I Wanted the Library

Hello Lovelies,

Yes it has been a while, I know I’ve been missing for quite some time. I hope we can move past this. I have so much I want to share with you, but first I need to know if you can ever forgive me for staying away for so long. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my prolonged absence, I could give you a hundred excuses as to why (and they would be mostly true) but instead I’m just going to go with a straight apology and hope that we can move on.
So, I’m sorry. Sorry I’ve missed around six weeks of blog posts. Sorry that I’ve been absent from facebook and twitter (I’ll get around to following back I promise) and I’m sorry that some of my more recent posts have been below par, except this one, it was pretty good.

Now, let’s move on. The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “When other girls first saw Beauty and the Beast, they wanted the prince, but I wanted the library.” This couldn’t be more true, besides the amazing songs in the original and in the new Beaty and the Beast, the one thing that always stuck in my mind was the size and beauty of that amazing library. I guess it was a bonus that the prince and the library ended up being a package deal though. 

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love of books. The words, the smell, the covers and different styles, the ability to transport you to any place in any time. Books are truly amazing and libraries present us with endless possibilities to escape, to learn, to dream. As a child in primary school, my favourite time of the week was when our class went for our library lesson. Unfortunately in schools these days, library lessons with the teacher-librarian are virtually non-existent. Yet, it was a totally different story when I was in primary school, actually even when I first started teaching, it was different as well. These days the students usually go to the library once a week to borrow a book or two. 

However, when I was in primary school and in my early teaching career, students went to the library once a week for an actual library lesson with the teacher-librarian, while the classroom teacher had some release and planning time. The library lesson consisted of some modelled or shared reading, reminders of how to respectfully use the library, including how to replace to books on the shelves in the correct section with the spine facing outwards, how to select a book that might interest us by reading the blurb etc. and when we were older we were taught how to utilise the library for research purposes. 

Unfortunately, in today’s modern technological age, the appreciation of libraries and teacher-librarians in schools and the community is quickly diminishing. Many councils have chosen to close their local libraries all around the world and no matter how disappointing it might be, there is little that can be done. For those who wanted the library rather than the prince though, the home library is the solution. Whilst the average book lover will never enjoy the grandness (in size, furnishing or number of books) of the library in Beauty and the Beast, nor be able to match the vast catalogue of a council library, the words, the smells, the escape, the ability the transport you can all be replicated in a home library, something I am working on in my own house. 

I have quite an extensive book collection, which is constantly growing, much to my husband’s dismay. To transform this book collection into an inviting, comforting space to escape is the next step, however, I might be needing a bigger house! I have the shelves, I have the desk, yet it seems that everything gets shoved into this room on its way to being packed away as well. I’ll get there in the end though. 

So from the girl who wanted the library, get the library, build the library, be the library… Well perhaps not be the library, but find your little space to escape, because we all need to escape every now and then, even if it’s just for a little while.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Through Time and Space

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

Hello Lovelies,

As the above quote suggests, I have been reading quite a lot lately. I’m calling it research and not procrastination of course! I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels, as this seems to be the genre that Lonely Hearts fits into. As you probably know, when it comes to the romance genre, there is an awful lot of trash out there and I have read quite a number of them it seems while browsing some of the free e-books available on Amazon.

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Sometimes I feel as though I am reading the first draft of a novel with some of these e-books, complete with missing sentences and horrible spelling mistakes, but I can’t help myself, if I start reading something, I must finish it, despite how rubbish it may be. Unfortunately for some of the authors, their story idea is quite good, but not fully developed and the story ends abruptly without any real answers and no sign of a sequel, that’s sometimes one of the most frustrating things. I think to myself, if only they had gotten an editor (or a better one) or spend longer developing their ideas then perhaps their novel wouldn’t be the half-assed crap it turned out to be.

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

However, occasionally I am pleasantly surprised by some of them and I even discover myself a new author to follow. Shelly Thacker is one of those authors and while she is not a newcomer, she was not an author I had previously heard of until I came across the first book in Shelly’s Stolen Brides series, Forever His. Shelly is an Historical Romance author, whose work has previously been published through Avon and Dell. According to Shelly’s website, she is now an Indie author, publishing her own books with the help of digital media platforms, something which I admire.

Now, back to the book. Forever His, like all of Shelly Thacker’s books it seems, is an Historical Romance – but with a twist. Here’s the synopsis straight from her website:

Stolen Brides: Forever His by Shelly Thacker

Image courtesy of shellythacker.com

On New Year’s Eve, she tumbles 700 years back in time–and into the bed of a darkly dangerous knight.

