Amsterdam Book Haul

A scenic view of a canal in Amsterdam.

My husband and I took a trip to Amsterdam over Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend. I’ve never been to Amsterdam before and didn’t know what to expect. Amsterdam was a very pleasant surprise. The city was beautiful, friendly and had wonderful museums and restaurants. Plus, bookstores galore. Win-win.

I visited countless bookstores and bought two books from two places, Waterstones (I was pleasantly surprised and so happy to find a Waterstones in Amsterdam) and The Book Exchange (an English bookstore with three floors of used books). We also explored the many scenic canals.

And visited the flower market.

Sadly, I didn’t bring any tulip bulbs home. Next time.

I did bring home The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett from Waterstones. It’s a detective/mystery novel that features Queen Elizabeth II solving crimes. A very plausible scenario, in my opinion.

I purchased Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte by Kate Williams from The Book Exchange. I’d like to think that I know quite a bit about Josephine, but that’s probably not the case. Kate Williams is a British historian, writer and tv presenter. This will be my first time reading her and I’m looking forward to diving in when I’m done with Victober reading.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. Have a great day!

xoxo, Jane

Autumnal Reads Recommendations

Happy First Day of Fall!

I love every season, but autumn is one of my favorites. What’s not to love about it? There is the crisp, cool air, the changing colors of the leaves, copious amounts of tea and long, cozy evenings at home.

In that spirit, I shopped my bookshelves to share a few autumnal book recommendations.

The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski makes the list because it’s a super spooky read. A woman takes a nap and wakes up stuck in another body, in another era. She is literally imprisoned in her new life and can’t figure out how to get back. A nightmare. My nightmare. I still can’t believe I read this book in one sitting. I must have been too scared to move. If you read it, let me know your thoughts.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is on the list because the plot is set in a spooky, gothic castle. I know I’m always recommending Jane Austen novels, but that’s because Jane Austen is an author for all seasons. In Northanger Abbey you can lose yourself in Bath, England and join several of the characters on their quest for love and happiness.

The Ghost: A Cultural History by Susan Owens is a biography of the British ghost. I actually haven’t read this book yet, but I will. I love reading British stories the best. Well, I should clarify that I love reading all kinds of books, but as you can guess from this blog I’m a bit of an anglophile. So I’m definitely looking forward to getting lost in the spooky pages of a British ghost history book.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a re-read for me. What’s better than starting autumn with a magical feel-good back-to-school story? The story of the young Harry Potter is always a good idea. Do you agree?

Happy Reading!

xoxo, Jane

PS. I’m on Instagram where I post about books and tea. Stop by and say hi.

Flaneuring in Paris

Spotting the Tour Eiffel from the grounds of the Louvre.

Even as I’m writing this, it doesn’t quite feel real to say that I live in Paris now. It’s very surreal. My husband’s job brought us to the City of Light and it still hasn’t sunk in. But that hasn’t stopped me from taking advantage of every possible sight during my every spare moment. It’s a dream come true to flâneur* in and around Paris. Strangely enough, I don’t have many pictures to share with you because I’ve been mostly soaking in the sights and sounds without a camera. I do plan on changing that, so stay tuned for Paris pictures in the coming weeks.

A gorgeous display at Librairie Galignani.

I’m sure you’re not surprised that I visited as many bookshops as possible. My favorite bookstore is Librairie Galignani on Rue de Rivoli. It’s the oldest English bookstore in Paris, founded in 1801. They have a wide variety of English-language books, especially books not published in the United States. They are also known for their excellent selection of fine arts books. It’s a dreamy bookshop and I’m so happy I discovered it.

A very short flower walk video. Enjoy!

I will leave you with a short flower walk from my recent visit to Invalides.

Have a great day!

xoxo, Jane

*flâneur noun – someone who walks around not doing anything in particular but watching people and society (Cambridge English Dictionary)

If you were coming in the fall by Emily Dickinson

Via Wikimedia Commons.

If you were coming in the fall

By Emily Dickinson

If you were coming in the Fall,
I’d brush the Summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
As Housewives do, a Fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls—
And put them each in separate Drawers,
For fear the numbers fuse—

If only Centuries, delayed,
I’d count them on my Hand,
Subtracting, til my fingers dropped
Into Van Dieman’s Land,

If certain, when this life was out—
That yours and mine, should be
I’d toss it yonder, like a Rind,
And take Eternity—

But, now, uncertain of the length
Of this, that is between,
It goads me, like the Goblin Bee—
That will not state— its sting.

In a Library by Emily Dickinson

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In a Library

By Emily Dickinson

A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.

