Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Sunday Salon and The Gifts of Christmas...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that time of the week we get together with other bookish people and talk about bookish things. So find a comfy chair, pour yourself some hot cocoa and relax!

It's just a few days before Christmas! Have you finished your Christmas shopping?! We took a drive today to enjoy the unseasonable warm winter weather (it was 67 degrees! in Connecticut) and as we drove through the "city" part of our drive, there were droves of people crowding the stores. This year I did most of my Christmas shopping online. This year is also the first year, and hopefully the last year, that I am in a wheelchair for any trips out to the store. It is definitely not easy being in a wheelchair, and  with aisles stuffed with all sorts of wonderful things to buy, sometimes it is hard to get around, hard to hold more than a few things, hard to hold a basket. I have new found empathy for people who have to use a wheelchair permanently, and look forward to being able to walk again someday. And so, most of my shopping was online. Etsy being one stop… have you ever shopped at Etsy?! It is filled with amazing craftsy people, artists and wonderful objects. I can't reveal what I purchased because I don't want to reveal what I bought for certain people, but suffice it to say there were some beautiful things sent through the mail.

I received an early Christmas present from my Secret Elf! This year I participated in the Goodreads, Books on the Nightstand, Secret Santa gift exchange. It was organized by Ann Kingman of Books on the Nightstand, that great podcast hosted by Ann and Michael Kindness, with the help of 4 other "Elfs" through and was so much fun! Everyone who joined in on the fun randomly got a name of another bookish person, and then the fun began! We were to send something on the person's wish list or thing of some other bookish gift(s) to give with a limit of $25. My Secret Elf was none other than Michael Kindness himself! I'm such a fan that the package from him would have been enough, but inside my package were two wonderful books, both of which were on my wish list. Here they are…

Aimless Love, new and selected poems by Billy Collins… from Booklist: Collins, or the speaker in his poems, watches himself with helpless bemusement as he lives “a life of continual self-expression, / jotting down little things.” Obsessive “noticing” gets him into all sorts of trouble, as recounted so wryly, so tenderly in “Aimless Love,” the poem that gives this vital and shrewdly provocative volume its title and in which the speaker records his sequential ardor for a wren, a mouse, and a bar of soap. In selections from his four most recent collections, from Nine Horses (2002) to Horoscopes for the Dead (2011), and 51 glimmering new poems, former poet laureate and reader favorite Collins, the maestro of the running-brook line and the clever pivot, celebrates the resonance and absurdity of what might be called the poet’s attention-surfeit disorder. He nimbly mixes the timeless––the sun, loneliness—with the fidgety, digital now. Some poems are funny from the opening gambit to the closing flourish. But Collins’ droll wit is often a diversionary tactic, so that when he strikes you with the hard edge of his darker visions, you reel.

I really enjoy Billy Collins' poems. They are not ornamental or filled with curly cues, but down to earth and sparse only to the point of getting his point across. He has a dry wit that is showcased in his poems and they are just simply enjoyable to read. Billy Collins was also the poet laureate for the US for two years. What is a poet laureate? Here's the official word from Wikipedia:

Laureates receive a US$35,000 stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures at the library, and a charge to promote poetry. No other duties are specified, and laureates are not required to compose for government events or in praise of government officials. However, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the then Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote "The Names" which he read on September 6, 2002, which is available in streaming audio and video.

There are voracious readers who never consider reading poetry. I find that poetry can be fun, comforting, inspirational. What do you think? Poetry reader or not? If you are new to poetry and want to try some contemporary poems, I would definitely recommend Billy Collins! And Aimless Love by Billy Collins is a great collection!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers… Crayons have feelings, too! Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

This book is hilarious! Of course Crayons have feelings! Black is happy that he's used quite a bit, but geez, why does he only get to outline everything?! Why do all the other colors get to be used to color in? Can't he have some fun too! And poor Pink! Pink never gets used! Why it's been over a year and that was just because Duncan's Sister used it! And Blue is very happy because it gets used a lot, but it's so short now it can't see over the wall anymore. Each Crayon writes Duncan a letter, and illustrates some of their points. It is fun and would be a great book for children- especially to have them try and use the colors for things they would not ordinarily use them for! (Even my Hubby thought this book was creative).

This week on Chick with Books, stop by Tuesday, Dec. 24th for a reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas on the Blog. It will be available all day and through Christmas, so if you'd like to relax and have someone read to you, this is the spot! Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

And the rest of the week will be quiet and I'll be enjoying time spent with family and friends. Next Sunday, will be close to New Years and the END OF THE YEAR. There have been "Best of Year" book lists for months now, but I like to wait until the end of the year to let all those "late" published books in on the list. So, next Sunday we'll take a look at the best of 2013.

Until then… I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!



Carrie K. said...

Your Secret Elf was spot on! The Collins collection is excellent - enjoy. :)

Anonymous said...

Wish I'd read about Etsy earlier so I could have used it for shopping too. thanks for the tip though - I can see this being a great source for next year.

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