About Kate's Bookshelf

Kate is a book hoarder, collector, and former 'librarian' at her small town library. She dreams of owning her own bookstore, but will settle with marrying a man who lets her own as many books as she wants and has a library big enough to put them all in, organized by author, non-fiction and juvenile. (Yes, she is still a librarian at heart) When she's not consuming books, she is writing her 'novels' (or plot-less books as she likes to call them), children's picture books, and working with her parents on their organic farm. Someday, when she gets her butt in gear, she will be a famously published author.

Exploding Out of Me

Have you ever started reading something that just hit you with a force like a hurricane and

Cover of "Sailing Alone Around the Room: ...

Cover via Amazon

made you want to laugh, cry, sing, dance and hide in a corner, all in one moment? I’m finding that poetry, certain poetry, just hits me like that and I am slammed face first into this marvelous feeling that I want to shout out to the world, but keep quietly bottled up inside, a geyser that’s just hidden under the surface. I’d say what really started me on this journey of explosion was when I read Billy CollinsTuesday June 4, 1991.  This poem is so perfect in its artistry that you finish feeling amazed and flabbergasted and staring at the page like you just opened Ali Baba’s cave.  Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I feel like my eyes have been opened to a type of poetry that just sings to me.

I’ve been reading over and over, four more of Billy Collins’ books, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, and I returned Aimless Love and Sailing Alone Around the Room. I keep reading them and I keep sighing with understanding and longing. Because the poems make me long for something. I want to desperately share these with someone. Read them outloud in the summer as we lie on the grass in dappled sunlight.

Along with Billy Collins, I have been reading a book of Erotic Poetry by the Everyman’s Pocket Poets.  And don’t think dirty poems. This deals with Eros and love and desire, hate, anguish and reverence for the body.

These poems, selected from most of the cultures and histories of world literature, provide magnificent witness to the fact that love is as much an act of the imagination as it is of the body. From fourth-century Li Ch’ung’s “Parody of a Lover” to John Betmeman’s “Late-Flowering Lust,” they re-create, through the revelations of language, that experience of the erotic. Other poets include Theodore Roethke, Robert Graves, Octavio Paz, Joseph Brodsky, Sylvia Plath, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many others.

The poetry is marvelous and sensual and beautiful. It makes you stop and ponder and go, ‘Oh wow’. Or that’s what I do. I’m just stupefied and in awe when I finish one. You would think I’ve never read poetry. But it’s magical and amazing.

What got me started reading the erotic poetry was by reading Last Gods  by Galway Kinnell.  this is some seriously beautiful and sensual work. I suggest if you are interested in gorgeous poetry to try this one. It is magical and takes you to the heart of Eros. It makes you blush, but in a very good way. A private look at a man and woman and it’s beautiful.

This kind of poetry is much more modern than what I’ve grown up reading. Though, that being said, most of what is in the Erotic Poetry is pre 1900′s.  So, I suppose I’ve been reading the wrong things.  I’ve always been a fan of Emily Dickinson, though half the time I don’t know what she is saying. It’s the magic of it all that gets me.

Well the magic of these poets has me enthralled, craving more and wanting to scream it out to anyone who will listen.

Has anyone else read something that changed their life? Made them want to dance and sing and weep and hide? Has poetry changed your life in ways you never knew possible?

 

Signing off

Kate

Fifty Five Things You Might Not Want To Know About My Book Tastes

mountains to climb

mountains to climb (Photo credit: atlases)

I started off this morning reading John’s posts on this questionnaire about ones reading tastes. I liked the questions enough to answer them all in one post; I’m not so snobbish to say you can’t read them all at once, and personally, I think my responses will be just a tad less snarky than John’s. Sorry John, but you have snarky answers. He got it from Tara Therese who got it from another blogger… moving on. If you go to do it yourself, watch out for questions 33,34, and 40 on other people’s lists. They are missing. I’ve added in the ones John put back since I figured he had found the original source. Enjoy!

1. Favorite childhood book?
Honestly, I’m having a hard time coming up with the answer to this because I loved so many. Little House in the Big Woods and the rest of the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is my first thought. That one book in particular I loved to read over and over. Anything by Elizabeth Enright or Edward Eager. Both big favorites with me.

