A Word with Mark Twain

Goodness gracious! Finals are over, and oh boy! Did it kick my butt, or what? With that being said, I’m home for the summer! I’m free to write as I please, and take things easy. Now that I can update this blog, let’s dive into the post!

Photo is property of http://www.museum.state.il.us/RiverWeb/landings/Ambot/TECH/TECH3.htm
Photo is property of http://www.museum.state.il.us/RiverWeb/landings/Ambot/TECH/TECH3.htm

Today I thought we’d spend a few moments with the Man of Summertime himself. His literary works are just perfect for spending a lazy summer day reading about boyish adventures, or briefing up on history. I collected just a few of his quotes, and thought I would leave my response! Scroll down to read, and don’t forget that you can join in, as well! Take advantage of the comments, respond to a quote or two, or just give your own thoughts!

“Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”

Sometimes, I feel like Mark Twain is kind of like that “cool” uncle. He was a man with a sense of humor, but then he’d go and share enlightening quotes like this one. Many times, we struggle with doing what feels right, and doing what we know is actually right. These wise words make that decision a tad easier. Choosing to do the right thing doesn’t guarantee wide-spread adoration, but those who fail to respect your decision will definitely be impressed.

“Architects cannot teach nature anything.”

No man made creation can top what nature has to offer. I can’t agree more with this quote! Mark Twain survived through the very start of the industrial revolution… and imagine what he would think of all the modern-day developments that we have now. Not that it’s all bad. But we’ve forgotten the value of nature and wilderness. Carry this quote with you this summer! Explore like Tom Sawyer, take risks like Hank Morgan, and enjoy life as though you lived on the Mississippi.

“Books are the liberated spirits of men.”

Of course I have to end on a quote related to reading! Writing is one of the only escapes we have from social conduct, and manner. Those who publish are those who are brave enough to rebel against societal standards. Yes! Writing is liberating! If you’re curious about the way one’s mind works, read a book. Simple as that. Nothing is sugar coated. No feelings are spared. You’re able to bask in the company of someone who is completely transparent.


Gardens Inspired by Books

Hello, everyone! I hope this last week of April treats you well! It’s pre-finals week for me, so things are a little hectic! The thoughts of summer and lazy days are keeping me going as I struggle to stay on top of my “to-do” list. One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is planting my garden! I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but it’s another creative outlet for me.

Enough about me, though! Let’s talk about the list I composed for all of you! I decided to put together a list of gardens inspired by novels! I’ll definitely be implementing some of these ideas into my own garden this summer, and I hope this inspires some of you!

Before I begin, I have to clarify that the picture used in this post is not mine. The internet is full of wonderful resources, and I’ve used (with credit) another individual’s photograph to benefit this post. Also. I’ve already implied that I’m a novice gardener. If you look through this list and notice bad advice, let me know! Use the comments to give gardening tips! They’re more than welcome!

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


With an Alice in Wonderland inspired garden, you can make it as whimsical and nonsensical as you’d like! In the Disney retelling, Alice stumbles into a garden that features lilies, daisies, roses, and petunias. Take advantage of the “Golden Afternoons” to come, and make this flowerbed come to life with crafty accessories for your garden! In the picture above, fellow WordPress user thenestingbird snagged a silver tea set from a thrift shop, and used it to display some plants. Why not give The White Rose the center of attention she deserves, and give her a spot in her own tea set? I’m sure the Dormouse won’t mind!

(You can find the rest of thenestingbird’s post on thenestingbird.com under her post “Green Tea” published on April 16, 2012).

2. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Main characters named Lily and Rosaleen. A made up grandmother named Rose. The simple ingredients of this garden are almost too obvious. It’s possible to grow lilies and roses together. As long as the soil is of good quality, and you avoid overwatering them, they should be fine! You may want to do your own research, though! Since this book deals with beekeeping, you definitely need a splash of yellow in this garden. A climbing honeysuckle vine would definitely bring this book to life!