The Mower to the Glow-Worms by Andrew Marvell

The Mower to the Glow-Worms

By Andrew Marvell

Ye living lamps, by whose dear light 
The nightingale does sit so late, 
And studying all the summer night, 
Her matchless songs does meditate; 

Ye country comets, that portend 
No war nor prince’s funeral, 
Shining unto no higher end 
Than to presage the grass’s fall; 

Ye glow-worms, whose officious flame 
To wand’ring mowers shows the way, 
That in the night have lost their aim, 
And after foolish fires do stray; 

Your courteous lights in vain you waste, 
Since Juliana here is come, 
For she my mind hath so displac’d 
That I shall never find my home.

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe wrote poetry, specifically a love poem?

I didn’t know this until I listened to Audible’s Classic Love Poems. Edgar Allan Poe wrote a number of poems, but the audiobook features a very sad love poem titled “Annabel Lee.” His wife died not too long into their marriage and I think this is something that affected him. Perhaps the fictional Annabel Lee symbolizes the loss of his wife.

I listened to Classic Love Poems for one reason and one reason only: it’s read by the amazing actor Richard Armitage (Mr. Thornton!!!). If you enjoy listening to poetry, then I recommend this audiobook. It’s very short, only 19 minutes. It includes poems by a variety of amazing poets: William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christopher Marlowe and a few others. But again, the highlight of the audiobook is Richard Armitage narrating it. (His voice is smooth and dreamy. There, I said it!)

Do you listen to audiobooks?

xoxo, Jane

Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago, 
   In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know 
   By the name of Annabel Lee; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 
   Than to love and be loved by me. 

I was a child and she was a child, 
   In this kingdom by the sea, 
But we loved with a love that was more than love— 
   I and my Annabel Lee— 
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven 
   Coveted her and me. 

And this was the reason that, long ago, 
   In this kingdom by the sea, 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 
   My beautiful Annabel Lee; 
So that her highborn kinsmen came 
   And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 
   In this kingdom by the sea. 

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, 
   Went envying her and me— 
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know, 
   In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love 
   Of those who were older than we— 
   Of many far wiser than we— 
And neither the angels in Heaven above 
   Nor the demons down under the sea 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, 
   In her sepulchre there by the sea— 
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

My Favorite Quotes

Just for fun, I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes. (I saved my number one favorite for last.) If you have favorite quotes, or if any of the below resonate with you, please leave a comment.

xoxo, Jane

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

Michelle Obama in Becoming

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

“Once we give up searching for approval, we often find it easier to earn respect.”

Gloria Steinem

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“The only thing I know is this: I am full of wounds and still standing on my feet.”

Nikos Kazantzakis

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Favorite Quotes from Literature

There are books, long after you finish the last page, that will stay with you forever. These are some of the books that have stayed with me. Today I’m sharing quotes from my favorite books to entice you to read them.

xoxo, Jane

I can no longer listen in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me that I am not too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you with a heart even more your own than when you broke it almost eight years and a half ago.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Reader, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the parson and clerk, were alone present.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The small, slender woman with apple-red cheeks, greying hair, and shrewd, almost naughty little eyes sat with her face pressed against the cabin window of the BEA Viscount on the morning flight from London to Paris. As, with a rush and a roar, it lifted itself from the runway, her spirits soared aloft with it. She was nervous, but not at all frightened, for she was convinced that nothing could happen to her now. Hers was the bliss of one who knew that at last she was off upon the adventure at the end of which lay her heart’s desire.

Mrs Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

The past, as we have been told so many times, is a foreign county where things are done differently. This may be true – indeed it patently is true when it comes to morals or customs, the role of women, aristocratic government and a million other elements of our daily lives. But there are similarities, too. Ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness and, above all, love have always been as powerful in motivating choices as they are today.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Marguerite suffered intensely. Though she laughed and chatted, though she was more admired, more surrounded, more fêted than any woman there, she felt like one condemned to death, living her last day upon this earth.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Melanie had found the Victorian chaise-longue on her last day of freedom when the threatening cloud was no larger than a man’s hand and could still, as by the finding of the chaise-longue, be replaced in her vision by toys.

The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out to recover her spirits; or in other words, to dwell without interruption on those subjects that must deaden them more. Mr. Darcy’s behaviour astonished and vexed her.

Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen

New Book: The Literature Book by DK

I’m really enjoying my new book, The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK. I love this book which is no surprise because I enjoy all the books published by DK. (Love DK!!!)

I would describe this book as bite-sized summaries and analysis of literature from 3000 BCE to present day (literally to present day: it ends with an analysis of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.). It’s not meant for helping you study. It’s just an introduction to literature for book lovers.

There are illustrations, author bios, charts, graphics and timelines to pore over. Also, since I’m a huge history buff, I appreciate the in-depth historical features. I’ve always thought studying literature should include reviewing the historical context stories are placed in. If you are a literature/history nerd like me, then this book is for you. If you are looking for something to help you pass an exam, this book is not for you. The Literature Book is for browsing, inspiration and fun learning.

Do you read books by DK?

Happy Reading!

xoxo, Jane