper page if we were to join in a monthly 'linky' along the lines of, oh I don't know...."Vive le Livre!" where we set some 'reading targets' for the year then check in listing the titles we've completed.

Actually whether or not you feel inspired to join in, I think I need your help to achieve my reading goals for 2012 and will list them here:

* I'd like to read two books per month [at the very least]

* I'm keen to read at least one Australian novel

* I'd like to complete a classic eg: "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

* At least two biographies or autobiographies will be in my selection

* One informative non-fiction will be in my list

* Inspired by Gifters' recommendations I'm going to try new authors & titles [for me]:

~ "When God Was A Rabbit"Sarah Winman;
~ "Before I Go To Sleep" SJ Watson;
~ "Shakespeare's Wife" Germaine Greer;
~ "Stasiland" Anna Funder;
~  One Gerald Durrell title - am open to suggestions here;
~  The first book in the "Mistborn" series by Branden Sanderson;
~ "The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht {Read in February}
~ "Foals Bread" by Gillian Mears;
~ "Past The Shallows" by Favel Parrot;
~ "The Weight of Silence" by Catherine Therese and finally
~ "Five Bells" by Gail Jones. {Read in February}
~ "Enjoy Every Sandwiche" by Lee Lipsenthal
~ "At Home" by Bill Bryson
~ "The Paris Wife" Paula McLain
~ "A Tale Of Two Cities" Charles Dickens

Of course you might like to keep your goal/s as simple as "I'd like to read a book each month" but I'd be thrilled if you decided to play along.

I'm thinking that the first 'Vive Le Livre' linky will be in the first week of February....hhm next week.

What do you think? Are you in?

If your hand shot up straight to the ceiling and you're keen to participate, I'd love to hear from you.

And how wonderful is this? The lovely Tina has created this button for us to pop on our sidebars and any posts that we link in - thank you angel heart, you are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

vive le livre 

For those of you who have stopped by from Laura's 'Post Of The Month' club - welcome!
I hope that you find something here that tickles your fancy. x

20 January 2012

Gathering Gratefuls - Feathery Jewels

Walking through our neighbourhood, I spied a scarlet chested friend high up in a gum tree....
who in turn called out to his mate to come out and spy the humans...can you see her green tail?
Out she came to say g'day albeit a little shyly....
then with some loving reassurance and...
a little kiss, she was encouraged to share the limelight.

This little series is a celebration of so much that is simple and wonderful in my world at the moment.

* That we live in a peaceful & safe place where I can go for a walk at any time of the day

* That our home is in a neighbourhood filled to the brim with glorious flora and fauna

* That nature gifts me glorious colour every day in the form of clear blue skies, gorgeous leaves, bark and blooms and the startling jackets worn by lots of different feathered friends

* That my health has returned to the level where I'm walking up to 5km at a time 

* That sometimes I remember my camera and am able to capture these glorious moments of serendipity and share them with you

If you're a regular 'Gifter' you'll know that I like to share this series with my sparkling friend Maxabella, if not, click over here to read what other people are grateful for this week.

Happy day!

17 January 2012

A Year Of Books - A Challenge...

In February 2011, charged with great zeal and enthusiasm I decided that I would like to read 52 books in 52 weeks! The question that you may be asking (as I am now) is "What were you thinking?".

Obviously not about the reality of this challenge and how someone might actually achieve this when they have an actual life to lead beyond the pages of books, no matter how fascinating.

The list below is a record of the books that I actually did manage to not only read, but enjoy, learn from, be inspired by and share on.

They are presented in chronological order of reading and I must admit that at the time of writing this that the first row really seems like they were read MUCH longer than twelve months ago.

If pressed to give you my 'Top Five', they would be the following with '1' being my favourite:

1. Elegance of the Hedgehog - I hope to reread this again in 2012
2. The Book Thief
3. The Lacuna
4. Eiffel's Tower
5. Lady Chatterly's Lover

As I turn the pages on new tomes in 2012, I think I'll be a little more realistic in my ambitions and suggest that a goal of '22-in-52' may be not only more achievable but give me greater scope for devouring some larger, more sumptuous reads....have a peek at my sidebar to see what I've already enjoyed and what I'm currently reading.

"A Fine Balance" was my first read completed for the year. It's set in India and is an enjoyable character based story which explores the finer elements of life's journey.  I can't tell you how many pages it was as I've already shared it on, but it was long which is exactly what you want if the story is a good one, right?

