A Week in Books: A Tibetan journey, old favourites, vegetable gardening and a fairytale

On a Sunday evening, I like to clear the shelf next to my desk, in preparation for the week ahead. There will always be a pile of books that have accumulated beside me. These will include stories my daughter has brought over for me to read to her and those that I have quickly grabbed to find a quotation, or check an ingredient for a recipe. There might be a seasonal book or two where I have looked up a flower name or gardening wisdom.

I enjoy the moment when I scoop them up and shelve them again, the titles on the spines evoke a diary of the days just passed:  A Week in Books.

The Way of the Clouds

Newly added to my shelf this week is “The Way of the White Clouds” by Lama Anagarika Govinda. The book follows his travels across Tibet – a journey that was never his intention, until the call to follow his spiritual teacher proved suddenly hard to resist:

“Sometimes a glance, a few casual words, fragments of a melody floating through the quiet air of a summer evening, a book that accidentally comes into our hands, a poem or a memory-laden fragrance, may bring about the impulse which changes and determines our whole life.”

No prior knowledge of Buddhism is presumed, and the terms are carefully explained. As I write this, I have just started the third chapter, as the writer sees the Tibetan plateau for the very first time:

…into a world of uncannily changing, fantastic forms, which appeared and dissolved with such suddenness “that one began to doubt their reality as well as one’s own.”

It reminds me of my first impressions of the wild north-west coast of Scotland, where the mountains seemed to appear and disappear as the rain and fog drifted by. I am looking very much forward to reading more.

Little Women

This month I re-read Little Women for the first time since I was ten years old. This time around, I fell in love with the beautiful descriptions of the seasons passing, the way that flowers seem to burst out of nearly every page. I found myself inspired to start upon a new writing, art and photography project, which I hope to share more news of very soon.

Dracula

Dracula was another enjoyable re-read for me this month. My little vegetable garden is a lovely sun trap in the early mornings where I like to sit and read, perched on the raised beds with a cup of tea. It made me smile when I realised I was sitting next to the garlic bed. No vampire was likely to venture near. I was a young teen when I first read this book and remember being so pleased to find in Mina Harker a brave, intelligent heroine.

Veg in One Bed

Every few weeks I like to check the “at a glance” section in this book for the month ahead. Veg in One Bed is aimed at maximising a small space, and since I only have three raised beds it is really helpful with the timings – which have to be spot on when you have limited room available. March through to October is a sort of plant-based game of musical chairs. The french beans that it advised me to plant last month, are now ready to go up on the canes that were placed over onions the month before.

Fairytale Play

When I bought this for my daughter’s Christmas Eve Book Giving gift, I knew it was a pop up design, but did not realise it would come with countless beautiful hand-drawn figures. They are reversible too, so a hungry wolf on one side, might be a cunning fox on the other. Mixed in with the classic fairytale staples are readers, dancers, scenery decorations and tiny creatures. Below is the cityscape…

… with alleyways to get lost in, a fairground to visit and castles to climb up to. Other pages include a treasure cave, a forest and an underwater scene. I could include this on any “Week in Books” because my daughter plays with it almost every day.

Are you enjoying a book at the moment? I’d love to read your comment below.

I wish you all a peaceful start to the week ahead.


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Iโ€™ve linked below to to the books I have mentioned in my post. As an Amazon Associate I receive a small commission from links, which helps to support my work as a freelance artist and writer.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. A fascinating way of introducing an eclectic mix. I still have my Readers Union 1961 copy of Thubten Norbu’s “Tibet is my country” (1960); I enjoyed both “Little Women” and ‘Dracula’ years ago, too. I think you know that I am reading Dickens again, but taking a brief respite with a collection of Chekhov stories.

    Like

  2. Vicki says:

    Do you have Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s books on your children’s shelf? I had about half of them when working as a children’s nanny (30 or more years ago). I bought one to go with a present for my best friend’s first grandchild only 18 months ago. I’ve given all of my copies away over recent years (having no children or grandchildren of my own).

