Friday, August 21, 2009

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

Change is upon us here at the bookstore. Many things have happened in our small world of books. Teresa was recently promoted to manager, two of my coworkers are getting ready to welcome new additions to their loving families. Many of us are getting ready to start the next semester of college (including me). Public school has recently started. Several other things are happening in the bigger world as well. We have a new president and our nation is expecting dramatic changes in the political realm. Change is all around us.

In times of change it is important to savour what we have and who we are. I am getting ready to start my last semester of my bachelors degree. This is a huge change. Along with this change I had to make some big decisions about who I am and what I want to do with my life. Long ago I realized that I love school and I especially love college. So, I decided I would get my masters and doctorate degrees. I also do not like waiting for change. Because of these things I decided I would be going to grad school immediately after finishing my bachelors degree. However, things have recently become present that have forced me to halt my fast track in life. Because I was forced to stop and look around I realized something important about life. The best things in life are worth waiting for, working for, loving for, providing for, and hurting for. Sometimes, even when we poor our hearts into what we want so badly, we are forced to stop, look around and realize the great gift that life has provided for us. Wanting and hungering for something is beautiful. We have to live in the present moment in order to have a insatiable need for a better life.

I am making a promise to myself that I will live life consciously. I will be happy in this moment while I strive to live in the next moment more consciously than the last. I will appreciate what I have. I will remember that all of the love and pain leads to a higher consciousness that can only be attained when THIS life is lead to its capacity.

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh has written several wonderful books on Buddhism. One of my favorites is Present Moment, Wonderful Moment. This blog posting is based on the ideas in Present Moment, Wonderful Moment. Books are wonderful, they help us to supercharge our consciousness. Without this book I would not be able to appreciate the present moment.

If you are interested in purchasing this book at your local, independently owned bookstore, or borrowing it from the local library here is the ISBN number:

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh, ISBN: 9781888375619

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery

Where do I start when it comes to discussing this book? I will start at the part where I was told this book may change my life. I was also informed that this book was philosophical. Now, I'm not sure about life changing but I'm sure that I have a not-so-secret admiration for Philosophy so I gave this book a chance.

This book is a French book translated to English. I am not French. This may be a cultural handicap that may have hindered my full comprehension of the uniqueness of this book. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book was not as profound as I had expected it to be. Since I am very self aware there were not that many "aha" moments. There were, however, some great points about beauty.

"You eat the way you look at a beautiful painting or sing in a beautiful choir. Niether too much or too little, moderate, in good sense of the word."

I hold an Art History degree but even as an art lover I have struggled with the concept of what art and beauty play in daily life. Oprah may tell you that it's the small things in life. In the case of Paloma, beauty is a rosebud that falls onto a counter and taking in the essence of that delicate fall. As far as the philosophy in this book I was disappointed. While some argue that it was too philosophical I would have liked more philosophizing.

I had a hard time empathizing with Paloma. I don't sympathize with sucidal characters. But I can relate to being a 12 year old that thinks too much about the world around her. I was pleased with her decision in the end. I very much enjoyed Renee. Being an audiodidact myself and growing up less than wealthy I related to Renee. It was because of her that I enjoyed the book.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars which is the rating for an average book on Danine's scale of rating books. I would recommend this book but I would recommend reading "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder before "The Elegance of the Hedgehog".

Here are a few memorable quotes:

"But if you dread tomorrow, it's because you don't know how to build the present, and when you don't know how to build the present you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it's a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up becoming today, don't you see?" -Renee

"I won't get any better by punishing people I can't heal." -Paloma

Anthology will be happy to check our inventory for "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" or "Sophie's world". If you would like to place an order with us here is the info that will help us place your order.

1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. ISBN: 1933372605. Paperback. $15.00

2. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. ISBN: 0374530718. Paperback. $12.00.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thanks! Gracias! Merci!

To everyone out there I would like to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all the support that I have received since taking on the role as manager! Everyone who has stopped by has been nothing short of amazing with all the well wishes. It really makes my day, and puts a smile on my face to know that so many of our customers remember my face. I love my job for many reasons but the most important two are; my fantastic boss, Stephanie, and all the wonderful customers that walk through the door everyday at Anthology. Whether you are entering our unique bookstore for the first time, or returning for the thousandth time, all of you make my day worthwhile; so again I say thanks a million for making my day better.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Books and Old Books

While shelving books at the bookstore I am always aware of what is happening beyond the shelf where I am shelving. I'm listening for the phone or I am listening for customors who might need help finding a specific book or author. I am aware of sound and conversations. In other words, I'm alert to our guests at the bookstore.