2. What are you reading right now? Indemnity Only, Erotic Poetry, Ballistics  by Billy Collins,

3. What books do you have on request at the library? Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence (though it’s been on hold for almost a year. I think it’s lost) and a couple DVD’s. I had more but I’ve got them all checked out right now!

4. Bad book habit?
I collect too many books I never get around to reading, I read way to late at night, I read when I should be working, I check out more books than I can read at one time…. The list goes on

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Right now It’s only 15 items, though I can get 20 which I usually do. And Two are dvd’s I won’t list. : The day of the jackal / Forsyth, Frederick,
Horoscopes for the dead : Collins, Billy.
Ballistics : Collins, Billy.
The trouble with poetry and other poems / Collins, Billy.
Indemnity only : Paretsky, Sara.
City of bones Clare, Cassandra.
In the green kitchen : Waters, Alice.
Living in the raw desserts / Calabro, Rose Lee.
Ani’s raw food desserts : Phyo, Ani.
Butterflies through binoculars : Glassberg, Jeffrey.
Do or die : Brockmann, Suzanne,
City of ashes Clare, Cassandra.
You can’t take a balloon into the National Gallery / Weitzman, Jacqueline Preiss

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No, but I wouldn’t mind a Kindle paperwhite for reading poetry and obscure things I can’t find but online.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Never just one. Several. See my #5 question. Plus the several I own.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I read more books for reviewing, because I review, and I read less because I don’t have as much time.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
Uhhhhhh….. Hmmm Probably a christian book for review. It was cheesy and choppy.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Anything and everything by poet Billy Collins. I’m seriously addicted

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Probably only once or twice a year. I’m reading a mystery, which is not comfort zone, and I’m loving it. But I stick with what is comfortable most of the time. Depends on what my library has in stock.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Romance. Cheesy Harlequin, older classic romance, chick lit that’s really romancey and sexy, classic romance.  Classics, IE Jane Austen. Poetry, cookbooks, books on writing. Gardening…..DIY

13. Can you read in the car?
NO! I get so motion sick it’s pitiful. I should try audio books. I can read on a plane though, once through takeoff.

14. Favorite place to read?
In bed. By the kitchen baseboard heater where my chair at the table is. Outside in the summer on one of our benches, or the couch on the front porch. Or if I’m really lucky, hiding somewhere under the pines in our yard.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I’ve not had the best luck loaning out books. Now, if it’s a paperback, not a huge deal. Hardback, only if I know you really, really, really well, or if I’m not terribly worried how the books comes back to me. But mostly no. I do not loan out books. It’s too risky.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Lord no!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
If I own it, and there is a word I don’t ever remember, I use a pencil to lightly write in the meaning in the margins. Every once in a tiny while I will add notes. Again, with a pencil. but only my own.

18. Not even with text books?
Uh, don’t use text books anymore, and that’s what scratch paper is for

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
I’m only fluent in English.

20. What makes you love a book?
Uh, I have to just like it. How do you explain loving a Jane Austen, then a trashy romance? Or a really cool mystery then a cookbook? Lots of factors.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If it’s something that I think fits the person I’m wanting to recommend the book to. I don’t just automatically recommend any book. If I know someone who likes poetry, then I’ll mention it. A good cookbook? Then it has to be something I know the person will use. I take personality into context.

22. Favorite genre?
Historical romance fiction

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Mysteries, IE, Patterson, Connelly, (the Castle book in my stack) and fantasy. I’ve heard a lot of good things out there, but don’t want to take the time to try.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
All the time. I love these kinds of books

26. Favourite cookbook?
Barefoot Contessa in Paris by Ina Garten. Or anything from the Barefoot Contessa, Giada Delaurentis.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I started reading the Forgotten Man, but have yet to finish it, but really, really good.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Coffee or Tea, but they always get cold!

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I rarely follow hype.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t read a lot of critiques so I can’t say.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
It depends on how the book was laid out and whether or not it will be a good book for someone else to read. I hate to give them, but this is reality. Not always is every book a decent book.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
French, Gaelic, Hebrew, Italian, GREEK!

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read
Hmm, maybe The Three Musketeers because I was 15, and it took me three weeks. But after trying that book, loving it and wanting more, I’ve really stepped up my game and try everything usually.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin
A couple of the classics that I’m blanking on that I’ve just not wanted to tackle quite yet due to how big they are.

