Idyll Musings

The daily adventures of a bookselling family.

Idyll (n) - a short prose piece depicting a rural or pastoral scene in idealized terms; a carefree episode or experience; a romantic interlude; a scene or event of a simple and tranquil nature.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Purpose Driven Life

It is times like this, when we are under spiritual attack, that I like to myself with the comforting words of some of the best Christian writers out there. I did the Purpose Driven Life workshop many years ago and find myself falling back on its teachings.

Most of you know the trials and tribulations that we have gone through since we began our new life here in Arizona. What should have been a time of enjoyment, adventure, peace and security, literally turned into a nightmare. We sit back and wonder why we came all the way out here to live in the situation that we have lived in. We thought that it was to make our family stronger. Well, it certainly did that. We are a very strong and secure family. We thought that maybe our purpose was to teach those around us the errors of their ways and to help them develop a walk with the Lord. We aren't sure how well that one worked out. Mark and I usually try and surround ourselves with others that have the same beliefs, ethics and morals as us. We don't turn away people's friendship if they don't have the same beliefs that we have, but we also don't set out to find people who live below the law. It used to be that you could take someone who said that they were a Christian at face value. Now, it kind of makes you want them to show proof that they go to church or read the Bible!! Whatever happened to human kindness and generosity? Whatever happened to the moral fiber of our society? We have been challenged and attacked from so many sides since August that we were starting to feel spiritually depleted. We talked to our pastor about what we were going through and he really helped to shed some light on the situation. He told us that people who are unhappy with themselves or their living situation will attack those who have what they want. You would think that if you weren't happy with who you were or who you were with that you would embrace those around you that could possibly help you. Our pastor also told us that people who are hurting, hurt others and sometimes don't realize they are doing it. But in most cases they do. It's that old saying, "Misery likes company". Mark and I have st rived very hard to have a marriage based on faith, trust, honesty, respect and love. This is something that we will not compromise. We aren't going to lie, cheat, steal, attack or harass others because that is what is being done to us. We don't stand in a place of judgement against anyone. We merely want to live our lives in peace and not have to constantly be looking over our shoulder. But the lack of human decency really gets me. I had a really bad fall in the house back in October. I am still waiting to find out if I need surgery or if the physical therapy is going to help. You would have thought that the PO (property owner) would have shown some kind of concern for what occurred on her property. Nope, not a word. No concern, no compassion, zilch. Should I be surprised? Well, I kind of was but had to be reminded of what kind of people we are dealing with. Am I saying that they are bad people? No. Just very misguided. We honestly thought while we were moving out here that they were going to be really good friends for us. The PO even wanted to take my daughter under her wing and treat her like a little sister. I'm very fortunate that this wasn't allowed to happen. It would have been nice to foster a friendship with these people, even though they live a lifestyle that is a complete opposite of ours. Still, it would have been nice. I don't see that happening anytime soon, but God does work in mysterious ways. Is it wrong to just want to be left alone and allowed to live our lives? Apparently so, but we are doing it anyway. The sellers of the new house are such wonderful people. We felt kind of gun shy after the experience that we have been through, but we were treated so well!!! We found the house completely by accident. It's almost as if God put that house right in the middle of other houses we were looking at and said "This is the house I have provided for you". We look forward to sitting in front of our fireplace and drinking a cup of eggnog or hot cocoa (since Andrea can't and doesn't drink alcohol). It is so nice to not have the wind whistling through 2 inch cracks around the door frames or around the windows. It has been really cold here the past week and my babies have had to pile the blankets on top of their beds because of the cold air coming in through the cracks and crevices. And the PO flat out refused to put on the weather stripping!! Again, no compassion. Be mad at us, but don't take it out on my children. My children are innocent in all of this. All they did was bust their little bottoms to help finish the work on the house. They wanted a home and we tried to provide that for them. They are so excited about the new house though. The neighbors have even come over and met us and we haven't even officially moved in yet!! We are so anxious and excited about getting to know the new people. The neighbors that we have had here are great. We've spent many nights either over at their house or them over here, just sitting back and talking and laughing. We know that we will miss them when we are gone!! But we also know that they were brought into our lives for a reason and this is a friendship that we want to continue to foster and watch grow.

God brings us people into our lives for a reason. Sometimes that reason is clear. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out. Sometimes we never do. But whatever the reason, we need to give Him thanks. I know this sounds weird, but it is true. God doesn't make mistakes. God doesn't make errors in judgement. Every person that you encounter, every single day, is there for a reason. That meeting may be fleeting, or it may turn into a life long friendship. But there is a purpose behind everything. I thank God everyday for the people that he has put in my path. I pray that I can be of some support, comfort or friendship. If I can't, then it isn't from lack of trying. I don't pretend to be anything I'm not. I'm just me.

