So, I Read This Book Today

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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

See – Librarians CAN be Bad-ASS!!

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven.

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.

Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara’s heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali’s—and the world’s—literary patrimony. Hammer explores the city’s manuscript heritage and offers never-before-reported details about the militants’ march into northwest Africa. But above all, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.

Review: The Pepper In The Gumbo by Mary Jane Hathaway

23353789The definition of gumbo is almost as slippery as that of Creole. Just as gumbo can contain pretty much any kind of meat or seafood, Creole is a vague and inclusive term for native New Orleanians,  (note: I would say ‘Louisiana natives’)who may be black or white, depending on whom you’re asking. – Jay McInerney

I’m Creole, and I’m down to earth. – Boozoo Chavis

Technology. . . is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and stabs you in the back with the other. – Carrie Snow

Alice Augustine lives the life she has always wanted. The owner of a rare book store willed to her by the elderly couple, the Perraults, who offered her peace after the death of her family, Alice is happy. Well, as happy as you can be when your bookstore runs in the red every month, and your boyfriend is a self-centred ass. But still, she is proud of her shop, proud of her Creole culture, and just as proud of the fact that she lives her life with as little technology as possible. Let’s face it – in this day and age, the art of conversation is dead, the paper book is a rarity, and nobody pays attention to anyone else – everyone runs around with their noses in their iPhones instead.

Everything is good, though, in historical old town Natchitoches, Louisiana. Alice is on the board, so nobody can damage the culture of the city, right? Well. Not so much. For something terrible has happened – without going through any proper channels whatsoever, the Mayor and his cronies have allowed the building of a ScreenStop right in the middle of Historical Old Town – a glass and steel monstrosity that fits in the neighborhood like mud on the Mona Lisa. ScreenStop is everything that Alice abhors about modern life. A haven for people who live their lives in front of screens, fighting orcs and monsters instead of visiting with friends, having conversations, and generally being real live human beings. Oh, and reading books.

The billionaire wizard of ScreenStop, Paul Olivier is the penultimate “Creole boy makes good” story. Raised by a single mother in a shack on the wrong side of the tracks in Natchitoches, he is determined to rub the town’s nose in his success. He lives in his world of game design, public appearances and growing his gaming empire. Nevertheless, there is something different about him. For Paul Olivier has a second identity – an identity which draws him to Alice, a persona of poetry and books, kindness and charity, that could help both of them – or destroy everything.

The Pepper In The Gumbo honestly tore me apart. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the book. The writing, the characters, the French Creole history that is so important to Alice. Alice isn’t perfect by any means, but she is real and likable, even if you want to smack her and tell her to wake up a few times. That is what makes her character honest and interesting. And Paul is an enigma that I enjoyed deciphering. He pissed me off just as often as he made me appreciate his more positive qualities. All things that make him interesting.

There were some things that weren’t logically presented in the book – like why Alice didn’t explain to Paul that his building’s paperwork wasn’t legal, even though his lawyers told him there was no problem, even though the building definitely didn’t follow codes. Be that as it may, what drove me nuts about the book is exactly what makes it a wonderful piece, in its own way, for a contemporary audience. The effects of technology upon humanity – upon what makes us humans. In Alice’s eyes, Paul and his kind are, “luring a whole generation into willful ignorance. She felt like the world was in love with Paul Oliver and she was the only sane person left.

In a lot of ways, I have to agree with Alice. Humanity is so busy running around with their noses in the aforementioned iPads, they no longer raise their heads long enough to say “hello” much less have a conversation. The idea of what constitutes “achievement” is dropped to the level of winning another level in a game, something that means her young friend Charlie, who helps out in the bookshop, “was wasting her life on false achievements that meant nothing in real life.”

Mary Jane Hathaway has done a good job of pointing out the good and the bad on both sides of the story. The loss of intellect brought on by a life consumed by video games, a world where players have been known to die from sitting so long in play mode that they literally die in their chairs, to the other side of the coin, where Bix, Alice’s nearly blind friend can make the type on an e-reader large enough that he can actually read his beloved books he hasn’t been able to read in years.

