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Taking Part in a Book Lover’s Tag

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, featureMy current book stack. 

I saw a while ago that Victoria from Ruffles and Grace took part in a “Book Lover’s Tag”, and though I wasn’t personally tagged in it, it sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to join in as well. So read on, to find out some of my favourite books, reading habits, and what’s on my reading list.

1. Name a book you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t read yet.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. This one is a hefty piece of literature, at 826 pages and 2.5″ thick. I bought it two years ago, and had originally planned to read it aloud, (we started last summer, but then stopped only a few chapters in). I really do need to just start reading it again. I don’t particularly enjoy reading Dickens, as it’s so wordy, but I do always enjoy his stories. (And I really want to watch the movie, but I have to read the book first! I don’t know why, I just do.)

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-page-open
2. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

I often don’t use bookmarks- as I never seem to have one around when I need it, and sometimes I don’t even have a scrap of paper or other item that will serve as one. I never commit the grievous crime of dog-earing pages (never!!!) but I do often commit the less terrible crime of placing books upside down- though I promise it is only temporarily! I don’t leave books like that for days on end- only until I find something to mark my page. Often I simply take a mental note of which page or chapter I’m in. This sometimes has dubious results, because I can’t remember what page I was on, and I end up flipping pages to find my spot.

3. Look at your bookshelf. What’s the first book you see with a yellow spine?

A biography of Jane Austen by David Cecil, called A Portrait of Jane Austen.

4. If you could have one new book from a deceased author, who would it be?

Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon. I have read the few chapters that she wrote of it, and I really wish that she had been able to finish it, as her works are always so witty and entertaining.

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, top-of-book-stack
5. Name an author who deserves more readership.

Lynn Austin. I just reread her book Hidden Places and I loved it all over again. Her stories have such great depth, and are woven with themes such as secrets and misunderstandings, and haunted pasts, which her characters are confronted with and brought forward into forgiveness and reconciliation.

6. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

As outlined in #2- a piece of random anything. . . . or not 🙂

7. Can you stop anywhere in a book or do you have to finish the chapter?

I can stop anywhere, though I prefer to not stop at all and just read the entire book through. This doesn’t usually work though, because you know, life. . .

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, two-books-pics
8. One book at a time or several?

I often dedicate myself to reading one novel at a time, as I don’t like interrupting the storyline, but I will have several non-fiction books going on at the same time. For example, right now I am reading The Greco-Roman World but, as it is a bit dry, I am breaking it up with other books. Since it is a history textbook, it doesn’t really matter if I read it through without interruption or not.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I’ve never understood why people skip ahead, because it wouldn’t make any sense- you would have isolated scenes with no context, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t know what had built up to that moment, and it would be confusing, I think. So definitely reading as I go along.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t purposely break the spine, but I don’t try to perfectly preserve the book either. My main concern is in reading it!

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, open-book
11. What books do you regret reading?

There are a couple of books I do regret reading, because I didn’t realize there would be inappropriate content, until suddenly I was right in the middle of those scenes. As it stands now, I read very few secular fiction books, because I don’t want to have to worry about what I might come across. Or I try to find reviews on the books before I read them.

12. On average, how many books do you read per year?

When I was in my teens. I used to read 50-70 books each year and I kept track of each book, but in the last few years I have slowed down a lot. Things get in the way- hobbies, the internet, being a grown up. . .  So I would say that I probably read somewhere around 20-30 books a year now? Probably somewhere around two books each month- although this month I have already read or re-read five books, so maybe I’m picking up the pace again!

13. What book can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?

The Bible, because you can actually read it hundreds of times and never get tired of it. But, for books written by man, and not the Scriptures, which is what I’m sure this question is actually referring to, well there are just too many to choose from.

I have read Jane Eyre several times now, and there is just so much depth to that story. It is one of my all time favourite books; I admire the character of Jane, and I love the sections where she and Rochester have their discussions. I will definitely read it again.