For Christmas my darling brother and SIL gifted me Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion". Although I haven't exactly read it cover to cover, I don't think there's a section that I haven't devoured with great interest and my vege patch has already benefited from Ms Alexander's great knowledge and culinary enthusiasm.  I've just popped it on the scales to see how much it weighs as it's a tome in the real sense of the word....3kg! That's 6.61 pounds for all my Northern Hemisphere friends!
So in addition to inspiring my cooking choices and informing my gardening habits, every time I refer to this book I could be getting a light weights routine in as well - yay!

The book currently sitting on my bedside table is "Atlas Shrugged".  This book is such a whopper that to read it in bed I need to employ a book seat . It's not exactly a page-turner [yet] but it was highly recommended, so I'll keep plugging along. Also need to make an appointment with the optometrist as it has highlighted my deteriorating eyesight, hmmmm.

So that's my start to my reading year documented for you.
I'd love to receive recommendations of excellent page-turners that you've enjoyed so that I can pop them onto a list for the next time I visit the library. As you can see my tastes are fairly eclectic [although I must admit that sci-fi doesn't appeal at all] so please share.

Happy page turning!

14 January 2012

Gathering Gratefuls - Sparkle & Grace

So here we are with almost half the calendar pages for January flipped and this only my second post of the year....I have indeed been savouring this lovely break.

Each morning I've enjoyed a leisurely start to the day, waking when my body releases the threads of sleep (vs the call of lunchboxes to be filled or jobs to be done) then proceeded to salute the day with a coffee made in my French Press....this is where I generally do a simultaneous sigh and experience the glorious sensation of my eyelids zinging open.

Right now I can hear Captain V going through his routine in the gym downstairs (we have some excellent health goals for 2012, but I'll share them with you later) and I'm reminded that the silver stead (my bike) didn't get her 'run' yesterday and that after I write this I have a date with Luke and 5km of our neighbourhood streets.

As I contemplate this day (the last one before 'The Gifts' return tomorrow) with all of its open promise, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for all that is possible and all that we are blessed with.

This has a bitter-sweet tinge to it as close family members and friends have just received life-blows that had me reeling with that useless question "Why?!?".
  • Why them?
  • Why now?
  • Why?!? Why?!? Why?!?
With some reflection, I've decided that a more appropriate question is "How?".
  • How can I best support these special people?
  • How can I contribute to their journey forward?
  • How can I take care of my 'self' so that I have the energy and capacity to enable real help?
I also take inspiration from many of you whose stories I've come to know since beginning this adventure into Blogland. There are many of you who have overcome (or working towards overcoming) huge obstacles with grace, grit and great determination. If you're reading this, I'm sure you know who you are and I thank you for being a beacon of light for me through my own struggles.

Someone who really knocks my socks off with all that she's done and the goals that she's set herself for 2012 is Jennifer Reid whose blog "Life Is Like A Cupcake" is filled to the brim with sparkle.

Jennifer is celebrating life this year by participating in what she aptly describes as "an epic fundraising adventure - Marathon de Paris". Along with four other women she's raising money for the National Breast Cancer Association with the goal that there will be no more breast cancer deaths by 2030 - how awesome is that?

Please, please, please watch this video, I'm sure you'll be touched by Jennifer's warmth and enthusiasm...

To all my sparkly Blogerista friends and to those special people in my life who are staring down black clouds at the moment, I salute you and am ever so grateful for you and the threads that bind us.

And if you're seeking more inspiration or would like to post your own grateful link, scoot on over here to join in with some of my friends here....

01 January 2012

Day 1 - 2012

Happiest of Happy Days Ahead

Captain V and I welcome all that this new year has to offer with hearts, minds and arms wide open.

Yesterday, we went for a wonderful 'hunt & gather' amongst the local providores, purchasing some truly scrummy delicacies to tempt our tastebuds...including ingredients for some of Captain V's famous cocktails.

Today we will be ushering in the next page in our book of years with a festival of bubbles. 
Intrigued? Click here to find out what this means.  

Perhaps we'll even end the day donning our retro-inspired glasses just like in the photo above, cranking up the 'Happy Dancing' playlist on the iPod, jumping in the pool before retiring to the final flush of bubbles in the candlelit spa - sigh.

I hope that whatever you choose to do to mark this auspicious occasion, you are in good health, surrounded by those whom you truly love and there is much to look forward to in the days and months ahead.

Biggest of happy hugs and salut!