In the meantime, after we are settled in to our new house, after the holidays and after Mark finishes tax season, we are putting most of our effort into our non profit. Since I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2006, I have helped to write legislation to get more funding for research for my disease. My non profit in California did really well and I know that out here it can really take off. I've already met a few people that have Sarcoidosis. I sit back and wonder why God would give me this disease, but again, I know my life has a purpose. I know that I can reach out and comfort and educate others. We will keep you posted as to when our non profit is up and running. I've already got our first fundraiser planned, again with help from a very unlikely source. Something else to be thankful for. If the situation here wasn't what it is I never would have met this wonderful man. Believe me, you haven't heard the last of us!!!

Oh, and we've acquired a few "intriguing" books that Mark is dying to list. So we will also be getting our book business back off the ground as well. We just haven't had the time or energy with everything else going on to devote to our book business like we had wanted. But that doesn't stop us from looking through the stacks whenever we pass a thrift store or a book sale!!! More to come from the Timmons clan.........

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New author discovery!!

Andrea has found a new author that she absolutely loves!! Since her accident in the house on 10/15 she's had a lot of time to read and she began reading an author named Richard Paul Evans. He has written quite a few books, some set in Italy, where he resides part time. The latest book Andrea read was "The Perfect Day" and it's about a man who loses his job and decides to finish the novel that he's been writing for the past 4 years. He based it on his wife's relationship with her father and the final months of his father-in-laws life. Needless to say, he sells the manuscript, becomes a New York Times best selling author, and kind of forgets his promise to never leave his wife. In fact, he promises this to his father-in-law on his deathbed!! Well Rob, the main character, starts getting this visits for who he believes is an angel and is told that he has until New Years Day to get his life in order. Basically, he believes that he is dying and has to make amends in his life. The book has a really good twist, so I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might want to read it. Let's just say that I wish some people would get hit with the same attack of consciousness that Rob got hit with!!!

On a non-literary note, the Timmons family is moving!! The exact date is still up in the air but we have found an absolutely beautiful house to buy and we jumped on it!!! We wish we had found this house from the beginning. Then we wouldn't have had to go through what we have been going through with the house we are in now. This house is everything we could have ever DREAMED possible. Thank you for all your prayers and your messages of support. We could not have gotten through this horrific ordeal without you all. Keep checking back for pictures of the new house!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Old Post Road

We have acquired a 1st edition, third printing (1962) of this book by Stewart H. Holbrook, edited by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. The book is part of the American Trails Series, and is the story of the Boston Post Road.

From the dust jacket cover:

"A superb exploration of the most famous of all post roads, its exciting and colorful history - from the first rider in 1673 to the present day - told in a fascinating excursion into Americana."

The book is in excellent condition, and the dust jacket has only slight wear and a few small tears to the edges of the dust jacket.

I found the following biographical ionformation on Wikipedia.

Alfred Bertram Guthrie, Jr. (January 13, 1901 – April 26, 1991) was an American novelist, historian, and literary historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1950 for his The Way West.

Stewart Hall Holbrook (1893 - 1964) was an American lumberjack, writer, and popular historian. His writings focused on what he called the "Far Corner": Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. A self-proclaimed "low-brow" historian, his topics included Ethan Allen, the railroads, the timber industry, the Wobblies, and eccentrics of the Pacific Northwest.
He wrote for The Oregonian for over thirty years, and authored dozens of books. He also produced a number of paintings under the pseudonym of "Mr. Otis."

We are offering this book for sale for $18. oo. No website yet, so conatct us if you are interested.


Mystery Book

I'm counting on the knowledge and expereince of fellow bibliophiles for help with this one. I have a book titled The Charm of Venice, an Anthology. It was compiled by Alfred H. Hyatt, with illustrations by Harald Sund. The publisher is the Musson Book Company, Toronto. There is no copyright date. The book has green covers with gold lettering.

The mystery is that I cannot find this edition of this book in my usual lookup sites. It's not on addall, Alibris, Amazon....and I also can't find much information on the publisher. I do know that the publisher existed in the late 1800s.

Can anyone shed some light on this title, the publisher, and when it might have been published?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yesterday's Finds

Andrea and I went bookhunting yesterday, and we picked up a couple of nice finds. Not antiquarian mind you, but the prices were oh-so-right!