As Max Frisch said, “Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” But then again, the very technology that has turned us into a nation of mindless screen-gazers, where Nobody ever talks to each other anymore. Has also given us access to the classic words of those authors and poets who are no longer grist for the publishing mill. I just downloaded of the books mentioned in the story, The Seraphim, and Other Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (original publication date January 1, 1838) off of the Google project. I hope you read The Pepper In The Gumbo. And I would love to hear what you think about it. As I said, parts of me rant about the loss of civilization (and good book stores!) to technology. Another feels guilty because, yep, I read everything on e-reader these days – can’t help it when I suffer a bit of what Bix suffers – I just can’t read as long in paper as I can on an e-reader screen where I can make the type larger, change the background colour, and raise and lower the brightness. Sigh. So, Pot/Kettle much?

I downloaded The Pepper In The Gumbo though my Kindle Unlimited account. When KU first came out I didn’t think it would be worth the monthly fee. Boy, was I ever wrong!

Bedlam, The Crossrail Line, and London History

Adult and baby. Was the skull caved in before, or after, death?
Did Bedlam keep an open pit, simply covering up when it got filled? What is the history?

In the land of “Leiah doesn’t watch the news” – well, sometimes not watching the news means that you miss really interesting stuff. So, I got a subscription to Newsy Science on youTube, and I have to say – I am having a Ball! And really kicking myself. I love “sciencey” stuff, and I have really been missing out. It is sort of like how I go months without watching CBS News Sunday Morning, then kick myself when I realize it has been so long I have missed out on a lot of stuff that I would have really enjoyed (even if they do have a “news update” section I can simply skip through… I know what bad shape the world is in, I just don’t want to be beaten over the head with it. And if that makes me shallow, so be it. I did my thing for stopping violence against women, children and animals for years. I’m tired.)

London, well Great Britain, has such a rich history. . . but London’s, with people living on top of one another for centuries, has the most rich, I think.

Anyway. Here is a video I really enjoyed today, and I thought you might enjoy it as well. I watched several others, but this is rather short, so if you are bored, you don’t have to watch for long. If you are not, you can watch this, and others. It is about the archeological excavation of (so far) 3000+ human skeletons at London’s Liverpool Street, as part of a dig for the city’s new Crossrail line.

Apparently, this was the site of the ‘potter’s field’ for the infamous Bedlam Hospital, used from 1569 to at least 1738. I did find a book on Amazon,6945723

Bedlam: London’s Hospital for the Mad by Paul Chambers. If you are interested in the subject, I haven’t read it (yet) but it sounds well written.

With London’s history, of course, you can’t plant a rose bush without turning up some portion of history, but this site is providing a rich history, including not only the more recent Bedlam dig, but also eventually excavating what they believe will be an ancient Roman suburb.

Of modern day interest, at least one historical building, part of the Woolwich Arsenal, built in 1739, could (or maybe has already been?) torn down for the rail line, even though builders admit that it doesn’t really have to be – but it would be cheaper, which we all know is what REALLY matters, right? Gag.

This site, and others being excavated also served as mass burial sites for plague victims. While the “Black Death” of 1348 – 1350, and the “Great Plague” of 1665 are famous worldwide, these famous outbreaks are only two of nearly 40 that London suffered between 1348 and 1665. A total lack of hygiene, sewage running in the streets (and flying out of windows from chamber pots dumped out windows – Just. Ew.) and ridiculous Christian religious beliefs (don’t bathe, keep windows closed in sickrooms, kill cats because they are instruments of the devil), and people living elbow-to-elbow in the streets in abject poverty, allowed disease to run rampant, killing millions. These new digs will tell the history of these times, in meticulous detail.

On another interesting note, the gaps in the development history of homo sapiens is being filled. Check out the video here:

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper – And Other Stuff

I owe everyone an apology, as this book was on the Audible Daily Deal today, and I missed getting it posted. Bad Leiah! No Biscuit!

It’s been a hard week for me – not an excuse, just an explanation. My HiJinx is going downhill. Well, she is nearly 12, which is amazing for a Boxer – jinxballinmouththey usually hit about 10 and simply fade away. So I have been lucky – but with so much loss lately I find myself hanging on to her. So, sleep has been a matter of a few minutes here and there so that she doesn’t slip away while I sleep. Selfish, I know. But my housemate was home today, so I slept for hours on end knowing she would wake me if anything happens.

Sex Trafficking by HARO21
Photo courtesy of All rights reserved. HARO21

So, Back to Copper Sun. This looks like a really terrific listen. It actually caught my attention more than some because of what is going on in “the world today. Americans seem to have a built-in filter – a filter which wipes their brains of the fact that, while we kick and scream and come off all “Holier-than-Thou” when it comes to the “we are perfect when it comes to human rights” scenario. We aren’t, and we never were. Slaughter of the Native Americans, Slavery, our history is checkered, to say the least. Even today, slavery is rampant – though now it is white women and children who are the victims in massive sex trafficking rings.

