Thursday, January 14, 2016

Good Books and My Love of Penguins. . . . . . . .

If I was ever able to take another journey to AntarcticaI would go in a heartbeat. 
Main reason you may ask. Definitely to spend more time among penguins.

Penguins, those adorable flightless birds who waddle around on land, and
 swim like fish in the Southern Ocean, always seem to be popping back into my life.
The recent beautiful gift of a carved penguin named Fiona from Jannett at her shop
 Barouke HERE, is bringing me such happiness daily. 

Then, coming across my little wooden box with the penguin on top - purchased in
Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern most city in the world as a souvenir before we sailed
 out on the most exciting adventure ever. I just now have realized it's perfect for
 some of my rings and it's on my dresser where I can enjoy it and the memories
 of another place, another time.

Yesterday, over coffee with Mr. Johnny as he took a break from making
 our walk-in shower tile and grout look like new, I showed him some penguin 
photos I took on that expedition, and he loved them - even asked if I would share
 one with him which I was happy to do. Mr. Johnny is a true artist, painting
 colorful canvasses, writing songs, playing guitar in his other life away from tiles
 grout and caulking.
When a real artist, such as he, reassures you that you too are creative and
 have a good 'eye' for composition, that's always a generous compliment. 

Then there's the book which arrived at Christmas! 
The Penguin Lessons - What I Learned From a Remarkable Bird -
by Tom Michell
Such a huge story packed into a fabulous little book. 
Heartwarming, witty, funny, and oh so sad at the end. . . . . . 
well actually not come to think of it!
The last couple of chapters were difficult and brought tears.
Then, turning a page, the Epilogue appeared (no spoilers here 
in case you are thinking of reading the book), and it was so brilliant 
I was able to put the tissues away and start smiling. 
I do love a happy ending, don't you?

Two other 'Christmas books' were waiting in the wings. 
Which one first - a hard decision because I'm anxious to devour both. 
It was a toss up. I decided to start with Juman Malouf's
The Trilogy of Two
This book is categorized under young adult literature and is Ms. Malouf's 
first novel. After reading a short article about her and this book, I was 
drawn to it by the fact it's a story of twins, and that she did all the
 phenomenal and quite addictive b/w illustrations of some very 
unusual characters in her story.
I've read a couple of chapters and I'm finding it enchanting. 
I feel it would not be appropriate for very young children, more for 
age ten and up. I feel quite at home reading her excellent prose, then 
anxious to turn the page to see the next eccentric character brought to
 life via Ms. Malouf's marvelous dexterity with pencils. 

Do you have a stack of great books awaiting?
With cold weather coming what do we require to make an afternoon
cozy - perhaps a fire in the hearth, a comfy chair, a warming drink
in a favorite mug. . . . . . . . and an interesting and beautiful book.


  1. Penguins are amazing creatures with the sweetest of faces so I can see why you would love them so much. Not to mention they are only found in certain places in the world. Certain awesome places. :) Is Mr. Johnny going to paint one of your photos? That would be awesome. Another blogger just complimented me on the composition of my recent posted pictures which I always find mind boggling. I'm just walking along, snapping away and hoping they turn out. I must say, since blogging, I certainly see things in a different way. I must go finish the book I started in November. :) Have a wonderful day. Tammy

  2. Your My. Johnny sounds like a wonderful man to have in your home. I usually don't care for having anyone working in my house and can't wait for it to be over, but some I've struck up a conversation with (and you know me!!), so I can identify somewhat. It's great that you found out things about him and vice versa. :)

    The books look marvelous. Not sure exactly what you meant about the ending of The Penguin Lesson. I cry at the very thought of one of God's creatures dying...but you did say it had a happy ending. I have several book waiting on my nightstand. I've actually had some tie to read, I've made it a priority and I've enjoyed 3 books since January 1. Very good for me. I used to devour books but with me on the Internet the eyestrain is terrible. So less on the laptop and more time curled up with a good book.

    Love to you,


  3. Penguins are adorable and oh so funny to watch. I would love to see them up close some day. I really enjoyed watching the Puffins when we visited Newfoundland in 2010. Thanks for the heads up on some good books. I'm in need of some as the wind blows on this wintry day. Deb

  4. Don't know if they are great or not, but a stack nonetheless. I have three I put in my booth that I could not finish.

  5. Already this year I have finished "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, which I cannot recommend enough. I am now reading "The Madonna of the Almonds" by Marina Fiorato, chosen because I loved her book "The Glassblower of Murano". Waiting in the wings is "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah, which has been highly praised. It is going to be super cold in Bismarck this three-day weekend but I will have plenty of food, wine and books to keep me company.

  6. Well, again, so much here to comment on, dear Mary.

    "Penguins, those adorable flightless birds" -- They really, are, aren't they? They are sort of the Mr. Bean of the Avery world, no? :)

    And YES, when an artist compliments you like that, run with it! It's rather funny, as I use that to my advantage quite often, must say. For example, when I compliment someone on their hair or clothing style or decor, etc, I often add tongue in cheek, "and you know, as I'm a paid professional designer, my opinion really counts, just so you know!" Hee.

    "The Trilogy of Two" book looks marvelous, as do they all, actually. I will see if I can check that out, at least online under the reviews on amazon. I think I've mentioned this before, but I have a few books I've been reading through for some time. As I tend to read rather slowly and then periodically too, when next picking up the book I've quite forgotten where I was the last time. Annoying but does make the book last longer, must admit.

    So, I have "Cooked" by Michael Pollan and "The Fall of Berlin" that I first picked up maybe 15 years ago! (Hahaha, I will never finish it's massive number of pages at this rate!)

    Thank you, btw, for your visit the other day too, especially as you tend to not get around to replying to your visitors that often so it was a special treat. I do plan on replying too. Stay tuned. :) It is a joy to visit you and enjoy blogging more this year as well. Yours is certainly one of my favourites as it's well written, employs a good use of white space, your photos are beautiful too as is your sense of style. So, you can run with that and put a feather in your cap too! :)

  7. Your books intrigue me. I have just ordered 9 books from Amazon because I don't like when my pile gets to the bottom. I am addicted to books.

  8. I do indeed have a stack of books waiting for me - as always! I received a few books as Christmas presents. I'm currently reading the novel, "The Coincidence of Coconut Cake." It's good, but a rather light and fluffy read. I do prefer more serious reading.

  9. I've been trying to push through a book M bought me for graduation last year called, "How To Catch A Frog" by Heather Ross. So far, I'm really enjoying it. I'm terrible at leaving room at the end of the day to read. There for awhile, I was reading before bedtime, which made it much easier to sleep at night. Hmmmm. :) I'm also a huge fan of Percy Bysshe Shelly and have his autobiography to finish reading as well. Other than that, I've finished the other books on the side of the bed I had been wanting to read. Maybe it's time to add another book?.... ;)

  10. Your penguin photos from your trips are some of my favorites. Such adorable birds. The Penguin Lessons sounds like a good book. I just took Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English from the library and I'm hoping to start it soon. I'm also reading some books about Wales because we are going there in July. Wales and Southern England. I have a cousin living in Lampeter. So exciting to be thinking about our trip.

  11. Hello Mary, A friend sent me your blog site thinking I'd enjoy your writing and photography. I do! I 'm going to look up these books you've suggested. I'm an avid reader, too. Everyone needs a Mr Johnny.


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