3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This garden would be one to evoke emotion and knowledge. Honeysuckle for devotion. Asters for patience. Red roses for love. These are three flowers that are highlighted in the excerpt of the novel. However, in order to be sincerely true to the book, I think you should choose flowers that personally mean something to you. Plant your bed, and label each flower with their scientific names and meanings! Also, because the main character’s name is “Victoria,” I think it would be a great idea to incorporate a Victorian era theme into your garden!

Marvelous Spring Picks

There always seems to be a time for everything. Pumpkin for the fall. Knitted scarves and blankets in the winter. Tea parties in the spring. Short hair in the summer. We rotate through books in the same way. There are just some books that are PERFECT for a certain season. I’ve selected a few books that are reminiscent of spring and early summer. Scroll through this list, agree or disagree, and add some more books to the list in the comments!

  1. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Ok, I may be a little biased. This book is tied as one of my favorite books of all time! Graham has the distinct capability of bringing every aspect of this book to life. You can feel the spring breeze, and hear the blissful sounds of the burbling river. When spring makes its way, the animals become inspired, meet new friends, and embark on unpredictable adventures. Escape into this ideal anthropomorphic world, and learn to value this short, tranquil season of spring.

  1. Big Fish by Daniel Wallace

This book is a perfect read for spring and summer. A young man attempts to get to know his father before he passes away. This is easier said than done, though. The son doesn’t believe the stories told by his father, and his father insists that they’re true. This story is told through flashbacks and tall tales. If you’re a child at heart, this book is a must read.

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

You don’t want to put this book down, but at the same time you do, because it makes you want to grab a jump rope, run outside, plant some flowers, and spend hours outside in the long-awaited spring weather. This book embodies the spirit of spring in such an effortless way, and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s a reason this book is cherished as a classic!

  1. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Spring is a time of rebirth and new experiences. These qualities are fulfilled in this memoir. Even so, this book isn’t your typical spring read. Yes, some chapters had me laughing, but overall, it’s a hard read. The narrative is blunt and straightforward when discussing the hard issues. Nothing is sugar coated. Even the most beautiful things, like the birth of a child, can be accompanied by trying times. As Jenny learns to the love the undesirables, the reader does, too. That makes it a perfect spring read, in my opinion.

  1. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

This book, to say the least, is not a favorite of mine. BUT, it is a New York Times Bestseller, and therefore appeals to quite a few people. I know I’m the crazy one for not liking it. I can definitely see the spring appeal, though! A magic apple tree, romance, and the most adorable, little town ever. It’s like a Southern Stars Hollow, but with weird sisters with heaven-sent talents. This is a light read, and inspires readers to get their hands in the dirt, and starting digging. Yes. Even readers who didn’t like the book!


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons


There’s a certain element of magic that reading brings into this world, and only a select number of people are lucky enough to have discovered it.

Hi, everyone!

I’m Kari Ann. And I have lived a thousand lives. After devouring multiple novels this semester, I decided I wanted to create a community of like-minded people. Who would that entail, you ask?

  • People who can easily escape into a world unlike our own
  • People who can empathize with characters, and feel their pain and happiness as though it were their own
  • People who can laugh at the flaws of a book, but admire the work as a whole
  • People whose imaginations have been influenced by the hopefulness and beauty of the books they’ve read

And so on. I wanted to create a place where we could celebrate our love of literature, enjoy each others’ company, and obsess over the books we’ve read, and the books to be released. There are not many like us. I wanted to create a place that could bring us together.

I’m still planning the content of this blog. But here’s what you can expect:

  • Book reviews
  • Ideas on how to create parties and events based on books
  • Book lists
  • Spotlights on relatable characters

I am so excited to get started, and so excited to get to know all of you!

I hope you all become involved, and interact with me and other readers. This community won’t exist if we don’t communicate with each other. Your comments and discussion are more than welcome, and highly anticipated!

Thank you for stopping by, and giving me a chance.

Let’s build this community together.

Read on.

Kari Ann