Yes, we need to help the victims in other countries. But we also need to acknowledge our own history – and help the victims who still exist in America today.


draperWritten by: Sharon M. Draper

  • Narrated by: Myra Lucretia Taylor
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins Unabridged Audiobook
  • Fifteen-year-old Amari witnesses the murder of her family and the destruction of her remote African village. She endures countless humiliations as she is beaten, branded, and forced to board a slave ship. The atrocities continue as she struggles through endless days of backbreaking work and daily degradation on a plantation.
    Photo courtesy of Robert E. Howard. All rights reserved.

    Somehow, through it all, Amari’s hopes and dreams survive, because there are moments of kindness from an indentured white girl, Polly, and the gentle wife of the plantation owner. Amari and Polly find that by working together, freedom could be possible.

    In this well-researched novel, award-winning author and educator Sharon M. Draper successfully embarks upon historical fiction to explore plantation life.

    ©2006 Sharon M. Draper; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC


Review: Finding Sheba By H. B. Moore EDITED Review

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds. – William James

The history of the Jews has been written overwhelmingly by scholars of texts – understandably given the formative nature of the Bible and the Talmud. Seeing Jewish history through artifacts, architecture and images is still a young but spectacularly flourishing discipline that’s changing the whole story. – Simon Schama

Queen Makeda of Ethiopia

Undercover special agent for the Israeli Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Ancient Artifacts Omar Zagouri may not agree with all of the decisions of his government regarding their treatment of his Arab neighbors. But protecting his people, and their culture, from jihadists and weapons smugglers means setting aside his misgivings – even when his neighbor dies from internal bleeding when she delivered a baby and couldn’t be taken to a hospital because breaking curfew meant death for her family. No, life in Israel and Palestine can be hell – but this particular undercover operation will be something more than even Omar expected.

It is hard to believe, today, that these lands of bombs and guns, oppression and violence, were once a jewel of the world. A land of beauty and learning, knowledge, wealth and beauty, even amidst the sands and dunes of barren lands. Now buried civilizations, forgotten until discoveries, some chance, some planned, reveal the lost beauty and culture of an amazing world.

Queen Bilqis

Recent archaeological discoveries in the Mahram Bilqis (Mahram Bilkees, “Temple of the Moon Deity”) in Mareb, Yeman support the view that the Queen Sheba ruled over southern Arabia, with evidence suggesting the area to be the capital of the Kingdom of Sheba.

But who was she, really? Records are thin, stories sometimes wildly exaggerated. Or are they? For Omar, while working undercover in a tunnel between Israel and Jerusalem, has broken through a wall and into a tomb – a tomb which may very well change the history of the world, and the underpinnings of Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs. The discovery, if authenticated, could throw into question the governmental claims to the Holy Land—and prove the Bible false.

Pyramid carving of purported Egyptian Queen of Sheba

Different countries claim to be the motherland of Sheba – all with their own names for the queen – Bilqis in Yemen, Makeda in Ethiopia, or possibly an Egyptian queen. But these aren’t the real questions, though all these countries are willing to commit the most horrendous crimes in order to prove their claim. But what is even more at risk, and is a political bomb that could explode not only across the Middle East – but across the world, is the very underpinning of the three major belief systems of the world. For not only is Sheba brought into question – but also the very existence of King Solomon. And should King Solomon be proven to have not existed, the whole underpinning of Biblical history will be brought into question. For while there are no actual, physical records of the existence of Solomon¹, a crypt accidentally located by Omar and a group of workers clearing a tunnel may prove that, rather than Solomon, his supposed reign was actually during the time of King Melech Tambariah – son and grandson of Kings Melech Turug and Melech Amariel. And a statue found in Aksum, Ethiopia entwines the names of Tambariah and Azhara – the Queen of Sheba and her King? If so, a chain of political events will destroy everything from the ownership of Israel to the veracity of Christianity itself – Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant – everything.

History’s written from what can be found; what isn’t saved is lost, sunken and rotted, eaten by earth. – Jill Lepore

The Bible holds David and Solomon to be the founding kings of ancient Israel and to be ancestors of Jesus Christ. The Quran portrays all three men as prophets. Yet, though current archaeological efforts are underway, there is no archaeological evidence that King David or his son, King Solomon, ever lived or ruled over Israel. If it could ever be proved that these kings never existed, then Israel’s claim to the Holy Land is mistaken.