Really, there are a lot of books that I read every few years, and the greatest thing about having poor reading comprehension (I’ve got to find the silver lining here) is that I can actually read a book several years later, and it’s all new to me. Seriously. I read Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie and I couldn’t remember if I had read it before or not- until I got the end!

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-pics
14. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a book?

I don’t tend to really learn lessons, as in “the moral of the story” from books, so for this I will choose a non-fiction book, which actually taught me something and that would be Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth Cline. I recommend this book to everyone.

15. What is the most recent book you’ve read?

I just finished re-reading Anna and Her Daughters by D.E Stevenson. I love this book, and have read it a few times now. It is such a lovely old novel from 1958 that we inherited from my Grandma, and it’s not really about Anna and her daughters, so much as it is about one particular daughter Jane, who is narrating the story. . . anyways it’s just a nice story, and it features an attic bedroom wallpapered with a pattern of birds, so really what’s not to love?

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, horizontal
16. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?

‘”There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of the you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands- dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.’

These are the final paragraphs of The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis from the Chronicles of Narnia. I read this book when I was a child, and this description of Heaven really just touched me, and I have never forgotten it all these years. (Though, yes, I did have to go look it up, as I am not able to quote it verbatim!)

17. How many books do you own?

Yikes, an estimate would be somewhere probably around 200? If I counted all of my sewing books, novels, fashion books, and my L.M Montgomery and Agatha Christie collections. . . And let’s not start on how many books my entire family owns, or we’ll be here all day. . .

18. In the past year, what is the greatest book you’ve read?

I can’t remember all of the books I’ve read in the past year. I did finally, after fours years on my list, get around to reading The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery for the first time though. What was I waiting for!? This was a very good book. I always enjoy her books, and the soft and romantic world in which they abide.

So there you go. This was a fun post, and, if you want to take part in this book lover’s tag, consider yourself tagged!

What’s on your reading list right now? Have you read any of these books before? What are your favourite books? (if you can narrow it down!)

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, stack-and-front-view

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-top-view

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, the artyologist

Last month, when Spring had not yet arrived, (who am I kidding- Spring still hasn’t really arrived!!!) but we were aching for some sign of life, my mom splurged and bought a bouquet of roses. Although cut flowers don’t last for long, and can be expensive to buy regularly, they are such a nice treat during the long long days of Winter and the early days of Spring when there is nary a sign of green to be seen anywhere out of doors. It is amazing what a pretty bouquet of flowers can do to lift the spirits! And a bunch of beautiful cream coloured roses, with just a hint of blush pink in the centre, paired with a cup of afternoon tea- what a perfect combination.

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, detail, the artyologist

You might think, judging by the photographs I often take, that all I do is drink tea. And yes- you would be correct. 😉 At any given moment of any day, you will most likely find me with teacup in hand, sipping away. The most often answered question in the house is, “Shall I put the kettle on?” And the answer is almost always a resounding, “Yes!”

For me, it must always be black tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ceylon or Orange Pekoe are my favourites), lightly steeped and without anything else added to it. (Although, yes I do occasionally enjoy a cup of green as well) I used to drink my tea strictly the English way- with milk and sugar, if you please, but now I enjoy drinking it plain. I once read that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water- and I don’t doubt it! For me, it is most definitely the second most consumed- and some days I have to remind myself that water should come first, not tea 🙂

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, teacup, the artyologist

What better way is there to spend an afternoon, than enjoying a pretty bouquet of roses, and a small tea party for one?

Do you enjoy drinking tea, and how do you take it? Do you do “afternoon tea” or do you just drink it whenever you feel like it? And do you like to get bouquets of cut flowers?

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses and tea at desk, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses closeup, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, tea detail, the artyologist

What’s In My Bag?

What's In My Bag, the artyologist

For the majority of history, women have not carried purses or handbags wherever they have gone. In fact it’s only been the last hundred years or so, that women have done so and yet, for many of us, we can’t imagine leaving the house without our purse. I’m always curious as to what different people consider to be the “essentials”. I personally don’t like carrying too much around with me, as it is too heavy and cumbersome, but if I don’t bring some things with me, I always end up needing them. (Like bandages. Always bandages. . .)

