A Beautiful Picture Book

Hello again everyone! I know I’ve been away for a while – various things have kept me from blogging, but I’m back now and firmly resolved not to do another long hiatus. Hope you’ve all been keeping well by the way, and that 2015 is treating you well!

Right — the following post is one I should have done a long time¬†ago, and I have been remiss in leaving it so late – but better late than never, I hope.

The lovely Emily, she of the Keyboard and the Open Mind ran a little competition a couple of months ago in celebration of reaching a landmark number of followers (congrats again Emily!) Shockingly I won Рthis is shocking because I never win. At anything. So winning in itself was thrilling, and the prize (an Amazon voucher!) was a phenomenal cherry on top of that cake.

I got stuck for a while, trying to decide what book to get. It had to be something special, something a bit different (certainly not a kindle book) Рalthough that did very little to narrow down the options. I um and ahhed (meaning that I wasted hours browsing through Amazon. Always fun). In the end it came down to a beautiful coffee table book on Neil Gaiman, or this:

I first heard of it over on Jilanne’s blog, and it’s a real treat, not just because it’s a gorgeous book with absolutely stunning illustrations (more on that later) but also because it’s not the kind of book I would have bought for myself. Normally, I mean. I have a reading list as long as my forearm and whenever I buy books I always buy something on the list in an effort to reduce it (of course, for every book I buy I add a good three or four to the list, so it’s a never ending battle, and one that I have no interest in winning.)

I can’t recommend Lindbergh enough to anyone thinking of buying a picture book as a gift or for themselves -just look at the stunning illustrations below. It tells the story of a bookish little mouse (a mouse after my own heart) who, having spent ages locked away reading human books (maybe he also had a huge reading list to get through)…

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… returns to¬†find himself the last remaining mouse in a city now riddled with mouse traps.

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The intrepid little guy must evade cats, owls, and the deadly traps, and find a way to get himself to the US to rejoin all his mouse friends.

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While the story is lovely, the real treat for me were the pictures. They remind¬†me of the kind of picture books I had as a child, some inherited from parents and grandparents. Not that I¬†don’t like current children’s books, but many of them have what looks to me like computer generated images – it’s rare to find illustrations that have been crafted with such obvious care and attention to detail as the ones in Lindbergh. Each one is a piece of art in its own right, and as such, the book takes pride of place, displayed in the middle of my bookshelf.

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So thank you again Emily, I wouldn’t have bought this book if not for your very kind voucher, and also a thank you to Jilanne for putting me onto Lindbergh in the first place!

PS: where do you guys all stand on the issue of using books as decorations? I’ll admit, I organise them according to the colour of their spine. I¬†always feel a tad guilty, like I’m being a bit shallow, but I can’t help it. It’s part of the reason why I’m obsessed with the Penguin English Library collection (the beautiful stripy spines you can see next to Lindbergh.)

On Judgement and Stiffling Dreams

Judgement is a terrible, crippling thing that so often prevents us from doing what we love. I think it is probably the biggest stumbling block we encounter and the worse part is that it is often imaginary: judgement that we think we might face.

As I mentioned before, writing used to be my dirty little secret. The main reason I kept it hidden was that I felt sure that people would either be disdainful of my aspirations, or give me a look that said “does the world really need another person trying to write a book?”. ¬†In short I was convinced people would judge me for¬†my dream of being¬†a writer.

This doesn’t just apply to writing either. Reaching for something that is further or higher than the immediately and easily obtainable is terrifying. You have expose yourself to the judgement of others when you say “this is what I want”, and then¬†set off to get it.

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