35. Favorite Poet?
Emily Dickenson, but now I’m a HUGE Billy Collins fan.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
20 easily, not counting all the books I purchase for 25 cents from the Friends of the Library.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
All the time. I rarely finish a book these days, and DIY books you never read cover to cover. Half the time the books are for research for my writing.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Hermione Granger, Anne Elliot (Persuasion), Captain Wentworth (same), Mr. Darcy, Emma Woodhouse, Bella Swan(Twilight, I’m a girl and I can relate to clumsiness), Jameson Rook (Castle mysteries) Oh, Mr. Knightely

39. Favourite fictional villain?
George Wickham, Draco Malfoy, and probably others, but rarely contemplate.

40. Books you’re most likely to bring on holiday
Something that won’t get damaged or if I lose it, not the end of the world, but probably an Emilie Loring or Cecelia and the Chocolate Pot By Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I love that book and it’s long enough to hold my interest for a few days. I don’t go on vacation so….

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
A couple of days.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Couldn’t finish The Count of Monte Cristo, yet. Would not finish a really bad Luanne Rice book recently. At least I think it was hers. Audio book. So stupid.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
People that interrupt me and the news.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (probably a first where I like both book and film) and Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. The Breaking Dawn. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers stone.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Ella Enchanted. Oh they ruined it!

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
About $35 and I can still remember when I did it and how many things I got.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Library books often get me skimming it.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
if it’s boring as heck too much swearing, really idiotic plot, or I just don’t have the time and it’s not enjoyable enough for me to pick it up again

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
To some extent though not as much as I’d like. I have my nonfiction separated, my to read pile, my maybe pile, my favorites shelf, my new favorites shelf, my foreign language dictionaries shelf, my paperback romances shelf… I could go on…

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Depends. I usually only get books I’m probably going to like, or if they are inexpensive from the used books at the library, return them for another. I tend to hoard books… even when I shouldn’t.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The Hunger Games, no desire to read it.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
I can’t think of a book that made me this way. I’d probably put it down and not finish it if it did.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. It was a James Patterson so I thought it couldn’t be that good. Also What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones. The book is written entirely in verse. So so good.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Sense and Sensibility. I still have not gotten through that book!

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Ah, any of my Emilie Loring romances and I love to read when no one is up, though that doesn’t happen much because I’m usually the last one up!

 

Whew! so now you know more than you cared, right? But fun to do. I have been a bit behind in writing posts due to being tired, time constraints, getting a cold or something illness, working on the farm. Farm life does not lend itself to writing life. So hopefully some new content next week!

Signing off

Kate

The Loving Kitchen – A Review

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The Loving Kitchen Downright Delicious Southern Recipes to Share with Family, Friends, and Neighbors  By LeAnn Rice…… David Venable, come on down, you’d love this book! Hearty, healthy cooking with a touch of southern love, LeAnn Rice’s book is a joy to read and drool over.  Seven chapters of food groups: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, desserts….etc. and all with clear and concise recipes. Charming with marvelous pictures, this is definitely a nice book to have on the shelf. I really enjoy how there is healthy and decadent recipes, like Almond Coconut Granola and Baked Oatmeal then it goes to Peanut Butter and Jelly French toast and Sugared Bacon (how can you go wrong with that?!!!) Or Brown Rice Pilaf trading into Cheesy Corn Pudding, with cream cheese, mind you. Cream cheese just happens to be LeAnn’s favorite thing. Things that just make you go Oooh and Ahhh. Then, more please.

I can honestly say that I LOVE this book and when I say it is David Venable good, I mean, ‘Happy Dance, Happy Dance’ David.  The food is rich and heart, sweet, savory and healthy. I want to eat everything and then some.  On a side note, this book is not for diabetics or gluten free fans.  Far from it actually when LeAnn’s favorite ingredient is cream cheese! But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun book to look at. I love cookbooks that you can just sit down and read like any other book, and this one is exactly like that. I love too that LeAnn is a west coaster that moved south, so she still does things like us Westerners do.  The pictures are marvelous and the feel of the book is homey but so nice. I want to cook everything in this book, and probably will over time. I think it would be a marvelous edition to any kitchen. But that’s just my two cents.