This little purse I bought last year in England is small, yet mighty. It doesn’t look like it would be able to hold much, but it is actually like Mary Poppins’ bag. 😉 So here is what’s in my bag.

what's in my bag, toiletries, the artyologist

  1. I find it hard to apply lipstick without a mirror as I always end up getting it crooked, so I like to carry around a neutral/tawny shade. I like it as it is light enough in colour to apply easily without being too obvious if I get it crooked, but it dresses up my look just a bit. 🙂
  2. In a dry climate (hello, Alberta!) lotion is an absolute must! I always just grab some random lotion samples from hotels whenever I stay at one.
  3. I got this cute little pill box at a vintage sale, and it is a pretty way to hold some painkillers.
  4. Nail clippers, because NOTHING is worse than getting a snagged nail when you don’t have clippers with you.
  5. I like to keep all these loose little items in a bag (and even better if it is a sparkly beaded fair trade bag), so they don’t get lost in the depths of my purse. Also, I switch purses with each outfit, and it is so much easier to just grab the bag and toss it into my new purse, rather than trying to rummage around and find each individual item.whats in my bag, mirror and lipbalm, the artyologist
  6. I got this lipstick case many years ago from my aunt and I love it. I don’t carry lipstick in it, but rather my lip balm, since I started wearing it long before I wore lipstick. 😉 Also, it makes finding my lip balm easier. Because again, Alberta is dry. And lip balm is a necessary part of life.
  7. A little compact mirror. Because apparently I need to see what I look like at all times. 😉whats in my bag, mending kit and notepad, the artyologist
  8. A little notebook made out of a greeting card with my initial on it, and a pen. Because even though my phone is great, sometimes you just need to write things down.
  9. A cute little vintage mending kit. Yes, I have definitely used this before to save the day! And the scissors are invaluable.whats in my bag, the artyologist
  10. Not pictured, because I found it afterwards, is a bandage. Because I am prone to getting inexplicable cuts and wounds, and always seem to need one. . .
  11. Also not pictured, because it is ugly and broken, is my phone.

What essentials do you carry with you in your bag? Do you switch purses with each outfit, or do you have one purse that you always use? And have you ever been out and about and wished you had remembered to bring something with you?

Tea and Tulips on a February Day

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist

It is in February when I start longing for the sunshine and flowers of spring and summer. November and December hold the anticipation of Christmas and the snow is fresh and clean and appealing. January brings the promise of a bright New Year and fireside days. But, by the time February comes along, the snow is not a novelty anymore, and the days seem cold and lifeless. The weather warms up just enough to tease us with promise of Spring, only to freeze again. It is in the later days of February that we start to look towards Spring with expectation. I am not one to buy cut flowers often, but sometimes a bouquet of flowers is just the perfect thing to brighten up those long winter days. My mom surprised me and my sister this year on Valentine’s Day with a bouquet of gorgeous yellow and purple tulips. Yellow and purple are two colours that go extremely well together, and these tulips created a beautifully simple, yet elegant, bouquet.

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip vase

I love tulips as they are one of those funny kinds of flowers that seem to have a mind of their own. As soon as you arrange them in a bouquet, they rearrange themselves and completely undo all the arranging you did to them. Tulips actually continue to grow in the vase, and these certainly did as soon as I put them in the vase. I promise you that they were arranged in some kind of order, but by the time I took these photos, they had drooped and flopped all over the place. It’s OK though, as it makes them seem that much more natural and alive; and they do give me hope that Winter is not forever!

What could be more inviting on a cold February day than a bouquet of Spring flowers and a piping hot cup of tea in a pretty china teacup?

Do you like to have bouquets of flowers in winter? And tea in a pretty cup?

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, vase and teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip details

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup top view and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, horizontal tulips

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip and teacup detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, top view teacup