“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer 106 BC-43 BC)
For the past few months, my family and I have been in the process of moving across the world from Prague back to our native Ohio, USA. As I’m finding out, it takes a long time to move across the sea.
While we’ve been waiting on our beds and other essentials to arrive with the shipment from Prague, life has gone on. My boys are getting taller and growing. We’ve been making friends and enjoying the American way of living again. And now, eight weeks later, our essentials have arrived.Read More»
All successful artists have disturbing stories in their lives and careers. They survive by coping consistently and creatively. Those difficulties keep us very creatively active, keep us aware with a deepening insight. -Harley Brown
In Prague, if you stand and listen on a quiet morning, you can hear the whisper of wings — many wings — in unison. It’s startling to see, really, these swooping and diving and sharp-turning flocks of doves as they fly in tight formation along their aerial roller coaster. It’s one of the things I love most about Prague, and where I live. On any given day, these flocks of doves, peppered with dark, gray, and snowy white birds, will swoop and play in and along the rooflines around my house for hours. It’s mesmerizing. And in many ways, I think it’s art.
Recently, I’ve been reading many books (as one of my favorite parts of summer!) in a chair outside below those often-swooping doves. One of those books instantly became one of my all-time favorite books: Ann Patchett’s STATE OF WONDER. In a story that pulls the reader along through a literary mystery so ripe with atmosphere in the Amazon, the main character Marina struggles to the point of death. And one paragraph struck me as being so absolutely true I knew I had to share it here.Read More»
“It is said that a good book has no ending. And if a Good book has no ending, then a Great book begs to live on, to be shared and discussed.
In the belief in and support of authors old and new and their newest books, the Great New Books book group reads and talks about one great recently-published book each month. New selections are chosen on the second Wednesday of each month. Join us in discovering the best new emerging books and writers.” -Great New Books book group
Not long ago, a friend rushed up to me at a party and took hold of my arm. She smiled, and said, “Have you heard of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS?”
This friend is a book-lover, a reading fanatic like me, so I knew she was talking about a book. I shook my head, no. “Oh, you have to read it. Have to. I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s that good.”
The first thing I did when I got home was to google THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. And now, as I finish the book, I turn the last page and nod. Yes. It was that good. Maybe even better.
Good books are meant to live on. Great books change lives, and are meant to be shared. Books offer unique insights into life that bring so many things to the reader who dares to venture between its pages … a new place and experience, a new lens to see through, new shoes to walk in. Books offer intimacy, and yet books long to be discussed. Literature is a lifeline to an enriched inner world. A book group is the perfect place to link up with other book-lovers and chat about a great new read.
After many months of thinking about it, I’ve decided to take Hazel Grace’s advice (from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), “There is no try … there is only do.” I’m introducing a new book group, the GREAT NEW BOOKS group at Goodreads.com.
The defining factors:
- When: We’ll discuss one Great Book per month, selected on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
- Where: Each new book will be announced here on my blog and at the Great New Books site at Goodreads.com.
- What: One Great Book = one that has been published within the last year that I’ve bought, read, and loved; a book that is powerful and thought-provoking and deserves a highest recommendation.
- Why New books?: To discover the best recently-published books. To support authors who are working hard to launch their words, thoughts, stories, and dreams out into the world.
- Why: To share books and great discussion
- Other: Books that won’t be recommended for the GREAT NEW BOOKS book group: children in danger, porn or erotica, sugary-sweet or formula of any genre, dark or grim books without light in the story (life is hard enough as it is).
For you: To participate, what do you need to do?
- Click here to access the GREAT NEW BOOKS Book Group page at Goodreads. Click the link on the page to join.
- Get your hands on the monthly book, from your library or by borrowing or buying it. (Books are a worthwhile investment, an investment in yourself.)
- Read and discuss as you will.
So without further ado, introducing the first month’s read for GREAT NEW BOOKS:
John Green’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
It’s a fabulous book, one that I’ve just finished, and one that I loved so much I had to read it with a pen-in-hand. LOTS to discuss in it, including the humor and the tragedy. It is oh-so-rich.
So, click through to the link to GREAT NEW BOOKS at Goodreads and let’s get started. Oh– and to help us get started, a big thank you in advance for tweeting, linking, facebooking, and recommending Great New Books to your friends. It’s bound to be fun. I look forward to seeing you there!
If you have comments or questions, please leave a comment below or email me at contact (at) jenniferlynking (dot) com.
Thanks for joining me on one of the most extraordinary adventures in life: through reading, through the pages of a book.
au·thor/ˈôTHər/ : A. The writer of a book, article, or other text. b. One who practices writing as a profession.
One day about six years ago, I was deep in the process of writing my first book, and the UPS man pulled up at my house. He brought a package to the front door, from my publisher, Tyndale House. After holding my Boxer back from tackling her favorite Man from the Big Brown Truck, my three boys helped me tear into the package. I’ll never forget what waited for me inside the box.
