bees in the meadow

the babblings of a bookish bee :)

Category: books

On Deviating from the TBR

So I have these books. These wonderful books lined up on the top of my dresser—books I chose purposefully, consciously, when I was thinking about what I wanted to read this Autumn. I’d still like to read them this Autumn. But then I watched Nora Ephron’s film Julie and Julia, and became thereby re-obsessed with Nora Ephron, so I had to buy I Remember Nothing, which is one of her essay collections. And then reading Nora Ephron made me realize that in order to write the screenplay for Julie and Julia, she would have had to read the book Julie and Julia. I attempted to read the book Julie and Julia several years ago and stopped. It wasn’t right for me, at the time. But recently, I was at my local used bookshop, looking for a biography of Nora Ephron, and what did I find instead? Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. It called out to me. It was–it is–the right time. So I bought it. And started reading it. I’m enjoying it so far.

I’m also still in the midst of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, which I read before bed at night. Unless I’m reading How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman, which I found at the library. I also briefly acquired The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry from the library, which I took out in a fit of overjoyed frenzy, having heard all the hype. I’ve accepted that I can’t go on with it just now, having too many other books on the go.

While all this has been going on, there my Autumn TBR books have sat, patiently waiting. The only thing that could make me feel anxious about them is, of course, me. The books do not mind when they are read. Indeed, they’d probably prefer to call to me in their own way, rather than to have me shuffle them around and line them up according to my own notions of order. I don’t set much store by TBRs in general for that very reason. I enjoy the process of creating them when the fancy takes me, but I accept that I am a mood reader and will follow my nose regardless…

And that’s the wonderful thing about reading. So much else in life depends on order and organization, swiftness and efficiency…but whatever we do, however we do it, the books are there. Unhurried. Waiting to be read, then put down and picked up and dipped into and out of, to soothe and guide and instruct as needed: the best medicine. The best friends.

I guess this is all just to say that the TBR, while helpful, enjoyable, etc., is not precious: but reading is. It is a precious gift, to be cherished and embraced. Better to read with joy and abandon than to spend one minute niggling over arbitrary set-ups and should-haves.

Long live spontaneity.


Changes & Spines

Hi, readers~

How is everyone? I hope the past months have been good to you. October is soon to be here and I welcome it with enthusiasm verging on the hysterical. LEAVES AND COZY THINGS. I’M READY.

I am making some changes to my little blog, which I hope will be agreeable to you. When I first began it, I intended it to be a place to share my writing, but desires for traditional publication in the future have changed my mind. Thank you for reading and commenting on my previous posts: it meant a lot! I will not share much of my personal writing here anymore, but I will be sharing my adventures with something equally dear to my heart: reading! (ah, joy.)

This little blog will be moving in the direction of book tags, reviews, TBR’s, and Wrap-Ups. There will hopefully be some fun & spontaneous posts along the way, and once in a moon, posts from-my-journal or random musings on creativity, beauty, life, coziness, spirituality, who knows…?

I am so looking forward to babbling about books with you. If you have any thoughts, recommendations, or questions, leave a comment! I’d love to chat. 😊

My September Wrap-Up & Current Reads post is up! Hurrah!

Happy reading, happy Autumn, and I’ll see you between the pages~


September Wrap-Up & Current Reads

September was a good reading month, propelled by the thrill of anticipating Autumn. All the BookTube (Victober!). Used-book-shopping. Gazing longingly, lovingly at my Autumn TBR, thinking “soon, you” and “soon, you”.

September did mark the second book I’ve read this year in which the main character was male and annoyed the life out of me. This does not bode well for my struggle to read male main characters in general (no offense, lads, men are lovely). I cling only to my love for Kvothe and Bast from The Name of the Wind this year. (How I adore them. How I adore that glorious book. Ugh.)

The character in question featured in My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier, about which I’ll be posting a full review. The other book I read was The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale…

I enjoyed this Y.A. fantasy, recommended by my best friend Kelsey. It was much darker, actually, than I expected, but the themes of radical religious oppression and ideas of “good” vs. “evil” were very interesting. The writing was tinged with magic and shadow. There was a romance, but it bloomed late and didn’t overtake the narrative (very important). A good read for Autumn or Winter nights when the cold is bitter and you’ve a nice mug of warm, comforting cider in hand.

Now for my current reads. I’m making my way slowly through two books: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin. The latter is the slowest of the two, and I’m glad of it. It’s cozy. It’s fascinating. It’s perfectly soothing for bedtime when the mind still needs something to chew on, but nothing too exciting. It’s about Jane Austen, so obviously it’s delightful for that reason too. I have no doubt that I will literally be reading it in pieces for the next year. Gladly. 😊

Inkheart is wonderful. I started it by reading it aloud with my brother, but we abandoned that ship and I press on alone, equally happily. It is cozy, bookish glory, perfect fantasy. No need to rush. I’m also sneakily reading Keats, from time to time, a hangover from having recently watched the film Bright Star. Love.