Signing off

Kate

Book Post

There is nothing more fun than getting a book in the mail.  Or at least for me there isn’t.  And this isn’t to mock the lovely letters I get from my friend, but oh books…

savage beautyToday was Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford.  I’d been reading the large type hardback from the library for over six weeks when this finally popped up into my bookmooch account. I had to have it. And now I have a slimmer paperback. Yes!

And later this week or this month I am getting a new bible to review. Very cool.  And I have to finish a review to order a new book…. Books, books books. Oh how I love books.

 

Signing off

Kate

The Nesting Place – A Review

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful By Myquillyn Smith.  Have you ever wanted to put your stamp on a home? Wanted it to be ‘yours’ entirely, but just didn’t know how to go about getting there? Well then, this just might be the book for you. With insightful ideas about how to avoid ‘help’ from everyone out there and knowing what you like to just tackling some of the basics, Myquillyn Smith gently guides you through the ups and downs of designing your own home without having it be that show home that you are afraid to sit down on the sofas.  With elegant images and a very beachy glamor vibe, you feel like you are getting advice from a best friend.  Simple and charming to look at, this book is also packed with valuable information on what to do.

My opinion? It is a very nice book, though I happen to not be a huge fan of all the grays and more neutral colors. I like the bio Myquillyn writes about trying to find her perfect home despite having some upheavals that made the perfect home a bit further out than she thought. Yes, we’ve all been there where we want the perfect home and we want it right now. Sometimes it takes time and patience. (my parents still don’t have even close to their dream home) She has some really simple, cute, smart, classy, and just downright cool ideas for perking up a home and putting your stamp on it and I am a big fan of things like that. The ‘oh let’s look at Pinterest for ideas’ feel.

To be honest, I’ve not finished the book entirely, but it’s one that I will refer back to when I need to work on trying desperately to make my space my own. Now if only I could just declutter.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Thomas Nelson and BookLookBloggers for my honest opinion and review.

Signing off

Kate

Panini Press – Flash Fiction

“I feel like a I’m in a panini press,” she said as she slumped into the ironwork chair at the local brewery.

“How so?” her friend asked and twirled his finger to catch the waitresses attention.

“The sun above, baking. The asphalt below burning. I’m the sandwich bread and my insides are turning gooey, but not in a good way.”

He laughed. “What you need is a beer.  Sandra, we’ll take a round of the IPA and bring out some of the double fudge ice cream,” he ordered.

“You think that’ll help?” she asked as the waitress walked away.

“Babe, beer and ice cream always help.”

 

So, it’s one of those California bake everything in sight days. 102F on the thermometer. YUCK is all I can say. I was writing a bit of poetry and the idea of being in a panini press made me laugh. Except for the fact that my shoulders are burnt. Bleh.

Signing off

Kate

The Only Rule You Need to Remember

Kate's Bookshelf:

I can’t thank Presents of Mind for posting this, this particular weekend. Especially after some advice I received recently that made me quite frustrated with my writing. I am going to have to print this out and put it in my wallet or carry it with me always. Because it’s a gentle reminder that I’m not crazy.

Originally posted on Presents of Mind:

writerindex

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Oh Look, The Jealous Factor Creeping In

Oh lord, there it is. You are reading along in a blog then you come across a comment, or something that tells you that another person is a writer trying to get published. And in that instant, boom! You have the green eyed lady smacking you in the face and making you see, well, green. You know this has all happened to you, right? The jealous factor that you have more competition. It isn’t enough that you have your own neurosis to deal with, but now you have that added pressure that someone else might get published before you do. And it’s even worse if you see that they are trying to get an agent, a publisher, a query letter, in your field of writing. For that split second you want to dash their dreams into the ground because, hey, writing is a cutthroat world and YOU want to be published first.

Image by citris blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had this happen to me the other day and I almost screamed for that one moment when I realized I was just one of tons of people trying to publish and I’m not putting in the every day work required to do this. I’m blaming several bloggers I follow, who’s general writings are putting pressure on me. It’s all your fault, people that have ambitions.