Sir Gaston de Varennes wanted a docile bride who would fit into his plans for vengeance and justice, but a trick of time finds him married to a thoroughly modern American lady who turns his castle, his life, and his heart upside down. Will her desperate secret tear them apart after only a few bittersweet weeks of stolen passion — or will they conquer mistrust, treachery, and time itself to discover a love that spans the centuries?

I very much enjoy historical fiction, I like the idea of there being some truth behind the fiction. Perhaps this is why Rose and Thomas’ story came to me in such a way (in such a time). The twists and turns in the plot of Forever His had me totally hooked and kept me guessing. I just had to keep reading, even in the wee hours of the morning, when I really should have been sleeping…. or writing. There is really only one complaint I have, I want to know what happens next to Gaston and his American bride! That’s no fault of the author though, the story ended quite well and probably when it should have, but I always want to know what happens after the “Happily Ever After”, I’m the same with movies as well.

Even though Forever His is the first book of the Stolen Brides series, judging by the synopsis of the other books in the series, they follow the stories of different characters.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I really enjoyed the twist in the historical aspect of Forever His, as well as the interesting historical aspects in the story. Shelly’s details and descriptions of scenes and characters, transported me to medieval France, not only describing the visual aspects but also the smell and feel of the world that she has so carefully created.

Perhaps I am totally behind in my discovery of Shelly Thacker, perhaps everyone has already heard of her, but for me she is definitely an author I will be following from now on.

And now my lovely followers, I have another small excerpt from Lonely Hearts for you all, remember it is still the first draft, so be kind.

Enjoy,

KK

Over the next few hours as Lillian helped me to get ready. I started to get to know her. Lillian was probably in her mid-thirties. She seemed to be kind and caring and had a wonderful sense of humour. I discovered that she was a woman of many talents, not only did she perform the usual duties of an assistant, such as making appointments, typing various business related correspondence, organising meetings and what not, she also had an impeccable talent for styling hair and accurately guessing a woman’s sizing just from a glance. It seems before picking up the dress and shoes that met Thomas’ requirements, Lillian had casually walked past József’s shop and from the quick glance she had, she accurately guessed my dress and shoe size, her accuracy was unbelievable. I couldn’t help feeling a pinch of jealousy towards Lillian though, this woman had the opportunity to see Thomas every day, she probably knew more about his day-to-day life than most people, perhaps even his family. As Lillian made the final touches on my hair and make-up, I pushed those feelings aside and focused on the exciting evening that was planned for me. Then for the first time I could remember in a long time, I allowed myself to get a little bit excited about something, well, maybe more than a little. Again my thoughts drifted towards the different possibilities of the evening’s plans. Thoughts of him grasping my hand and kissing it sent waves of awareness through my body. I momentarily allowed myself to be lost in my little daydream, imagining the hardness of his body brushing up against mine as we dance, his strong body framing mine as he leads me effortlessly around a dance floor…

“Rosie, Rose, ROSIE!” Lillian’s voice shook me out of my thoughts, back into the now. “I’m sorry Lillian, what did you say?” She let out a dramatic sigh, “Thinking about something in particular Rosie? Or perhaps you were thinking of someone?” Her smile told me she knew it was someone I was thinking of and exactly who that someone was. “Sorry Lillian, I was miles away.”

“Yes, I noticed, well I’m all done here, what do you think?” I stood carefully not wanting to trip on the bottom of the beautiful sleeveless V-neck silk gown that had been chosen for me. It really was gorgeous, the back was a little risqué and I was thankful that my hair covered the majority of my almost bare back. The dress was in one of my favourite colours, a lovely shade of emerald green colour that was perfectly matched the necklace and earrings that had been delivered earlier that afternoon. Running my hands over the smooth material of the dress, I took a deep breath to calm myself. A mixture of nervousness and excitement surged through me but as I looked more closely into the mirror and nervousness began to take over. My breathing began to quicken and even though I knew I was being silly, thoughts of the teasing and bullying I endured as a child returned to my mind. There they were, despite the makeup, the freckles that covered my face were very clearly visible. What if Thomas didn’t like freckles, I’m sure he saw them the first time we met, but what if it’s something he wanted covered, something he found to be unattractive in a woman. Lillian must have noticed the rising panic in my eyes, “What’s wrong, is it the dress, the hair? I have enough time to change your hair if you don’t like it.”

I shook my head, “No it’s nothing, really, I love what you’ve done with my hair.” It was the truth I really did love what she’d done, my hair was down in a wave of honey blonde down my back, parted to the side and held back from my face with a beautiful emerald and diamond hair comb that matched the earrings and necklace.