Quotes, statements and Biblical history pertaining to Solomon is, not surprisingly, a collection of ideas designed to forward the original beliefs of Christianity. Wisdom, kindness, justice. Whether Solomon does or does not exist, belief is everything – and proving that beliefs are wrong . . .

Finding Sheba is that best possible of all world in the thriller realm. A thoughtful ‘what-if’ story based on meticulous research by an expert in her field. It is very well written, literate, and offers that most rare and beautiful of writing skills – both knowledge and creativity. From ancient history to modern desert tribes still living as they did centuries ago; to the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the Desert, the fabled lost city, celebrated in both the Koran and “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights” as the center of the lucrative frankincense trade for 3,000 years before the birth of Christ² reality and supposition blends and turns, highlighting the darkest parts of history, the cruelties of the modern day, and religions and beliefs based in self mutilation and torture, mysogany and brutality, cannibals and kings.

The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors. – Max Lerner

And when whole religions, belief systems, political systems – hell, as Douglas Adams would have it, Life, The Universe, and Everything – relies upon unsubstantiated tales written by the victor, well the rationalizations and politics may very well end up standing on their heads.

“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.’
“Ah, well, I’m not sure I believe that.”
― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

I received Finding Sheba from the publisher in return for a realistic review. If you are at all interested in Middle Eastern history and the questions of whether or not Biblical history truly is “history” I can’t recommend this book highly enough for an unusual, beautifully creative thriller.

¹ The Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavations seem to be the location spoken of in the Bible as the spot where David and Goliath fought. However, dating of the site indicates that the city was one of many  developed long before the time of the story of Solomon. While the city exists, there is still no written record of who the leaders were of the periods estimated for Solomon and David: David 1011-971 – Solomon 971-931BC. Therefore, proof of the existence of either is at this time not available.

² Ubar was located by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory satellite imagery on the edge of the Empty Quarter in southern Oman.  JPL’s involvement in the search for the lost city of Ubar began in 1981, and continued when in 1984, the shuttle Challenger made two passes over an unmapped region of southern Oman and studied the area with Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B). Fieldwork lasted from 2007 to 2013 as the city was unearthed.

How incredible that modern technology is unearthing our history in such a manner – history once thought lost forever!

Review: Ritual Tea by Mario Zeleny

Ritual Tea cover
Ritual can calm and clear your mind. And tea? Well, you don’t know what you are missing if you only use those silly teabags! Click to order!

Tea is wealth itself,
Because there is nothing that cannot be lost,
No problem that will not disappear,
No burden that will not float away,
Between the first sip and the last. – The Minister of Leaves

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. – Henry James

“For me, starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.” ― Bill Drummond, $20,000

A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~Soshitsu Sen XV


It is hard for the typical modern tea drinker to believe, but tea has carried a nearly mystic aura throughout history. From the spiritual to the medicinal, the history of tea is one which not only spans cultures, but also has a deeply ritual meaning within those same cultures. Believe me, it isn’t all about that powder that they sweep off the floor to fill those little paper bags!

As an obsessive tea drinker, I have always been interested in the history and styles of tea. While some women live for shoes or bags, I am always thrilled when I find a new and interesting tea. Darjeeling is my normal evening tea, soothing and relaxing, while English or Scottish teas are more my style in the mornings. But how fun to find a Lavender Darjeeling, flowery and perfect for sitting in the garden? A smooth Lapsang Souchong, scented from pine wood or cypress fires used for drying the leaves for when the day has been long and painful and there are still many hours to go. And of course, tall mugs of Gunpowder Green all through the day, cleansing and fortifying mind and body. Tea is layered, seductive and soothing, exciting and mesmerizing, and a joy that more people should enjoy.

Mario Zeleny has researched the history of tea from its mysterious beginnings, both the holy and the profane. As he points out at the very first, tea is personal and universal, the start and endings of wars, and is seen as both sacred and ordinary. While modern America places the whole idea of the tea ceremony into the realm of Buddhist monks and the traditional Japanese Cha No Yu, Zeleny breaks through these barriers, widening perceptions and touching on the magic of ritual and how it affects our day-to-day lives. For we all follow ritual, from brushing our teeth in the mornings to tucking ourselves in at night. Life is about ritual – and adding Zeleny’s ten simple rituals, whether they be those described in the book or ones you develop for yourself, tea can help calm, establish relationships, relax and allow you to reach within yourself for everything from spiritual balance to sensuality.