Emily Bronte, Her Life and Work, a biography by Muriel Stark and Derek Stanford. This is the First American Edition, published in 1966 by Coward-McAnn, Inc., New York. The book is in near-fine condition, and the dust jacket shows a little wear.

The second book we found is somewhat ironic, given the fact that we recently moved to Arizona from Salem, Massachusetts. The book is titled The Peabody Sisters of Salem, and it was written by Louise Hall Tharp. This edition was published in 1950 by Little, Brown and Company, and is dedictaed to the "Hawthorne descendants."There is no dust jacket, and the purple cover shows slight fading. Inside the front cover, and again on the title page, evidence that a bookplate was removed, but it was done without tearing the pages. Other than that, this book is also in great condition.


Monday, October 13, 2008

My Dream Library!!!

I have seen this circulating on various blogs for the last couple of days. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here!

This is the library of Jay Walker, the Internet Entrepreneur who created, among other things,

The library is over 3000 square feet!

This is exactly how I want my library to look. How about you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Spread the Alarm, To Every Middlesex, Village and Farm"

This, of course, is borrowed from Longfellow's Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, written April 19, 1860 and first published in 1863 as part of "Tales of a Wayside Inn."

We need this blog to circulate. Ideally, we need it to reach as many people with connections to Prescott Valley as possible. You may not know anyone in Prescott Valley personally, but who knows who your friends and relatives know? We need this to circulate because we need help. Read this blog for the month of September and you'll see the nightmare we are in. Andrea, the kids and I just want a place to call home, a place to MAKE our home. It is my hope that someone will read this and be able to help us find "our home." We thought we had found it when we moved out here, we honestly did. We were basically scammed from the beginning.

What we want is what we thought we moved out here for: 4 bedrooms, an extra room for an office, a little bit of land to play on and to garden; a quiet, safe neighborhood. Even an old farmhouse with the right amount of space we could consider. We have solid, reliable income, but shaky credit related to actions and events in previous marriages for both of us. We would like to keep payments at or about $1200 - $1300. And we want a lease with an option to buy situation, with a property owner willing to work with us.

So please, spread the your relatives, friends, coworkers, business associates.


"Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"

Many people are familliar with this quote; many people attribute it to Mark Twain. Though Twain did popularize it, he himself credits Benjamin Disraeli, author, British conservative statesman and the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. The remark refers to the power of numbers, and how they can be used to make a weak arguement seem stronger. Twain's use of the phrase was in "Chapters From My Autobiography," published in the North American Review in 1907. He wrote,

"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

I had this quote in mind as I sat in the mediation room yesterday and had to, once again, listen to the Property Owner (P.O.) lie, twist the facts, make up numbers, take things out of context, and paint herself as the poor victim in our housing dispute. Lies about what was agreed upon, what she knew before we moved out here....and the evidence of her lies was sitting in a pile of emails right in front of the mediators!!! And did they once go to look anything up for verification? NO!!

For example, P.O. says that she didn't know we had pets until we arrived. Here is a copy of the original post we made on Craigslist, back on May 20:

"Relocating from Massachusetts to Prescott, AZ
We are a family of 6 who is relocating to Arizona this summer due to job transfer. We are looking for a 4-5 bedroom house, or a 4 bedroom with a den that can be used as an office, that is close to Prescott High School and Granite Mountain Middle School. We have 3 pets: 2 short haired cats, and a 2 year old Chihuahua. We are hoping to find something that is a lease with an option to buy. Something with a fenced backyard would be nice. We are a quiet family and can provide excellent references. "

She responded to OUR post with this email on June 3:

"my husband and i have a house that is almost finished being remodled. it has 4 bedrooms total the lay out you could use on of manny places for an office. in the master sweet upstairs there is a living room and a loft. the house has a block wall around it the house sits on a quarter acre. the property has grass and very lots of fulley mature trees. the fourth bedroom is actually a in law quarter with its own bathroom bedroom kitchen and living room, also has its own laundry hook up. there is no garage but there is plenty of room for parking even enough room for an RV and your vehicles. if you would like pics e-mail or call xxxxxxxxx at xxx xxx-xxxx we would allow pets the house has a dog door. "

SHE KNEW WE HAD PETS!!!! And that is just one example of her lies, damned lies and statistics.