    The Jolly Postman would be one your daughter would be thrilled with (if you don’t already have it)

    You certainly have eclectic taste. Since I’ve rehomed 95% of my Buddhist & Tibetan books back to the second-hand division of the Theosophical Bookshop in the city 5 years ago before I moved, I might check out The Way of the White Clouds next time I visit. I haven’t read it but do love travels set in Tibet. I do so hope the Theosophical Bookshop didn’t go out of business during our long 111-day lockdown in Melbourne last year.

    Longer or thicker books, (especially those with small font), are out of my reading range since my eyesight has got much worse and my new(ish) glasses can’t correct all the astigmatism.

    Sometimes I wish I hadn’t downsized my 600+ books down to about 15, but one has to be practical when moving into a small studio apartment from a large apartment and one’s eyesight and concentration is not so good.

    I always said if I had nothing left in life besides a public reading library, I’d be happy. After the thousands and thousands of books read over my lifetime, who’d have thought there’d come a day when reading would prove difficult – I was a speed reader for fiction books I might add.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderfully detailed comment to read ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for sharing x

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mick Canning says:

    Despite an interest in Buddhism I found The Way of the White Clouds quite hard going – fairly easy to start but becoming harder as I went along. I’ll be interested to learn how you get on with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m looking forward to reading the journey alongside you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love pop-up books and that looks like a beauty. We have several boxes of children’s books that we’ve moved with us through two moves, saving them for when we have a grandchild/children or when I dig some out to read for myself. I think a good children’s/young adult book is not only timeless but ageless in the sense that anyone of any age can enjoy it.

    Now that our libraries are open fully, I have stack of books around at all times, a mix of fiction and nonfiction as well as e-books. Since so many people seem to have converted to e-books during the pandemic, I find it’s easier to get real books because not many people are looking for them. That’s fine with me. I’ll take whichever form I can get to read what I want.

    As I was typing above, I mistyped “e-cooks” for “e-books”, then thought that being able to have an e-cook would be quite nice…so long as the food was real. ๐Ÿ™‚

    janet

    Like

  5. Lovely post and pop up books are fabulous. I also love your flower pots and have some of those myself. I’m crazy about the deep saucers. I think the Tao is the path I try to follow. I read constantly and am currently reading four books, well three and the one I’m going to start today, called, LENORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT. It’s about the artist Lenora Carrington. I’ve read about her before and she had an incredible and often painful life, but her work is amazing. As expected, she has been buried and overlooked due to her gender. Now she’s coming to life and her art can be enjoyed by those who find her.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paddy Tobin says:

    Reading a book for the second time is something which has always been beyond me though I regularly use reference books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great selection of books; Veg in One Bed sounds like a winner! I’m currently reading The Last Flight by Julie Clark. Very entertaining, but I won’t have it finished by book club. That’s okay:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, am very interested in the Veg in One Bed. I’d love some tips for maximizing a very small garden space. And I may have to revisit Dracula. ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๏ธ So many books! So little time. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s a really good book – I’m a very visual person, so I like lots of illustrations – whether it’s a recipe or a gardening plan ๐Ÿ™‚ The weather has been completely crackers this year, but the planting plan has still worked, which is impressive ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s nice to know the plan stands up despite the weather. ๐Ÿ˜Š

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo says:

    That pop up book is the thing fairytales are made of. Just delightful. Have a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ourcrossings says:

    Just look at all the wonderful book suggestions! โ€œThe Way of the White Cloudsโ€ by Lama Anagarika caught my eye right away as it sounds like a good book to get lost in ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing and have a nice day ๐Ÿ™‚ Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great way for you to review and relive your favorite reading moments of the week. I like how introspective it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Little Women is such a great book. This used to be one of my favourites growing up. I think I’m going to read it again! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I studied English Literature for my undergrad – but never covered North American Literature and now I have found so many more classics to fall in love with ๐Ÿ™‚ I am part-way through Anne of Green Gables and really enjoying that too. Odd how much the landscape of Canada can sound so similar to England.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What a lovely post! I need to reread Little Women soon! โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much x I have just completed my first drawing inspired by Little Women (“Meg’s Garden”) – will hopefully have a little post on it very soon x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooooo! I canโ€™t wait to see it!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. beautiful fairytale play book!

    Liked by 1 person

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