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Zeleny’s book is both quirky and completely useful, in spiritual manners of course, but also medicinally, while even giving wonderful tips on healthy cleaning. From a simple body detoxifier to polishing your furniture and cleaning your mirrors, tea is all about health. Both your own personal health to the health of the environment.

Rituals are both intentional and mindful. They give you a focus for your attention, while allowing the brain to relax and center itself. Zeleny is not a “tea expert” but he has written a well researched book that pulls together the history of tea, the consciousness of ritual and a lot of fun facts that allow the reader to connect with the pains and obsessions in our lives and, using the rituals of tea, clean out the physical and emotional trauma of our lives.

Come and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free. –
Emilie Barnes


I received realistic review. The copy I received is a review copy and contained several editing issues, but I am expecting the book will be absolutely beautiful once the final edition is printed out.

Giveaways for you!!

I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes!
Rafflecopter giveaways

I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes! Click the art to enter!
Giveaway #2 I am running another huge giveaway from May 1- 15. The Prizes are: $100 visa gift card, certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea Book, a canvas gallery wrapped print, Numi’s Organic Tea Blending Set and a Spa Bath Package. Click the art to enter!



Giveaway 3! This giveaway also runs from May 1-15. Prizes are: $25 visa giftcard, butterfly teacup gallon planter, Biscotti, lemonbar and brownie mix, a Ritual Tea book, two packages of Sancti Spiritus Tea, a vintage tea inspired canvas tote from Trader Joes, and a $60 gift certificate for a free class from Art Spellzall totalling $155! Click the art to enter!


About the Author

Mario Zeleny 3
Mr. Zeleny and pal! A cuddly dog and a cup of tea, What more do you need?

Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.

Connect & Socialize!


Review: The Unplugged Woodshop by Tom Fidgen

Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates fine craftsmanship, or anyone who would like to learn to create beautiful wooden pieces.

My mission in life is to preserve craftsmanship. – Waris Ahluwalia

I will no doubt sound outdated in the extreme when I say this – but I truly miss craftsmanship. In this day of plastics and throwaways, the feel of a truly well made table, the curve of a hard-carved chair arm or the beautiful lines of a bookcase is something I search for, and don’t often find. So, it was with great pleasure that I accepted when asked to review The Unplugged Woodshop by Tom Fidgen.

Mr. Fidgen is a true craftsman, and it shows in all of his work. This volume contains some of the most amazing works I have seen come out of “unplugged” shops – workshops that use solely hand tools that don’t require the modern day convenience of electricity! His works are amazing. There is a drafting table that looks as if it came straight from a Craftsman Era workshop that would be beautiful for any aspiring architect or artist. A gentleman’s valet would fit beautifully in any dressing room or bedroom, while an old-fashioned doctor’s medicine chest, complete with carry strap, makes a beautiful and highly unusual wine tote for visits to friend’s dinner parties.

Handcut dovetails in all of his drawer work is especially prominent in my favorite piece – an absolutely stunning library style card catalog. For those of you too young to remember, there was a time when we didn’t run to a computer to look up books. Instead, our fingers did the work in a different way, running across sometimes handwritten tags on the fronts of many drawers holding 3×5 cards, each neatly lettered with the titles and information about all the books in the library. I spent many happy hours in the library when I was in school, paging through the cards, enjoying the smells of old paper, and dreaming of the worlds to be found in books. Tom has repurposed the card catalog for use in the kitchen,setting the height to 43 ½ inches in order to be at a good working height. I envision it in another setting, in my quilting workroom where the drawers will hold spools of thread, small tools, and the myriad of other items I am constantly searching for as I work. Tom gives gorgeous examples of how you can utilize cheaper woods and yet still turn out gorgeous pieces by using veneers of highly prized woods to give your project a million dollar look on a budget. His zebrawood veneer on the card catalog is stunning, while blending walnut, quarter-sawn oak and cherry woods, along with veneers of more exotic woods can turn the simple architect’s table into a museum quality piece of art.

The photos in the books are absolutely stunning. Great care has been taken to not only show the beauty of the finished pieces, but to give beautifully illustrated photos of the projects as they are built. Any of the photos in the book are works of art in and of themselves.