As you can see, I'm, angry. I'm damn angry. I vascillate mainly between angry and depressed, but right now I'm angry. I'm angry at the P.O. I'm angry at the court. I'm angry at the mediators, both of whom I got into heated exchanges with. They told my attorney I was being extremely volatile. Well you know what? Try walking in my shoes for the 3100 miles we drove to get out here, try walking in my shoes for the last three months, and le's see how volatile YOU get! What really peeved me was when one of the mediators told us we "wanted our cake and to eat it too," in response to the negotiations. He was claiming that we weren't willing to "give" anything in the negotiations. Oh, really? Let's see.... we moved out here with an agreement that we would rent for one year, then consider exercising our option to buy the property. At the time Mr. Mediator #1 made his enflaming statement, we had conceded to drop the purchase option, we agreed to pay a utility bill that included their use of the utilities during construction work on the house, and offered to move out at the end of January. Are we really celebrating with the proverbial cake? I don't think so!

P.O. wants us out by the end of October. We wanted to be able to get through the holidays and move out at the end of January. P.O. wouldn't agree. So after a break and discussion with our attorney, we came back and offerred to 'split the difference.' We'll move at the end of November. She won't agree to this unless we are more flexible as to her having the work completed on the house. We agred to come back on Friday for one final attempt to come to an agreement. If no agreement on Friday, it's back to court we go (Hi Ho, Hi Ho).

Why can't people be honest, and live up to agreements?


Monday, September 22, 2008

Mediation....and Meditation

We made it through the court appearance last Monday. After hearing the property owmer speak (lie) her piece, the judge glanced over the evidence and suggested that, before we proceed any further, we attempt to resolve the issues through mediation. He also said that, if mediation fails, that this case will have to be referred to Superior Court, because he lacks jurisdiction, due to their being a purchase option in place. So, this is where we are at. Today we head back to the courthouse to attempt mediation.

Listening to the multiple times the property owner (P.A.) perjured herself durning her testimony was the final straw, the deciding factor; we know we will not be able to work with these people going forward. The web of deceit that they weave, the constant attempts to manipulate, initimdate and use us for their own gain, all of this behavior proves to us these are not people we want to be associated with in any form, especially linked in a contract situation.

This realization is hard to swallow. This house 'felt' like home to us. During our preparations for the long trip out here, we honestly felt that God was leading us to this house. Now, we feel lost. We poured so much into making this 'our home;' so much sweat, tears, and, yes, a little bit of blood too. We took pride in knowing we could walk into ANY room of the house and point to something that we personally helped with: whather it was the paint on the walls, the placement of the cabinets, the cutting the granite countertops, we put our stamp on this house. Only when it was too late did we fully realize the depth of the P.A.'s decitful and uncaring heart and soul.

Sure, we could"win" in mediation today, or we could "win" in Superior Court, but do we really? We still have to find another place to live, we still have to reassure our upset and troubled children (who have already battled through so much adversity and sadness in their life before we moved). We still have to find a way to lift ourselves, dust ourselves off and start all over again. So even if the court says we are right, we really don't "win."

It would still mean so much to hear from anyone out there who happens to come across my blog. It continues to be a very lonely ride for us right now.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Latest Chapter in the Housing Saga

Just to give you an update…we were served with court papers today. We go to court on 9/16, and if we lose, we will have 48 hrs to vacate. If we aren’t packed up, they can have us forcibly removed and all our belongings held in storage by the landlord.
We found an attorney, and are meeting tomorrow, but we are still without the necessary retainer fee. We make too much money for legal aid. I have asked family for help.
Andrea and I are very depressed. This on top of just coming home from the hospital where Andrea’s latest round of tests were not good at all.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relocation Update