One evening while I was shelving books in the Fiction section I overheard two young boys briskly talking. (I can hear my grandpa calling them whipper snappers). One boy said to the other, "These are old and used books. I don't think they would have it." Before I could ask them if I could help them on their book quest they had quickly left the store. In that flash of an instant, I had a childhood flashback. A positive flashback. I was taken back to my living room whereI was watching an after school special of some kind that involved a scruffy but literate cat. The cat was explaining that even though a book is a used, or pre-read, it is new to the person who has never read it before.

This tidbit of knowledge was groundbreaking for a pre-teen sitting way too close to the T.V. eating Lucky Charms. I sat there agape in this revelation. It made sense! It was an epiphany that launched me into the wonderful wide world of books. No, books didn't have to have shiney covers to be good books. To this day I prefer the dog eared books. I prefer books that contain underlined passages and side notes. I want to get into the psychology of the previous readers. I want to know the life that this book has endured. I want a book with a personal history. Most of all I want the book to feel love when it is placed under may care whether it be for a week or a lifetime.

Moral of the blog entry: A used book is a new book to you if you have not read it. Experience new books. Anthology has hundreds!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Wonderful World of Vocabulary

Recently I have been studying to take the GRE. The GRE is composed of three parts. Quantitative, Verbal, and an Essay. When I started studying for the test I knew that I would need work on my math skills. However, being an English major I thought that I had quite a large vocabulary. In order to double check my vocabulary skills I purchased two sets of flashcards to study from. I started by dividing them into two piles. One pile are the cards I do know. The other pile are the cards that I do not know. Once I had all of the cards divided I realized that the pile that I did not know was a lot larger than the pile I did know. This took me back a couple steps. It was humbling to realize that my fantastic vocabulary skills were not up to par with a college graduate.

Here are a few of the words I don't know:

Impecunious - poor; having no money
Imprecation - a curse
Lachrymose - tearful
Legerdemain - trickery
Mendacious - dishonest
Numismatics - coin collecting
Pugilism - boxing
Pastiche - piece of literature or music imitating other works
Salubrious - healthful
Unconscionable - unscrupulous; shockingly unfair or unjust

Here are some of the words I do know:

Inexorable - inflexible; unyielding
Lament - to express sorrow; to grieve
Metaphor - figure of speech comparing two different things
Mollify - to calm or make less severe
Molt - to shed hair; or an outer layer periodically
Pragmatic - practical, as opposed to idealistic
Unequivocal - absolute; certain
Variegated - varied; marked with different colors
Wanton - undisciplined; unrestrained; reckless
Zealot - someone passionately devoted to a cause

Having a large vocabulary is extremely important, not only for taking standardized tests but in order to better oneself within the English language. After I realized that I needed to better my vocabulary I started studying my cards with zeal. I even talked to my coworkers about taking the GRE. They really liked my cards and expressed an interest in knowing new words every day. I also realized in the process of studying, that booksellers really enjoy learning new words. That is half the joy in reading any book. Danine told us that she is signed up for word of the day online and tries to use each word in a poem. This is a great resource for anyone trying to improve their vocabulary. My suggestion is to read as many books as you can. The more you read the better your vocabulary becomes. Plus, reading is fun!

If you too would like to expand your vocabulary here are a few resources: (Sign up for word of the day and do your own creative writing!)

Exam Busters New GRE Study Cards : 9781881374800

Kaplan GRE Exam Vocabulary in a Box : 9781607140528

Happy reading and vocabulary building!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A poetry book from London July 11, 1968

I adore poetry and am always on the look out for my new inspiration of life. Of course there are always the originals: Mr. Poe, Frost and Miss Plate, but I wanted to discover someone. But desires like this don't always come when you are looking and waiting, but when you have no desire to pick up a book of poetry.

I discovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh's The Unicorn And Other Poems the way I usually discover books and authors I have never read: Shelving at Anthology. :) This fantastic hard cover has a dust jacket cover of magnificent character, which is what always first catches the eye. I have seen copies of this book before and also have had the opportunity to read/buy the book before, but like I said before, you cannot control when it is or isn't the right time to experience the pages of a book.

I began to read the book last night and became completely captivated by, what is now, one of my favorite poems. The Unicorn (as refered to by the title) has an ideal thought projected and a strange reflection occured for me. The unicorn has been captured yet is free. The whole concept of attitude is what this fine poem is stitched with. There is physical and there is spiritual. It is a brilliant concept that is forgotten and sometimes forsaken in this day and age. I am grateful that it was brought to my attention and to my heart once more.

A Final Cry is another poem that I have never had the pleasure of reading before but it has forever left a mark. The poem is about life and how minuscule time really is for the human race. The last line says all and should always be remembered:

Praise life, O man,
While yet you can.

Poetry has always been a huge part of my soul and I have so much gratitude toward the Force that brings forth inspiration and creative thought into our lives. Poetry, and in particular the book The Unicorn And Other Poems by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, does it for me. What does it for you?