A Night Amongst the Books

We’ve already introduced you to glamping, and champing, but have you ever dreamed of snoozing between the pages of your favorite novel?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have at your fingertips every fairytale, gothic mystery, poetry, or children’s book, just in case you had a little case of insomnia?

Or how about when you finish that serial thriller (Book 1) and just have to start Book 2? Even if it’s zero hour 3 a.m.?

Well, it turns out, you can. Book a reservation over at Gladstone’s Library in the U.K. and you can bed down (figuratively speaking, of course) with the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Hemmingway, Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Thoreau. Those are just some off the top of my head. Who would you snuggle up with?

While the bed and breakfast accommodations at Gladstone’s are certainly unique, they do gently remind you to keep the books on the premises. And they don’t offer room service, although they do have a “Food for Thought” afternoon tea.

Intrigued? Head here for a reservation.

Gladstone’s Library, photo by Michael D. Beckwith via Wikimedia Commons.

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Time to Read

Have you ever wished for more time to read?

Do you squeeze in a few lines of a good book before dozing off at night (then reread those lines the following night because you can’t recall what you read while falling asleep the night before)?

Well, I may have just tapped into some inspiration to help you rev up your reading habits.

As urban legend has it, someone once asked business mogul Warren Buffett about the secret of his success. Buffett purportedly pointed to a big stack of books and said, “I read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Photo by Auntie Ruth 55 via Wikimedia Commons

Sounds like a dare, Mr. Buffett.

Game on.

Science tells us that there are wondrous ways in which such a reading routine might influence our lives (check out the CNBC article here), so it’s tempting to take him up on the challenge.

But, wait, who—besides the average billionaire—has THAT much free time?

Okay, so let’s be reasonable (we farmgirls are good at that). While few busy women have the time to devour 500 pages each day, it’s not farfetched to consider reading that many pages per week. This would still be a significant success compared to the amount you’re reading now, right?

If you’re tempted but still trepidatious about the time commitment, let’s turn to some simple statistics:

First, how much time does it really take to read 500 pages?

Just the facts, ma’am:

  • According to Forbes.com, the average reading speed of an adult is about 300 words per minute.
  • As author Meg Cabot calculates, the average paperback book has about 300 words per page.

So, most of us can probably average about a page per minute, or 500 pages in 500 minutes (roughly eight hours).

Do you have eight spare hours to read each week? Before you answer, let’s crunch some more numbers (here’s where things get interesting):

How much time does the average American spend on social media and television each week?

  • SocialMediaToday.com says that an average American spends an average of 116 minutes on social media daily (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter combined—note, that doesn’t even count Web surfing, shopping, etc.).
  • NYDailyNews.com reports that the average American watches five hours (300 minutes) of TV per day, equaling 1,500 minutes per week (roughly 25 hours!).

See what I’m getting at here?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect any of us to completely shun our social media or even turn away from a good TV program now and then. But, just look at how much time is jingling in our metaphorical pockets and slipping through a hole, virtually unnoticed.

The numbers don’t lie; we simply have to account for them and save them up a bit more conscientiously to spend on life-enhancing endeavors.

Like reading lots of great books.

On that note, what’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Photo by Bib Bornem via Pixabay

P.S. Just for fun …

Take a speed reading test online at ReadingSoft.com

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Not Just for Kids

Once in a blue moon, there’s a children’s book so delightful

that you simply must get your mitts on it …

(even if you don’t have children, or grandchildren, or students, or even neighbor kids)

… it’s THAT good.

Funny I should say that, because, look, here’s one now!

The Problem with Chickens, written by Bruce McMillan and illustrated by Gunnella, published back in 2005, is fare for farmgirls of any age.

“The ladies of Iceland have a problem: the birds lay their eggs in nooks on the sides of steep cliffs, so the ladies have a very difficult time getting any of the eggs for baking. They go to town to buy chickens to lay eggs for them instead,” summarizes Nancy Polette in The Picture Book Almanac: Picture Books and Activities to Celebrate 365 Familiar and Unusual Holidays. “For a while, everyone is happy: there are plenty of eggs to bake plenty of yummy things. But the ladies’ problems are far from solved, for the more time the chickens spend with the ladies, the more they begin to act like them too, until eventually they stop laying eggs all together. Now this is a problem indeed, but you can be sure, the clever ladies will find a solution.”

I was smitten by the story from the start, but the oil-on-canvas illustrations sent me right over the (blue) moon.

Icelandic artist Gunnella is gorgeously gifted. I’m drawn to the way her simple, folkloric style captures the essence of her subjects—hearty hens in both feathers and aprons—as well as the landscapes of her homeland.

“Old photos, especially photos that show the daily lives of people at the beginning of the last century, fascinate me,” she says. “The saga of the Icelandic people is quite amazing. It was so very difficult to survive here on this rocky Iceland in the north.”

If you’re as charmed as I am by this book, be sure to check out the other book that Gunnella illustrated for Bruce McMillan, How the Ladies Stopped the Wind.

Gunnella’s  website is a veritable garden of artwork, not to be missed (she even has an entire page devoted to art inspired by her garden).

“Today, I’m painting pictures from the photo-album of my mind, pictures that I have collected from my memories of people, especially of my grandmother, who lived in the north of the country. She lived in a town called Siglufjörður. I paint her and her house and the surroundings,” Gunnella explains. “I’ve been told that my paintings show that women can do whatever they want. I like that.”


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