To honor Enchanted Living’s magnificent spring 2024 Book Lovers issue, I’m going to share from my personal collection of books and bookish things … over 40 years of collecting! I’ve read this Enchanted Living issue from cover to cover and delighted in every image and article. What an issue. I think most of us are book lovers who also love Enchanted Living. This was pure joy for me, immersing myself in this issue. It is a treasure.

Here is Enchanted Living’s Book Lovers issue, surrounded by some of my treasures on my living room couch. The gorgeous mosaic plate was made by my sister Rochelle Lazarus Saxena.

My personal treasures include many 19th century and early 20th century books, as well as some remarkable first editions. I also have a miniature book collection and some lovely dollhouse furniture and paraphernalia to go with it. I will include three poems and an excerpt from Book II of The Vinetrope Adventures, which I am again working on, along with my major project of 40 illustrations and 40 new poems for my 2025 art and poetry book, planned for a spring 2025 publication. The poems and excerpt will each tell a story, to stay in the theme of books and storytelling. They will be interspersed between the bookish images. I hope you enjoy!

Here is my poetry collection, Falling through Time, paired with my first American edition of At the Back of the North Wind, by the much loved 19th century Scottish author George MacDonald. The English edition was published in 1871 (I have that too) and this one in the USA, shortly afterwards. This is the book that inspired my dream to write a children’s novel someday. It had a deep impact on me. And The Vinetrope Adventures is that dream come true. You can also see my clock purse here, by Mary Frances, which seemed fitting. And in the background is a painting by Jules Joseph Lefebvre, French, 1836-1911.

Next is the full painting, which is also quite appropriate.

As you can see, this young woman is holding a book that has had an impact on her. She seems lost in reverie, thinking about something she has just read. Her thumb seems to mark the spot she has stopped at. I love the poetic paintings of Lefebvre.

My most recent book of poetry proudly sits next to The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 1887. What a cover! It was published by the John W. Lovell Co., NY, with a wonderful memoir as the Forward by J. H. Ingram. In the background, you can see my miniature book cabinet, well stocked, a dollhouse gothic fireplace with an Ouija board on the mantel and a miniature dollhouse behind it.

And here is a close up of my miniature bookcase with its array of books, next to Seeds of the Pomegranate. In front of the bookcase, on the lower shelf, is my collection of miniature Wedgewood ceramics. And in the foreground, a charming game table with a chess set on it and two beautiful chairs. All very bookish, indeed!

With this image it is time to share a poem from, Falling through TimeI’ve chosen “Ode to a Sunset” as it references both the incredible adventures of Odysseus, chronicled by Homer, and Greek mythology, all in keeping with great storytelling.

Ode to a Sunset

The sun drowns in Neptune’s realm:
whose god then dies, yours or mine?
We’ve all tried to take life’s helm,
while evening fades; transitions time.

With glimpses of a distant land,
Apollo bleeds across water.
We doubt we’ll ever reach the sand –
Odysseus’ lost sons and daughters.

The voyage back is eons long,
each of us a different song.
It’s just a tale of getting home,
by painful choices, made alone.

Here is a better close up of the book nook. If you look at the desk to the right in the foreground, you will see a tiny version I placed there of my children’s book, The Vinetrope Adventures.

This then seems like a good time to share an excerpt from book 2 of my Vinetrope Adventure trilogy. In chapter two, I introduce my chief villain, Sliwarren. (I actually got the name for my villain from a middle school age children’s national contest I held for kids several years back. The 1st place winner won a signed copy of the book, a swag bag with bookish things and an Amazon gift card).

The villains in my tale are sentient fungi called chargons (the kind that usurp the power of plants, not the beneficial kind) and their side-kicks are a different kind of fungi called vinkali. The chargons are tall and wolf-like. The vinkali are small, almost childlike. The fairies are sentient plant life (with the power of storing and downloading vast amounts of knowledge like a computer due to their cellulose body structure which is similar to a crystalline structure) and of course there are human children! It’s an imaginative tale in which magic, fairy lore, science and the techy all intertwine.