My other reads at the moment, the ones I’m plugging nicely along with and reading more regularly, are:

Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

and How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman


Those last two were obtained (with hysterical excitement) at a recent adventure to my local library with my friend Jennifer. We found many wonderful things there and are most excited to take ourselves virtuously to the library every other week or so from now on. 😊 #wemuststopbuyingallthebooks  #wemust

(yes, I do frequently use hashtags in the wrong setting. a vulgar habit? perhaps. but I accept it.)

What are you currently reading? Are you watching/participating in Victober? Is it Autumn where you are?

I hope all is well for you and that you’re staying cozy~

Till next time!


booktalk: History of the Rain by Niall Williams

earlier this year, I read History of the Rain by Niall Williams. It whispered to me from the shelves of Barnes & Noble (a place I guiltily and frequently haunt), with its cover of dark sea-tones and its aesthetic of cozy introverted bliss.

obviously, I have fully embraced the practice of judging books by their covers, and I don’t apologize.

but this is all beside the point. it’s a wonderful book. I knew instantly it would be one of my favorites of the year. I think about it all the time, guys. all the time.

this is a slow, gentle narrative that deals with heavy, sometimes epic themes in a quiet, introverted way, so that it’s all extremely pleasurable to read, even when it’s heartbreaking. does this make sense? I don’t know. BELIEVE IT.

reading it was like falling into a world of cozy houses, rain-sodden hills, villages and attics, a great twisting river, and the scent of books.

this is a story about Ireland. a story about people. a story about sorrow and the feeling of never being good enough. a story about stories. a story about BOOKS. a story about the love in a family. a story of a young woman searching for her father and herself.

I cried. and I was so thrilled to be crying. I can’t remember the last time a book did this to me. praise the Lord.

for me, the most important thing in any novel, more than the plot, the characters, etc., is the writing. now, I want to make an important distinction here: there is a difference between “good writing” and writing that I enjoy. when I read novels for pleasure, I look for the latter. I don’t want to tell you that the writing was “good”, because there are so many kinds of good writing. I will say instead that this book was chock-full of the kind of writing I love.

I can’t even describe it. it’s narrated first-person, but it’s so lyrical and playful in the language. somehow it was both lyrical and simple. it was absolutely addictive, and the way the words were so beautifully strung together made the stories within the story so delightful to read. if this kind of writing seems appealing to you, you will adore this book.

so: if you’re into themes of Ireland, water, family and family history, sorrow met with humor, and if you are into books that celebrate stories, please go now and read History of the Rain.

I’ve since bought another book by Niall Williams, which I’m very excited to eventually read (in ten years, after I get through a few zillion of the endless armies of books I own), and I fear I shall be loyal to him forever now.

ah, the perils of books…

happy reading, friends~~





Here you may find History of the Rain on Amazon.




between pages: current reads

hello, lovely people (she whispered timidly.)

I’m planning to do semi-regular (all ye scatter-brained nymphs out there, sympathize) Tiny Book Reviews in the upcoming months, but for now, just a little list and brief thoughts on what I’m currently reading, should any of the titles call your name.

~The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: lyrical, cozy-dark fantasy. yes, thank you.

~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I’ve read it once before, but now I’m reading it at night before I go to sleep. I have deluded myself that this will mean I’m sent off to slumber with dreams of the English countryside, but so far there is no evidence of such. alas.)

~Sense and Sensibility: Shooting Script: The Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson: loved the book. obsessed with the 1995 film. Emma Thompson is a goddess. the diaries are a fascinating insight into the writing and film-making process. endearing, funny, and for those of us obsessed with British actors, full of glorious side-mentions of people like Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman (*YES*). (there is a particularly satisfying moment in which Alan Rickman encounters a cat. read the book to learn more.) this is also a nighttime read, and I’ve been neglecting P&P because all I want to do is curl up with this for days. YEARS. I’ll be done with it soon. determined to drag it out.

I’ve got several random non-fiction books on the go as well, which I’m dipping in and out of:

Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies by Deborah Halverson

The Art of Being a Woman by Veronique Vienne (God help me, I’ve put it down and NEED to pick it up again. it’s very good. I am ashamed.)

Bullfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bullfinch (monstrous Barnes & Noble Classics edition. deeply intimidating but lush and enticing as well. have accepted that this will be in my currently reading literally forever. yep.)


what are you currently reading? leave a comment, I’d love to know!

hope you’re all well,

~ rae