I wish I could say that "many of the readers out there," but I know our readership numbers are pretty darn low; that's ok. I know that the more I post, the more I will be read. So instead, let me start by saying," Those of you who noticed my blog this spring," and may have wondered where we went, the answer is Prescott Valley, AZ. Yes, we survived the eight day road trip with two adults, 4 kids, two cats and a dog and are now trying to settle in. I hope to get back to book related posts in the future. But for now I have something personally more urgent I want to write about. We are just going through an incredibly stressful and nightmarish time right now with the house that we are living in.
This past spring, we posted an ad on craigslist, advertising who we were and what we were looking for in a house. On June 3, we were contacted by the people that own the house we are now in. They told us on 6/3 that they had a house that was “nearly completely remodeled” and they wanted to rent it to us. Many emails and conversations later, we had an agreement for renting for a year with an option to buy after that. We stayed in constant contact with them, they would contact us and tell us they were going to pick up tile for the floor and ask us what color we wanted; they would ask our preferences on appliances; they kept telling us they wanted as much of our input as possible, that they wanted us to feel like this was “our home.” They even talked about being Christians, and how it feels that God brought us together, etc. etc.
We left Massachusetts on July 21. They told us the house would be ready when we got there, that all we would have to do is unpack. We spoke with them several times during our drive, and again they assured us everything would be ready. Our last day of driving we really pushed ourselves, despite Andrea being sick, because we were so close, and we “just wanted to get to our new home.”
When we finally got here – we were heartbroken. The house wasn’t close to being done. Most of the walls were still down to drywall. There was no kitchen. There were only two working electrical circuits. There were no cabinets. Out of the three bathrooms, not one was fully functional. None of the bedrooms were completed. The a/c units weren’t even installed. We had to go out and buy a grill just so we could cook meals. Andrea was in tears, and I wasn’t too far from them myself. We had a decision to make, so we called a family meeting. We explained to the kids how we felt, including how misled we were, and said we could do one of two things: leave, find a motel for the night, and contact realtors the next morning and see what else we could find quick; or we could roll up our sleeves, work with the homeowners and get this house finished. Everyone chose to work at this house. Knowing the satisfaction we would have down the road, when we owned the house to know that we put sweat equity into making this our home, that we actually helped to rebuild this house. And that’s what we did. We mudded drywall, we hammered in bullnose, we cut and installed granite countertops, we hung cabinets, we painted, we cleaned, all six of us.
Around August 18 – 20, we were finally able to start unpacking. During all this time, the homeowners kept telling us they couldn’t charge us any rent because the house wasn’t ready for us.

On August 29, the homeowner showed up at the house with a written lease agreement that she wanted us to sign. She also now wanted a check for the month of August, and would be back the following week for a check for the month of September! She was irate that we wanted to actually read the agreement first, and after reading it we know why: EVERYTHING HAD CHANGED! Every agreement that we had in place before we drove 3100 miles was different. Instead of a year lease, now it was month-to-month. Instead of $1600 a month for six months and $1800 a month for the next six months, it was $1600 until October 1, then $2075 a month after that! She was insisting on being able to come into the house every month and inspect the property. She said she was going to put the house on the market in October, and we had to have our financing in place by then if we wanted to buy it (the original agreement had us renting for a year, and if we liked the house and the area, we could purchase from her, and that she would hold the note until we qualified for bank financing.).
When we refused to sign this lease, insisting instead that we had an agreement in place already, she told us that her financial situation has changed, and that this is her house and if we didn’t like it we could pack up and leave! We told her we needed time to review the contract. Over the weekend, we informed her that we rejected her proposed lease, and that we felt a lease was already in place (AZ law recognizes verbal contracts as an acceptable form of lease). So then we receive a notice to pay or quit from her, which is even different than the bogus lease she brought over to the house!!

Things have just gotten worse from there. We had property in the front yard knocked over while we were out, she called the police and filed a bogus harassment report against us, she’s threatening to take us to court…. We have done some investigating too, and what we found is scary: the homeowner and her husband have both criminal and civil records; both have violent pasts, and the husband served time in jail for premeditated attempted murder. He came up behind someone one night and bashed him in the head twice with a sledge hammer, because a couple of weeks prior, the victim embarrassed and made this guy look bad in front of friends at a party. More investigations at City Hall and we find that the house has not even passed final inspection. We called the building inspector out and he came up with a list three pages long of violations, including any that are “life safety concerns.” The house has not been issued a Certificate of Occupancy, and the town tells us that, by law, they should not be renting it out to anyone. Yet they contacted us on June 3 and said they had a “nearly completely remodeled” house!
I could go on and on with more details, but this is enough to give you an idea of what we are going through. We contacted attorneys who are more than willing to fight this, but $225 an hour and a $3000 retainer is out of our league. We spent nearly $5000 to get out here, we don’t have money for an attorney. The stress has affected our health, especially Andrea who suffers from multisystem sarcoidosis, the same disease that Bernie Mac had.
People have asked us why we just don’t move. It’s not that easy. One, we feel we have a lease in place already, so if we move we kind of acknowledge that no agreement existed. Two, the move out here took so much out of us: financially, emotionally, mentally. We just don’t have the energy to move again; three, the disruption it would cause the kids, who after starting school late because of this mess are finally settling into a routine. And four, the fact is, we like this house and want to stay here. It’s those people we don’t like.
So we don’t know what we are going do. We are scared, tired and just want some peace. We didn’t move out here for this. They said all the right things on the phone and in emails before we came out here. They even told us they were a Christian family too, and that “God brought us together.” A bunch of B.S. was all that was. We are Christians, and yes, we feel God wants us to be in this house. But all they did was ‘talk the talk’ to get us out here, get us trapped with nowhere to go, and then they thought they could scam and swindle us.
We don’t know what to do. We don’t know anyone out here, we don’t have family in AZ, we have no one. We contacted a local church, and they continue to pray for us, but I just wish people would come to our defense and rally around us. I even tried contacting a local newspaper and a local tv station, but neither were interested in getting involved.
We miss our book business, and wish that we could get it up and running again, but life is on such a state of upheaval right now…..
We are doing all we can to stay positive, and strong, and we are doing what we can to stand up for our rights, but it’s so hard when you feel so isolated, and so alone in the struggle.

