The In-Between Places of Life and Book


In the land of Ms. Jeannie the creatures are stirring. All week the boxes have been building higher and higher – propping up all the anticipation and all the possibilities of new horizons. A brand-new adventure is about to take place!

At the end of the week Ms. Jeannie will say goodbye to life in the 1930’s schoolhouse and hello to a new space in a new state.  Where is she headed exactly? Stay tuned to see where the gang winds up…

In the meantime, Ms. Jeannie owes a big BIG thank you to blog reader Elizabeth E. who reminded Ms. Jeannie two whole years ago that there was an absolutely fantastic gem of a book waiting to be read in the MJO bookshelves.


Coming across Outlander while packing bookshelves was just about the most perfect escapist read to dive into while tackling all the every day realities of relocation. Like Ms. Jeannie juggling the in-between time of life in Georgia and life in her new town,  Claire, the heroine of Outlander, (a vintage 1990’s fiction novel) finds herself caught up in two worlds  – that of 1940’s England and then mysteriously of 1700’s Scotland.

It is a fantastic fish-out-of-water story, full of history, romance and adventure as Claire struggles to survive two centuries of time travel. It’s also just about the most fantastic book to fall into after endless hours of packing boxes:) Outlander is the first book out of nine in the series, so if you want to spend the the next few months wrapped up in the mystical and turbulent Scottish highlands then you are in for a most eventful summer of reading.

To make things even more exciting,  Outlander was recently made into an award-winning television show as well. Now into its second season with two more seasons in pre-production, Outlander, the show, is beautifully filmed and equally entertaining. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the original trailer from season 1:


In the next coming weeks, once Ms. Jeannie is settled, she’ll be sharing more summer reading suggestions from her best of the first half of 2016 list, featuring books, movies and documentaries. So stay tuned on that front as well!

More to come….move to commence…memories to cultivate…

It’s summer 2016 in the land of Ms. Jeannie!



Brush Up on Your Brogue: 1895 Style!

Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush by Ian Maclaren

Happy happy St. Patrick’s Day dear readers! In celebration of the holiday Ms. Jeannie is highlighting the biggest deal of the day in publishing back in 1895.  The book is Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush by Scottish author Ian Maclaren.

Ian Maclaren (1860-1907)
Ian Maclaren (1860-1907)

This book is a beauty in the presentation department with decorated board covers in deep green and pale olive accentuated with gold embossed lettering and a four leaf clover design…


An immediate international sensation Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush sold over 700,000 copies upon release and set Maclaren on the literary road to becoming the most prominent Scottish writer of his generation.



The pen name of John Watson, Maclaren, in addition to being a writer, was also a student of religion. The Bonnie Brier, his first book tells the stories of a cast of colorful characters from rural Scotland using  their true dialect which makes it fun to read aloud. The settings and characters were inspired by Maclaren’s own experiences as a traveling minister in and around Perthshire, Scotland, which is still wonderfully pastoral today…

Perthshire, Scotland. Photo courtesy of the Perthshire Visitor Center.

As Ms. Jeannie mentioned in her previous post, over the next several months she’ll be discussing book collections and how and why they are formed. This book in particular is a part of Ms. Jeannie’s character-ridden collection because it contains loose pages, lots of pencil markings and frayed edging.  Ms. Jeannie loves these books most of all because of their appearance. Like the antique leather bound law books she she sold out of in her shop, this book contains so much personality in its shabby demeanor.



The pencil and pen marks are a real source of wonder. Who made them? When, why and how long ago? How many people over the course of the last one hundred years have read this book, flipped through it’s pages, touched its cover? Has it traveled by satchel, by boat, by carriage? Was it carried in-hand via motor car, trolley, subway or bicycle? Has it seen the inside of a dozen bookshops, or one public library or lived on bookshelves in countless private homes? Just what exactly could this story behind the story be?  Its a definite source of endless day dreaming?!


A popular pastime on St. Patrick’s Day is reciting limericks at the pub. But this year Ms. Jeannie challenges you to reading a page in authentic Scottish brogue, Maclaren style, as pints travel ’round the table tonight.


He may not be there in person to witness your brogue-ish attempts, but Maclaren will definietly be there in spirit as you lift your glass and toast to Scotch-Irish heritage! Cheers to a merry night dear readers direct from the Bonnie Brier Bush.