Don’t have the proper tools for working wood? Tom even helps you there, as he gives patterns and instructions for making your own tools! He also gives tips and hints about how to handle your tools properly, how to us a handsaw properly for best results, properly using a plane (which he shows you how to build) and other methods of proper workmanship and hand tool safety.

If you are at all interested in the fine art and craft of woodworking, you could not go wrong with this beautiful book and the stunning projects within.

Highly recommended!

The Forgotten Women Heroes: Second World War Untold Stories – Non Fiction

Click to go to the goodreads page

About The Forgotten Women Heroes: Second World War Untold Stories – The Women Heroes in the Extraordinary World War Two:

These women have been footnotes in history and at least one of them was a model for women in James Bond books and movies. The women however have remained in the shadows of the stories of the Second World War. These women fade into history even though their actions were crucial in changing the outcome of the war.

Learn more about the author, buy the book, or follow them on social media:
Visit the Author’s Website.
Buy the Book On Amazon.


Author Bio:
These women have been footnotes in history and at least one of them was a model for women in James Bond books and movies. The women however have remained in the shadows of the stories of the Second World War. These women fade into history, even though their actions were crucial in changing the outcome of the war.


I haven’t read this book so can’t verify its excellence, but the idea of it interests me, and might interest you!

Please note: This information is provided by Awesome Gang at Purveyors of some of the best free or low cost books on the web!

Check out their site by clicking above, or here. I receive an email of suggestions every day, and so can you!


Review: Legend of an Iron Tower and Other Fables . . . by Natalia Dobzhanska

The road of life can only reveal itself as it is traveled; each turn in the road reveals a surprise. Man’s future is hidden.” Anonymous

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

legends dobzhanska
Click cover to order!

I don’t often wander the halls of poetry, tracing my fingers along the walls, breathing the scented air. And perhaps this is not poetry, not in the strictest sense. But to me, these words are poetry, touching my heart, my mind, my soul. A beautiful weaving of words, reaching inside you, touching those hidden places where love and grief and longing reside.

The nature of evil, of grief and loss, of exhaustion and despair. And yet, through all, a deep vein of goodness and light, of Heaven and Earth and all things between.

Natalia Dobzhanskas words speak to these times, to times of pain and times of love, an an overweening hope for redemption. Her words, filled with the horror and beauty and loss of her Ukranian homeland….. a land which, in 1657–1686 suffered “The Ruin” a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine. Where once again, as always, the people suffer the pain and death while those in power drink the blood and hopes and lives of the poor.

There are touchstones amongst these stories, words which caress the soul of each fable. For each, a line which touched me . . .

The Carrier
Oh, when will I be a carrier of Joy?”

Legend Of A Sea And A Cliff
To join her and fly to the heavens where the flaming star is twinkling to us, calling us. . .”

And it bloomed so beautifully, though it was a guest from the south, and it did not fear the frosts…”

A Wrapper
And, seeing that, the wrapper went drunk with still more pride . . .”
And she was grateful to the wind . . .”

Boots For The Refuse Collector
“. . . can trolls, someone may ask, can trolls really do good deeds?”

. . . that its dust flew to all ends of the Universe, together with the light stolen from Niall . . .”

A Hunchback
Oh, I am foolish, so foolish!” he reviled himself. “For the sake of illusory dream, I have wasted my life!”

The Gift
Can anybody fail to notice how special she is?”

Re-Lig… (Angel Incarnate)
The moment of the fall was long – but still, it was only an instant . . .”

Story Of A Little Girl And A Fairy-Tale Castle
. . . then it turned and dragged its way back pensively – to where a fairy tale lives and ends . . .”

The Man In Whom A Dragon Lived
The dragon entered his heart along with an evil intention.”

Legend Of A River And Desert Wind
The Wind whirled and gusted, spilling out all his bitterness against the ungrateful, ungracious humans . . .”

The Man Who Had No Face Of His Own
And he decided to go to a sage and ask him for advice about who he must look like now.”

Ballad Of A Sad Princess
And the sunrays broke her still wet tears into a rainbow, and the rainbow struck her in the eyes. . . “

 Poem Of A Cloud And The Sun
And the Cloud wept for the sprouts, and the sun let her go – “

 Legend Of An Iron Tower
Grief is always grief. Sorrow is not joy . . .”

. . . the course of time will never cease, there will be no turning back to the past, will never be . . .”

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