In the month of January....a 'recharge' and a reading list

Lavender, books and a view from Mr. H's 'Master and Commander' window.

Happy New Year!

I hope your year is off to a roaring start or a gentle one...whichever suits you best. I ended the year with a wonderful big family roar and now that everyone has flown the coop, am easing into a gentle start.

Someone asked me the other day when I would be flying the coop and I had to pause...wondering if I was lost in the post delirium of the holiday rush and was suppose to be packing for a trip I had forgotten about. It has been known to happen. It then dawned on me....I am not going anywhere. I will be at Tahilla Farm for the winter, most of spring, most of summer and a good part of autumn. I will travel in and out to Hong Kong and Australia but am happy to call Tahilla Farm 'home' this year.

They say that January is a good month to 'recharge' your batteries. I like the sound of that and plan to embrace it. I am 'nesting' around the house, taking over the whole lot, much to the chagrin of my youngest son, Connor. There are rooms to be sorted, cupboards to be cleaned and and a basement that is looking more like a disaster zone than my usual organized chaos. Each time I fly off from Tahilla Farm, I have a habit of leaving a list of things to do when I return. Each time I return, I bury the list, thinking that I really need to tame my 'Inner Virgo'. ;)

No excuses this month for this Virgo...I am not running off anywhere. There is also a little matter of rebuilding our barn/carriage house this year, which in fact will be a big project. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all proceeds as planned. The pricing is due in shortly and I am hoping my creative inner Virgo did not run amuck with design ideas and that Mr. H and his windows did not blow the budget. We shall see...

I Spy a Studio in a Barn

In the meantime, I have plenty of reading to do and at the rate I am going with my 'nesting', I should be able to use each of the rooms in our house this month. Two dear friends who love to read and always offer wonderful book suggestions passed along a few ideas.  I am putting the list to good use and sharing it with you in the hopes that one or two may spark your interest and that you might also share your favorites.

You can write to me:

The hardest thing for me to do right now is to decide which format to enjoy the book in. I recently signed up for Audible and now have three options for reading, the good old fashioned hard copy, my Kindle and Audible. I really need to work on that 'Inner Virgo'. ;)


Highly Recommended!

by Trevor Noah

by Fredrik Backman

by Shanthi Sekaran

by Celeste Ng

by Marie Benedict

by Abby Fabiaschi

by Lisa Wingate

by Bill Browder

by Vicki Constantine Croke

by Yaa Gyasi

by Gail Honeyman

by Claire Fuller

With that I leave you 
with a few words 
to stir the soul.

"You are the books you read, 
the movies you watch, 
the music you listen to, 
the people you spend time with, 
the conversations you engage in. 
You are what you take from these. 
You are the sound of the ocean, 
the breath of fresh air, 
the brightest with and the darkest corner. 
You are a collective of every experience 
you have had in your life. 
You are every single day. 
So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge 
and existence.
 Let the words run through your veins 
and let the colors fill your mind."

Jac Vanek

Let the words fill your mind..

Jeanne xx


  1. Lovely post, thank you for sharing your reading list. I read and LOVED Beartown and Little Fires Everywhere. I already purchased Homecoming and Eleanor Oliphant... I love a snowy day, a hot pot of tea and a great book! Surely, these are a few of life's great pleasures.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback! I am thinking of adding Eleanor Oliphant to my Audible book reading... decisions, decisions! I am with you on that pot of tea and a great book on a snowy day. Throw in a roaring fire and you would have a hard time getting me out of that chair! Most's simple pleasures. ;)

  2. I enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant...could not stay focused on Beartown for some reason as I enjoyed his other book...will look at those other titles....I have a stack of books waiting in the wings! Its lovely to have time to read on these winter days...I alternate books with my knitting.
    Your Tahilla Farm looks cozy...

    1. Thank you Leslie, it is feeling especially cozy with the frigid temps we are having today. You touched on another thing I would love to learn this knit. I decided to call it quits on eyes just don't seem to like it. I thought knitting might be the way to go...with a much larger needles! Knitting and books sounds like the perfect combination. :)

  3. Enjoy Tahilla Farm. It is such a beautiful place that I would understand if you never left it again. Thanks for the reading suggestions. I have always managed to find nice books to read from your lists.

    1. Thank you Loree...I have been thinking about resurrecting The Brown Paper Book Club too. It's been a while! :)

  4. Jeanne,

    How wonderful that you will be home at the beautiful Thallia farm for a good bit of time. I am sure that it is magical.

    I am looking forward to hearing more of your plans for the barn. I am also sure that it will be less stress for you this time around as you will be on site for the work.

    Thank you for the book suggestions! I have read a few but not all on your list and cannot wait to check them out.