I had recently received news that Tyndale had contracted with me for the book, and the package was a congratulations follow-up. Inside the box, I found a hefty white coffee mug and a textured white book. The word “Author” had been printed in simple black typewriter font on both the mug and the book. As soon as I saw them, my eyes misted over.
It made it real. I was an Author.
Since that day, I’ve kept my pencils and pens in the mug, at the corner of my desk. And, every so often, I flip through the wonderful book Tyndale sent, the book about being an author.
For those of you who are not writers, the process of writing a book may seem different or mysterious. And for those of us who are writers, we know the tremendous amount of life and love and effort that goes into creating a book or a novel. It’s all-consuming at times.
I’m steeped in research for my next novel, and have been thinking about what goes into writing a book. So, in the midst of this past cold and rainy Prague weekend, I worked with my oldest son to create a video that is inspired by the Author book. I’ve titled it Author: A Video. It’s five minutes long and is filled with color photographs and simple I-statements, about the life an author lives while writing a book.
I hope you enjoy it!
PS. A big thanks to the great 13-year-old at King’s Might Productions for his computer savvy! ***The purpose of this video is for personal and non-commercial use and sharing with author and writer and reader friends. Thanks to Microsoft Office Clipart for free use of its photos for this project.
- Originally published on January 11, 2012; republished after cleaning website
“Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
I have always loved to read, and yet some books I’ve read linger in my memory long after I’ve turned the last page. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but that the language tucks under my tongue and the story and protagonist move in ways that long intrigue me. Since it’s January and the dead of winter here in Prague, and since I choose to spend much of my free time reading by the fire (it’s really dark in Europe right now!), I’m posting quotes from 10 favorite classic works.
“A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud: lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and flagrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway.”
- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
I have always loved beautiful photographs; I’m the kind of soul who thrives at the sight of something that takes my breath away. Photography books, paintings, art books, travel books, and more have long been my inspiration.
At the age of 15, I took my first trip across the Atlantic, and splurged with babysitting money and bought a new Olympus film camera, to capture the sites I knew I would see in France on that trip. Photography has come a long way since I was a teenager, and given that I’ve taken thousands and thousands of photographs since then, my photographic eye has come a way, as well.
Having traveled over a dozen countries in Europe in 2011, I have had the incredible opportunity to photograph many beautiful places. And as part of wrapping up 2011, I’m posting my 12 best photographs from 2011. I hope you enjoy them!
“Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye.”- Samuel Johnson
This past weekend, I had the immense privilege of visiting Greece with my family.
I learned so much while in Greece, watching and listening and absorbing pieces of a culture so vibrant and important to our history. I especially loved watching my boys (all 3 young ones and my husband) soak up the Indiana Jones type world we explored of Ancient Greece. And I as I think back on the trip, I know I gained something big … something of a fresh and deeper perspective. Because somehow, when I step away from my routine surroundings, a new way of looking at life comes.Read More»
“I am working as one possessed … For the trees are in blossom and I would like to produce a Provencal orchard of incredible gaiety … In God’s name send me that paint at once. The season of blossoming orchards is just so short.” -Vincent Van Gogh, in a letter to his brother, Theo, at the time of his painting The Pink Peach Tree, 1888
Two weeks ago, I had the wonderful privilege to tour Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a native Dutch friend. It was an incredible experience as a whole, as I blogged about here. But one of the biggest treats was to spend the day in the Van Gogh Museum with her.
Two things about my tour of the Van Gogh Museum:
1) It is always a pleasure to tour an art museum, especially one as large and well-done as the Van Gogh, with someone else who appreciates art and the artist. Big thanks to my friend!
2) If you have ever attempted to tour an art museum, grand or small, with children in tow, you know what a luxury it is to tour it at leisure, without being hurried.
Vincent Van Gogh wrote many letters, and from those letters, the Museum pieces together his life with the art he created. On a certain day, one letter said, Vincent wrote a letter, and this is what he said: emblazoned upon a wall at the beginning of the Museum, he wrote that he decided to become an artist. That statement has stuck with me:
Vincent Van Gogh decided to become an artist.Read More»
“Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in this world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.” -Vera Neumann, American artist and designer
For about the past month, I have been shuffling around a little scrap of paper, torn from a magazine an American friend lent to me. The clipping has sat everywhere in my kitchen, on top of the piano, and even next to the sink. Because, while I was reading the magazine, I didn’t know exactly what I would do with the clipping, but I knew I had to keep it. I loved the quote, above.Read More»
“The basis of human happiness is the possibility to be together with nature, to see it and to talk to it.” –Leo Tolstoy
As I type these words, I sit outside on the patio tucked into the back corner of our house near Prague. Bees buzz lazily around the dainty blue catmint and fading lavender planted beside the patio, and creamy roses tinged in raspberry pink dazzle in the setting sunlight. A light breeze whisks across the yard. Puffy cumulus clouds sail across the powdery blue sky. Songbirds call out as they dart toward the feeder. And the notable Prague passenger pigeons make their whispering rounds of flight in tight formation. I type and I can’t help smiling, because there is something so free about being in this exact spot. I love to be outdoors.Read More»