I know we don't have a lot of people reading our blog, but for those who do, we would love to hear from you. It would mean a lot to us if you would drop us an email, or a comment, and if you had any advice or suggestions, it would help us not feel so alone. Thanks.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Bibliophile

I just read a great article in the Wall Street Journal. It's an autobiographical piece by Luc Sante, an author teacher and book collector. You can read the article here. While reading it, I couldn't help but think how much I could relate with Mr. Sante. Bibliophiles are all alike. Our interests may vary, the size of our collections may vary, but the emotion, passion, and yes, obsession is the same in all of us.
I hope everyone enjoys the article!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Go West Young Man

Go west, young man

A favorite saying of the nineteenth-century journalist Horace Greeley, referring to opportunities on the frontier. Another writer, John Soule, apparently originated it. It is said to have been spoken in 1851, but the meaning still holds true today, for the Timmons family and Literary Idylls (including Idyll Musings). Sometime this July, we will be packing up and moving to beautiful Prescott, Arizona!!! We will be starting a new chapter in our lives, with many adventures I'm sure!
This past weekend we had the first of our liquidating booksales, and it was a huge success. We were able to slash our inventory from about 45 boxes of books down to about 20. The online bookstore will be down until we relocate and rebuild our inventory. Until then, our blog posts will be sporadic, as we have so much to do in preparation of the big move.
My 9 to 5 job has been locked in, now we can concentrate on housing. If any blog readers out there know where we can get a nice piece of property to rent/rent with an option in Prescott, please let us know!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Checking in

For all of you who read our blog, and we sincerely thank you, we just wanted to check in really quick and let you all know that we are indeed alive and well. Things have been kind of hectic around here with having 4 kids, 3 cats and 1 very active and protective Chihuahua!!! Just to kind of recap the last few weeks: we got married 3/14 and honeymooned in Newbury Port, MA. We spent our wedding night at a quaint little hotel/spa in Rowley, MA that had THE biggest bathtub we have ever seen!!! No kidding, it took over 20 minutes to fill. We were hit with some unexpected weather that night and woke up the next morning to some snow and later rain. So we weren't able to explore Newbury Port as much as we would have liked because it was just freezing cold. The kids are out of school next week and we want to take them there and also explore places that we didn't get to see before. Drea has been having some difficulties getting adjusted to the new pain meds that she was put on in March and when she goes to pain management again at the end of this month, we are going to have to explore some other options. The company that Mark works for had a huge merger with another large company and they are now the 22ND most powerful company in the WORLD!!! It would be nice if he got a pay raise to reflect that!!!! We are experiencing some nice spring type weather here, but Mark says for me not to get too used to it right now because colder days are on the horizon!!!! :( This California girl is ready for some nice warm sunshine!! All the kids are doing great and getting a bit of spring fever. Drea better find some things for them to do next week with them out of school or they will drive here crazy!!

We are going to be planning a few Book Only Sales to try and liquidate our inventory before we move out West. We will make sure to post when they will be here and also on Craigslist. But first we have to go through what we have and decide what we really want to hold onto for our book store and what we can get rid of!!! We haven't bought any new inventory in quite a while and Drea is really missing Got Books. That shop is THE best place to find stuff and all the books are a buck each!! No kidding.

Drea has discovered two new authors, Maeve Bincy and Francine Rivers. Her mom recommended them and these authors are great. If you want so nice, wholesome, inspirational reading with out a lot of smut and bad language, I highly recommend these authors to you.

I am sure that Mark will be posting at a later date. Again, thanks for reading and hope all is well with you all.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

How I Got Started, Where I Want to Go

First of all, a well earned plug - if you haven't read Chris Lowenstein's blog, the Book Hunter's Holiday, you have no idea what you have been missing!! Fortunately, due to the wonders of technology, you can read that blog's archives and get up to speed!! The Book Hunter's Holiday is one of my three or four favorite bookseller blogs. Chris writes in a clear and entertaining way about her adventures (the best of times, the worst of times, and everything in between!) as a bookseller. Check it out!