Ironically, I just started reading a post by J. Sander of Don’t Delete Me, about our day jobs and wishing our day jobs were writing jobs. First thing tackled is about how you are just one person and there are millions out there that are doing the same thing as you. Gasp, hold on while I take a moment to breathe. BREATHE! That can make anyone panic. Does it make you panic and think you might as well give up now? It makes me for a flash moment.

I even panicked today when I was reading Cassandra Clare’s bio and realizing that I will never, let me stress, NEVER, be that good. (I know, I’m already self destroying myself) Along with the panic was to work on my cover letter, but still, I am constantly panicking that I will never be good enough, that I will always be striving for the impossible, that I might as well give up now. There is the drive to succeed, and the fear of falling flat on my face. I think the fear is more 80% instead of a more level number. (it shouldn’t be that high, should it?)

And there is the constant jealousy that while I’m super happy for anyone that can be published, I also want them to fall flat on their face and make way for me to be published. It’s sick and twisted.

But I bet I’m not the only one, am I?

So, how often do you feel the green lady’s gaze clouding your judgement? Do you get panicked and want to just throw in the towel? D

Signing off

Kate

Agent Query Cover Letters

So, I have a question for anyone who has considered submitting to a literary agency or has submitted.  Have you ever written a cover letter instead of a query letter?

I’m working on one for the Sheldon Fogelman Agency, and I’m just not quite sure about it. I was wondering if anyone has some advice about typing one of these up.  I’ve got the synopsis down pretty good, I hope (gutting some of my query letter) but it’s mostly the bio I’m struggling with. I mean, I have not published a thing, anywhere! How does this sound to everyone?

I wrote Lulu Buys a Hat after my own experiences hunting for a good hat that wasn’t too expensive and looked just right. It took several shops, and a best friend in tow, to find the best hat in an area where hats are not a common thing.  When I am not writing picture books, I write weekly on my own WordPress blog, entitled Kate’s Bookshelf.  I was referred to your agency via the Writing and Illustrating blog, run by Kathy Temean.

Jazzy enough?   Yep, I am relying on you readers for some help. You’ve been great in the past and I am SOOOOOOOO nervous I’m going to do the wrong thing. I’ve only queried two agencies in the past.  So, any help you want to share would be great.

Alright bloggers. Have a marvelous Wednesday evening! I’m off to pick some jostaberries. Yes, that is a real thing. Ah, farm life. I wish it was more of a writing life (by which I mean published author writing life)

Signing off

Kate

Even With Sleep I Procrastinate

This post started off as something else. Actually, I’ve just scrapped the other post : getting stuck writing poetry; in lieu of today’s Daily Post prompt. Sleep Procrastination.

A slightly ironic post since I didn’t go to bed until 3AM last night, or was it this morning?  Then was awake by 8:30-9AM. Six hours of sleep is not enough, but it’s becoming more common with me and my generation. We stay up way later than our parents, and we run ourselves on caffeine and pure adrenaline, though with the lack of motivation I see, there isn’t much adrenaline floating around.

Eight years ago I would feel guilty if I was up at midnight. Now I don’t think twice about it.  Heck, if I go to bed before 1:30 I feel like I’m doing really, really good.

And what am I doing in these early hours of the morning, “when the whole world is fast asleep”?  Nothing useful. I rarely write because I’m usually tired. NO, I play on Tumblr and bounce around looking up things that could wait till morning.

If I would just turn off my laptop, open up my book, and read for ten minutes, I’d be out like a light. But I put it off. And right now as we are getting to our busy growing season, I need to be up earlier, yet going to bed after 2AM is not conducive to that. Or my overall general health.

So, maybe this prompt is a wake up call (no pun intended) for me to change my habits. Like stop writing posts late at night and do it in the early parts of the evening when I have some down time. And Tumblr will always be there wit things I’ll like. I can’t see it all. Nor should I try.

So, I know Marie of Presents of Mind and C.B. Wentworth know about my Tumblr addiction. I’ve mentioned it enough. Mimi, my friend is like this too, playing way too late. Does anyone else have my same issues?  Do you stay up way later than you should and then run on empty? Do you put of sleep for other fascinating things? Vote in the poll. (My first one for this blog)

And lastly, read the article that the Daily Post used.

What Keeps You Up at Night

Signing off

Kate