The last Spice of My Shelves… 😦 but I hope that on this blog we continue to discuss literature, and everybody please feel free to check out my Books, Books, Books page if you or somebody in your life needs a good read. I am continually adding books to that page, and there are options for people of all ages – I do so love a good children’s book 🙂
Ok, today we are featuring the books I picked up in Maine.
Does Maine just have better bookstores than Texas? Or maybe my friends just took me to exceptional places. Well, I guess half of these are from Concord, and the other half from the Chicken Barn – an antique and book store in Maine. If you ever visit Maine, and you love books, or antiques, you MUST visit the Chicken Barn! It is HUGE. When I say warehouse, I’m making an understatement, and the entire first floor is antiques – and the second floor is books. It really is the closest place to heaven on earth, and I desperately wanted to just sit in between the huge rows of books, next to one of the open windows letting in the sun and the sweet Maine breeze, and read for hours. Any book fanatic or history buff would be head over heels in love with the place.
Anyway, here are the five books I brought back: (I had to really pick and choose!)
We’ll start with the tiny volume on the far right.
I’d never read ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ but when I found this cute older copy I knew it was the time to try it. Sometimes I just buy books because I like the look of them, and I can fit this copy into my hand. I read the whole story on the way back to the airport in Boston.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the author, and this is the book from which we derive the quote ‘water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.’ I did enjoy this poem. In some ways the story seemed very religious because of certain imagery and references to God’s creation, and I need to do more research into what inspired this saga, and the message behind it. Also, I don’t know a lot about Coleridge. At the very least, it was a beautiful read, an interesting story, and I’m so glad to add it to my tiny book collection!
‘O Wedding – Guest! this soul hath
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely ’twas, God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.’
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
‘He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.’
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Our next book, ‘Be Good Sweet Maid,’ is a book of poetry, by Janet Worthington Englhardt. I knew nothing about this author, but was browsing the poetry section and found myself drawn in by the title. The poems in it seemed simple, and sweet. So I bought it. Later, however, I discovered this poem as we were driving in the car, and couldn’t help but be… a little shocked:
To A Senior Boy
‘What eyes you have you do not know-
A mystic blue with heaven mixed-
With power that draws and will not cease.
It seems I should not tell you though,
For I am as a TEACHER fixed…
From aching fondness, give me peace.
From love of you, give me release.’
With all the scandals between teachers and students nowadays… honey, that could start a lawsuit!
However, I am still enjoying this little book of poetry. Here’s a sweet one:
Favorite Words and Phrases
‘A drowsy summer afternoon,
The romance of a far lagoon,
Vital, vibrant virgility,
Shy and pale virginity,
Amorous and glamorous,
Fragility and ecstasy,
Poignancy and transciency,
Lovely, languid lassitude,
Graciousness and gratitude,
Grayish purple of twilight,
Deepest darkness of mid-night,
Yonder breaks the grayish dawn,
Dappled slender little fawn.’
-Janet Worthington Englhardt
I still need to read her bio.
It is my hands-down absolute favorite Agatha Christie novel. PURE GENIUS! If you need an exciting easy summer read that will BLOW YOUR MIND, read this book! The Queen of Mystery at her best. Fun fact: when I was in high school, I wrote a small research paper about her life, and it was very fascinating. She married an archaeologist.
Probably most everyone has heard of the Lord of the Rings, and its author, J.R.R. Tolkien. That trilogy really set the standard for fantasy and epic adventure in our culture – or at least, in my humble opinion, it did 🙂 Tolkien, however, created more than just a great story. He created an entire world (Middle-Earth) with its own beings, geography, and history. Really, Middle Earth began with stories Tolkien wrote that were inspired by Nordic myths. ‘The Silmarillion’ contains the deep, rich history Tolkien invented for his beautiful world, and throughout the Lord of the Rings you can observe how careful he was to maintain that overarching story’s coherency and consistency. If you are a Lord of the Rings Connoisseur, Obsessor, and Fanatic, you should give the Silmarillion a shot! It is pretty difficult to get through sometimes. It is a history book, and full of names – you probably won’t remember most of the characters by the time you finish the book. But it is truly awe-inspiring, thought provoking in so many places, and contains some wonderfully crafted legends and characters. If you can finish it, it will really enrich your understanding of the Lord of the Rings.
I looked on Goodreads for a few of people’s favorite quotes from the Silmarillion, as I didn’t have time to comb through the book’s tiny print! Now that I have my own copy, I can read it through again and highlight as I go!
‘Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that came down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures. And of these histories most fair still in the ears of the Elves is the tale of Beren and Luthien.’
‘Farewell sweet earth and northern sky.’
‘As the light upon the leaves of trees, as the voice of clear waters, as the stars above the mists of the world, such was her glory and her loveliness; and in her face was a shining light.’
-J. R. R. Tolkien
And our final book… full of the work of a little-known author who goes by the name of William Shakespeare.
I was overjoyed when I found this beautiful book in such a great condition – for 7 bucks! The entire volume includes 7 plays – that’s a dollar a play! And I have been wanting to read more of Shakespeare. I’ve already read Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet, and this book includes all of those! Plus:
Othello, the Moor of Venice
and Romeo and Juliet
I have especially been wanting to read the Tempest, and Cymbeline, a less famous work that I haven’t seen anywhere yet. As a kid, I loved the storyline of Cymbeline, and tried to write my own version of it. So I would like to read the actual one!
So far, my favorite work by Shakespeare has been Hamlet. I actually think it’s darker in some ways than Macbeth, and I really loved Hamlet as a tragic hero. His existential crisis is so eloquent!
This was a very meaningful and poetic play to me, and I can’t wait to go back and read it again!
So, that is my Maine Haul. What did you guys think?
Good bye, Spice of My Shelves! Who knows, maybe someday you’ll return…