Now, how I got started into the world of books. I have always been a voracious reader. From grade school until now, my favorite subjects have always been English and Literature. When I was about 11 or 12, I was bitten by the collecting bug. I collected baseball cards, I collected postage stamps, I collected rocks, I collected newspaper clippings of my beloved Boston Celtics....I just loved collecting (Today, they refer to this as my pack-rat tendencies, but I have been much better in recent years.). One day, my father presented me with a gift of "some old books" that were left over from an estate he helped settle (he was a bank Trust Officer). The prize of these books was a three volume set of the Works of Shakespeare (more on those in a future post). To my young eyes, they were beautiful! I was hooked - that's all it took. Without any proper knowledge of the book trade, and having no idea what an antiquarian book was, I started to collect any book that "looked" beautiful.
Over the years I have sold and donated and acquired books informally, and gave a lot away when I moved out of my parent's home. But all of those original books from Dad remain with me today. More recently in my life, I was bitten by another bug - the entrepreneurial bug. Wanting to self employed, and still having a love of books, I have taken a new path in my life. Together with my VERY-soon-to-be-wife Andrea (March 14!!!), and our children, our family business has begun. For now, Literary Musings is operating without a specific focus, just trying to sell whatever we can acquire (new, old, children's books, non-fiction, fiction....) but as we gain more experience and perspective our business plan will evolve as well. I would like to see more antiquarian books in our inventory, but this will take time and patience. Once we have moved out West, I would like to attend the Rare Book School that is offerred in Colorado every year. I would like to eventually have a brick-and-mortar store as well.
I would love to hear from other readers how they got started in their love of books - whether you are a bookdealer, a book collector, or a reader.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Getting married!!

Thought I would just share with you all that Mark and I are getting married on March 14th!! We are having just a small ceremony right now with something bigger in the next few months!! It has taken so long for these stupid divorces to be final that we just want to be married now!! So look for more news about our upcoming event as well as pictures!!! We really should write a book about our relationship and the crazy dips and turns it has taken for us to get to where we are now. We are so in love and look forward to a long and happy life with each other and with our kids!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Andrea's obsession with James Patterson

I am a HUGE James Patterson fan and am absolutely DYING to read his new book, 7th Heaven. I am on the waiting list at the library for it right now and it is taking so long!!!! I am proud to say that I turned Mark into a fan as well (although I am the bigger fan) and it is nice that we are able to share a mutual author. Until recently, I had never seen any of the movies that were made from his books and now that I have I hear the voice of Morgan Freeman every time I read a book with Alex Cross in it!!!

Mark is so well read and will read just about anything. I stick mostly to the best sellers and the tried and true authors that I have been reading for years. My mom was actually the one that got me started on James Patterson and also Debbie Macomber. I started her on Nora Roberts and also Karen Robards. Although Nora Roberts can tend to be a bit too sexy for mom's liking. I don't like books written by JD Robb though. I know that they are really written by Roberts but I just don't like the style. I have also been a VC Andrews fan since I was in the junior high and actually used to work with the niece of the ghost writer that writes for her now. I have to say that the Andrews books have taken on quite a few twists and turns that are very unlike her original writings. But hey, if her family approves, who am I to say anything.

I was a pretty nice day here in Mass. Of course family and friends out west had to rub in how nice and warm it has been there lately!!!This is my first year of living in the snow and with any luck, it will be my last!! I have tried really hard to be a good New England wife but I am just not cut out for the snow, slush, rain, ice, etc!! Give me sunshine, glorious sunshine!!!

Off to pain management in the morning. That should be fun. Not really impressed with the healthcare out here in the Boston area but I also was extremely spoiled by the medical providers in California. It is just so hard to retrain new doctors.

Well I'm off to get the little ones ready to settle in for the night. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 29, 2008

On a Technical Note....

Just in case you don't know, I am brand new to blogging. So, especially in the early stages, expect to see changes and glitches from time to time. I am going to apologize for any future glitches now.

While I'm on this subject, does anybody out there have experience with working out the bugs in blogs? Actually, the problem is in my home computer. The blog looks like it should on every computer but my own. On my home p.c., I can't add page elements, I can't rearrange page elements, I can't see my adsense ads, I can't upload a picture to my profile, I can't add items to any list I currently have on the blog.... it's been frustrating spending as much time as I have on it and not being able to fix this.