“Then what is it Rosie?” Lillian prodded. I let out a small sigh, there was no way I could really say this without sounding silly, “It’s just that… um… you can still see my freckles.” Lillian stifled a laugh, I knew it would sound silly, “My girl, your freckles are what makes you, you! Don’t be ashamed of them! Plus, Mr. Heath specifically requested that I go lightly on the makeup he said he wanted to be able to recognise you, so I’m assuming that means freckles and all!”  I smiled at Lillian, feeling a little relieved, I was sure she wouldn’t make up something like that just to make me feel better. Could it be true that Thomas actually liked my freckles? However much I doubted it, in that moment I allowed myself to believe and the excitement for the evening ahead began to trump my nervousness again and I looked at myself in the mirror and nodded in approval, “So we’re happy now are we?” Lillian asked. I gave Lillian a small hug, “Thank you, there’s no way I would have been able to do this without you.”

“What, you couldn’t brush your hair and put on a dress without me?” she joked, “Anyway, it was my pleasure. It’s nice to have some time away from the desk, the schedules and the men in suits. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but everyone and then a woman needs some ladies’ time.” I nodded knowing a little of what she meant, I cared for József dearly, but I had very few female friends and wondered if perhaps Lillian could become a friend. “So Lillian, what’s next?” It was early evening and I knew soon, my evening with Thomas would be beginning. “Well dear Rosie, first we put on our shoes,” she said holding up a lovely pair of satin peep-toe shoes in the same shade of green as the dress, “then…” there was a knock at the door and which sent my stomach fluttering, “then we answer the door, because I believe your chariot awaits.”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Great Love Affair

Hello Lovelies,

It’s been another whirlwind week, where again I haven’t had much time for writing of my own choosing. Uni semester has started again and my writing activities have been limited to the writing of online responses and note-taking, as well as the usual teacher-related writing (shared reading programs and what not). Yet, when all seems lost, I have managed to finally start reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. I pretty much stayed away from the hype of The Book Thief when the movie was released, so many people insisted that it was a story that I would enjoy but I didn’t want the hype of the movie to taint my perception of the book. Sometimes I will see the movie before reading the book, so I don’t get frustrated with all the ‘bits’ that Hollywood left out, but in this case I am reading the book before seeing the movie. I bought the book about eight months ago, thinking that it would be a great holiday read, but of course something else caught my eye and The Book Thief was shelved until recently.

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Image Copyright Markus Zusak

Whilst I have only just started reading, one thing I love about this story is the way that Markus Zusak describes how Liesel’s love of books came to be.

****SPOILER ALERT****

Her great love affair stems from one of the darkest moments in her life – the death of her brother and her separation from her mother. Even though Liesel cannot read, the book she ‘stole’ is a symbolic connection to her brother and mother.

Books have the ability to entertain, this much is true and a well written story will keep us entertained and enthralled page after page. However, Zusak has highlighted something which many of us book lovers are already aware of, whether we realise it or not. Through the character of Liesel (the titular book thief), Zusak shows us that books have the ability to elicit many feelings; books have the ability to comfort, to educate, to allow the reader to escape even for a brief moment.

Another story that highlights the importance of books and the ways in which they enrich our lives is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

Cover_mockup-final_sticker

Image copyright William Joyce

Whilst this is a children’s picture book, it is a prime example of the way in which books influence and enrich our lives. A world without books, is a world that has lost its way and a world without colour.

If it isn’t already obvious, I am a great lover of books. My own love affair started at a young age, I assume. Like most children, I enjoyed listening to stories, my favourite part of kindergarten was shared reading time and of course, our weekly visits to the library to borrow a book. When I became a capable reader I was enjoyed books by Enid Blyton, particularly this one:

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Image Copyright Enid Blyton

As I grew older my love of books grew and I enjoyed books written by the likes of Paul Jennings, Morris Gleitzman and John Marsden. I was always the kid that finished the class novel in a matter of days, rather than over the course of the term. Even now, I cannot stop myself from getting more and more books. My ‘to read’ pile is continuously increasing and I can’t help but get excited when my children bring home Scholastic Book Club catalogues.

scholastic

Image Copyright of Scholastic

My passion for reading is most definitely rubbing off on my children.  There’s no such thing as a ‘quick story’ for my children, multiple books are shared in one sitting, although sometimes my toddler also enjoys eating books (he has his own little stack of books that he is allowed to ‘read’ by himself for this reason). Sharing a story is one of the only times (besides when they are sleeping) that my boys will sit and stop doing laps of the house.

Over the years I have found that my love affair with books and reading has not diminished, in fact it seems that it has only increased, particularly as I began to embrace the writer within.

So now I am off to continue my great love affair by reading a little more of The Book Thief before my bedtime.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.