Sliwarren’s Lair
Chapter Two from Book Two

The cave was dank and smelled of cooking grease, smoke and mold. It was a smell that chargons loved. It smelled like home. Thirteen swamp-gas lanterns, hanging from branches wedged into cracks in the cave’s walls, circled the room. They radiated a spooky yellow, phosphorescent light with flickering blue flares. In the middle of the room was the fire pit with a huge caldron sitting on a mass of ash and sticks. Sliwarren, the chargon leader, had been sending crews out to locate usable objects. It was a new and very odd world they found themselves, but the spores of their little colony had budded, flourished and done quite well. Sliwarren’s best crew members included Sleg, a quick-footed, quick-tongued and gossipy chargon and Riff and Ruff, the good-natured twin vinkali brothers, who joked around way too much. Then there was Sargu. Sargu was Sliwarren’s right hand chargon and he oversaw the crews. Sargu was clever and a flatterer, but the trait Sliwarren liked most was his ability to be tough and Sliwarren used that skill to his advantage, putting Sargu in charge of keeping the little group in check. But he would have to be careful of Sargu. He was ambitious.

Here is Book 1 of The Vinetrope Adventures with a wonderful first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham from 1909. My Vinetrope book is also lavishly illustrated by the much loved artist, Julie Bell @juliebellartist:

From the Rackham edition, his Hansel and Gretel meeting the witch:

From The Vinetrope Adventures, Julie Bell’s illustration of Sara (the 12-year-old girl protagonist of book 1) and Lucinda Vinetrope (the plant fairy that sprouted in her backyard) meeting for the first time:

And here is my second book nook made for me as a gift from a kit. It always delights me.

This is my Vinetrope book with my first edition of Arthur Rackham’s illustrated version of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. It was published in 1905. There are so many wonderful Rackham illustrations in this book!

One of my favorite illustrations in the book is this one, of the old Van Winkle telling his tale to his great-great-grandchildren. I love the shadow on the wall. But this framed image you see here is actually the original illustration itself! My husband got it for me as a very special birthday present.

Look at these gorgeous covers. The 19th century and early 20th century produced some of the most beautiful books and book covers. Here is my Seeds of the Pomegranate with two amazing versions of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald. The smaller one is from the early 20th century as is the larger version, published in 1913 by Hodder & Stroughton and illustrated by René Bull.

Here I will share a poem from Seeds of the Pomegrante. It is a poem from Demeter’s point of view about her daughter Persephone and what happened to them both after the abduction. It seems a tale fitting for springtime and is a myth loved by most of us.


I miss the soft mornings we
sat near the Gulf of Volos.
I brushed your thick auburn
hair down to your waist.
It curled so sweetly at the tips.
I can still smell the lovely warm
smell of your little girl scalp.

You wove reed jewelry for me,
Bracelets, bracelets and rings.
You said I never had enough.
Sometimes you would tuck
flowers into the braids at my
wrists and call them sapphires,
rubies, emeralds.

the terror I felt
when you were taken from me
made evil reach inside my chest and
steal my heart. I wandered empty,
dazed, then emptiness turned to rage.
What was it I forgot to do
that let this happen?

I turned it all on
what was mine.
My world suffered greatly
that first time.

I see you now
under the flowering apple tree and
all my rage is nullified.
Your strength and grace
amaze me,
Daughter so Divine.
You knew to eat just six.
You knew!

With what I’ve come to
understand I would have
offered you the seeds myself.

And for my last entry, I would like to share a springtime poem from my current art and poetry WIP that will include 40 full-page illustrations by me in black pen and ink with touches of charcoal and 40 new poems. Each poem and illustration is envisioned as a set. The poem and illustration I am presenting here is called “Under the Hydrangea.” It is a little story about the sad ending of a strange creature found in the garden.

Under the Hydrangea

Is it of this earthly world?
So much wonder and horror co-exist within the laws of
life and living – to tell the tales that teach us
who we are and predict the stories yet to be.
Heaven and hell – endings and beginnings.
In birth we see the shimmer of death.

Look now on this remarkable creature.
Its false eyes are wide like a newborn’s,
three pair of true legs emerge from the top of the torso
but are not yet fully formed. An insect then,
so soft and vulnerable, as green and delicate as the
first unfurling of a forest fern.
It is of this earth, then, just like us.
We project a smile onto its minuscule face,
a tiny line curling upward.
Does it dream of wings unfurling like the fern, of
soaring into the sky on its pre-determined journey?
Or, like Sleeping Beauty – is it deep
under, in a bewitched trance?

No, that is us,
tormented by fate and free will.
How vulnerable are we too.
Madness and phantoms follow us
all our lives as our own stories unfold.
This tiny creature has died, never to soar.
What small tenderness can I offer it?
I will bury it quickly under the hydrangea.

My love of books is apparent as is yours, as a lover of Enchanted Living. Everywhere one looks about my home you will finds books on shelves and in stacks. Above is my first edition of Charlotte’s Web and my copy of Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman, on a bench in front of my fireplace.

I wish you all a delightful late spring and a rich and magical summer. We must keep the magic and wonder alive…especially now, all of us together!


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