My computer runs on Win 2000, with IE 6. I have plenty of RAM, and to the best of my knowledge Java is enabled, and I have emptied the cache on several occassions. I have tried turning off every combination of my popup blocker, virus program, and Zone Labs. NOTHING has made a difference! I will probably be upgrading to either Win XP or Vista, and IE 7 in the near future, but I need to get this problem fixed now!! PLEASE, can someone help?

Coming Soon: Some examples of our books, (with pictures I hope!), two books that have us stumped, how I got started with this obsession called being a bibliophile........


Monday, February 25, 2008

Whimsical and Significant

Can whimsical artwork ever be considered significant? Dr. Seuss would say yes. Robert McCloskey, Eric Carle, H.A. Rey, Leo Lionni and other noted children's book authors and illustrators would too. But for the longest time, most art collectors would laugh at the idea of The Cat In the Hat being called a work of art. Times are changing. Popular opinion is beginning to understand what children's book collectors have known all along: children's book art IS art. This AP article from Saturday is an eye-opening read.

In addition to the 2-dimensional children's picture book, let's not forget about the favorite of favorites, from a child's eye: the 3-dimensional pop-up books!! These books helped our beloved characters burst from the pages in their full color glory! Dinosaurs! Pirates! Firetrucks! Books made even more appealing, because you didn't just read them, you played with them! Ahh, the good old days!

Finding pop-up books with popups intact is the challenge for booksellers.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Andrea's musings

Well, it's another COLD and snowy day here in Salem, MA. To most New Englanders, this is no big deal. But I however am NOT most New Englanders!! I am a California transplant who is used to warmth and sunshine!! I moved out here in October after living my entire life in the desert communities of Southern California. So I have a tendency to freak out when it starts to snow because this is not a condition that am I used to driving in!! And since I have still have California plates on my minivan (along with Tinkerbell stickers which is another story)I tend to get harassed quite a bit. Like drivers in Massachusetts are better than California drivers. NOT!! I didn't know that by moving out here that I was technically going to need a race car drivers license along with my motor vehicle license!! What is the deal with these Rotaries? And not driving in the right lane because it's for passing? Oh and my personal favorite....let's pull out in the middle of the road so that we can get across it therefore causing gridlock, honking horns and very unkind hand gestures!!!!

But aside from the cold (I don't think I've been warm since I moved here) and the rain, and the snow, Massachusetts is a nice place to live. I can't wait for the springtime so that we can go out to the marinas, maybe take a boat ride and see the museums and different points of interest that close in the winter time.

I have a particularly hard time with the cold due to the medical condition I have called Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is an auto-immune disorder that attacks various organs in the body. We don't know what causes it so there is really no cure for it. Leave it to me to end up with some weird illness!!!! I always was a hyperchondriac as a child but I really don't think I deserve this as payback for all those times I faked sick to get out of school!!! I have sarc in my lungs, stomach, lymph nodes, joints, and skin and I also have heart involvement and suspected brain involvement. I take lots of pain meds that don't work so now get to retrain the pain management people on what is best for ME!! So as part of my blog postings, you all will get to read my ramblings, rants and raves about being sick and the state of health care in the united states!!!

Hope you all stay warm and dry. I think I'm going to go make some hot tea!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Idyll (n) - a short prose piece depicting a rural or pastoral scene in idealized terms; a carefree episode or experience; a romantic interlude; a scene or event of a simple and tranquil nature.

Hello. We are an online bookselling family living in Salem, MA (home of Hawthorne and witches), but preparing for a cross-country move in the near future. Our business, Literary Idylls, will soon have a website where readers can peruse the shelves of our eclectic inventory. Our name is a nod to Tennyson's Idyll's of the King, and in a sense is a nod toward one of our sons, who, at age 11, is a huge fan of the stories of King Arthur. He is also a very talented writer!

Since this is a family enterprise, let me introduce you to the rest of mine: My name is Mark. My wife, Andrea, and I have three sons and one daughter. Our sons are ages 17, 11 and 8; our daughter is 13. We all love to read, though our interests vary. I have been interested in collecting and selling books for as long as I can remember. I am a tax accountant by day, which means you'll get tax advice from time to time on this blog (if you need a good tax accountant, I'm available for hire!).

What else will you see on this blog? Posts about books, posts about the business in general, about our business in particular, posts of idyll musings and idyll reflections on our life and family, posts about our upcoming move...

Welcome aboard, we're glad you're here, and we hope you enjoy the ride!