    Have a wonderful week Jeanne.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I couldn't agree more! I don't think I could ever repeat building a house in New Hampshire, from Vietnam...even a shed! Wishing you a wonderful week...:)

  5. Sending so much Love to you, beautiful friend. So happy that you are Home and content to be...

    1. Thank you Heather..."content to be"...absolutely :) xx

  6. Thank you for the reading list
    Audio are good when painting or sewing for the enhanced concentration, reading nook for the book, and tablet for bed when not too sleepy.
    Windows! The #1 splurge, I feel is well spent on the windows, the eyes of the room, especially a studio. The shelving, storage, and sink are all second.

    Many good vibes your way for a happy year at Tahilla Farm!

    1. Thank you May! I find myself using Audible mostly in the car and hope to use it at the make me stay on the treadmill a bit longer. I have also linked it into our sound system in our home so I can listen as I am doing chores. Great for me but not so great for anyone else at home. ;) Kindle tends to be my travel choice and the reading nook is perfect for books. Now that I am here for a spell, I am curious to see how I use all these devices and space.

      As for windows and a studio, yes! I would be happy for just that...all else can wait. :)

  7. love the snow falling gently on your red barn, the book list and the image of you reading in all of your nooks and crannies. Winter is my favorite time to nestle in. Your's sounds wonderful!
    And "The Gentleman from Moscow" is fabulous!!!

    1. Thank you Kathleen...I have great things about 'The Gentleman from Moscow' is on our bookshelf..I shall move it up!

  8. Your stay at the farm sounds both restorative and busy - depending on the project. Excited to see the barn progress. Just popped one of your recommended reads in my Amazon cart! Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Glad to hear! Always love to share a good read! :)

  9. How absolutely love that you are staying at Tahilla, for the most part, this year. You can really settle in. I imagine you are looking forward to it enormously.

  10. Enjoy your beautiful home Jeanne ..... after all the hard work that you both put into it, it's time to savour it.
    ..... and, many thanks for the book suggestions ... I needed some inspiration. Happy 2018 to you and your family ... the farm looks wonderful, especially in the snow. XXXX

  11. It seems that you have found a place you enjoy calling home in Tahilla Farm, and I hope others in your family will learn to feel the same. Now that you are settled, I have hopes of sharing visits this summer. I have read several of the books on your list and liked each. There are so many good books out there, and I am so grateful to those who have the ability to provide such entertainment and knowledge to the rest of us. I would love to have that skill. Continue to dream your dreams as you nestle by the fire.

  12. Oh that post was SO good for my soul!

    I am also considering January a month to recharge, restore and renew. Aside from membership at a new gym with a pool AND a lovely, enthusiastic Body Balance instructor which is just what my physical self needs - I am also looking forward to a week on a cruise leaving next Tuesday with my oldest and dearest friend. We will do nothing but read, sleep, talk, dream and plan. She is that wonderful combination of supportive and challenging and I always make good decisions when I take he counsel on board. I expect to leave with some firmer steps for thoughts bubbling away in the back of my brain and a better view of my year ahead. I can't wait.

    I will also be tackling my groaning stack of books. One of my new years resolutions was not to buy any more books until I am through the pile I have stacked up over the past few years! Let's see how I go. Top of the pile for the cruise is Bleak House. We stayed at a lovely property for our 20th wedding anniversary in November which had been named after the house in the late 1800's. I was keen to see what connected the owner to the name of the house which was selected because of the book (without knowing the story Bleak House sounds...well, rather bleak! LOL)

    On top of all that I turn 46 in a few days - feels like a watershed moment as I am now without doubt in the second half of my life even if I live to be 90 as many of my family have. :-) Not that aging bothers me - as my dear old Grandfather used to say "Any day spent on top of the ground is better than one spent under it"!

    Here's to a brilliant January - which will of course be a little warmer in my neck of the woods than yours xx

  13. Belated Happy New Year Jeanne dear - where does time go!

    Your book list is interesting - I've just purchased 'Before We Were Yours' and will be starting it this week. Will definitely put 'Born A Crime' and 'Elephant Company' on my list.
    I've always loved that Jac Vanek poem - especially with the line "the breath of fresh air" in it!!!

    So here we are with a fresh new year, already at the end of the first month which is passing so quickly. I've been somewhat of a hermit not wanting to shop or work outside with the very cold weather. The 7" of snow, unusual amount for here, was beautiful for a few days and allowed me to photograph the garden birds at their best. I have however started an evening Tai Chi class, something I've wanted to try for a long time - and managed to rope in a daughter and a neighbor to accompany me. We are enjoying it, finding it somewhat difficult to master, but relaxing. Our group of about 15 are nice, all ages, and the instructor is a lovely patient lady in her 60's. She regales us with stories of how her health issues have benefitted considerably from 6 years of practicing this ancient meditative exercise. . . . . . . so I signed up for the 4 month course which hopefully will do the same for me!

    Travel is on my mind - as you'll be in New Hampshire more often this year, perhaps we can catch up in person! I'll drop you an e-mail later.

    Take care - stay warm 'nesting' in that beautiful house Jeanne.
    Mary x


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