Back in July I announced a cheap little paperback book about me being retired in Costa Rica to introduce my nature photography and blog. It was titled Experiencing Nature (link to blog post) and after I received copies of it I was very disappointed in how the photos looked on the cheap or “standard” paper! Never again! I have destroyed the copies that I ordered to give away and created a newer version on premium photo paper and since it costs $20 instead of $8, I will not be giving as many away, 🙂 -but it is a much better book now with a revised title: Retired in Costa Rica, Experiencing Nature for Life and improvements inside. Click that link or the cover image below for a free PREVIEW of all 20 pages!
These photo books are just another creative outlet for me, giving me a record of my experiences here and great gifts for the lodges I visit! 🙂
I finished both the book and the movie and I think Jackson was more true to the book with this movie than he was with The Hobbit movie. He put the death of Boromir at the end of this story rather than at the first of the next one like the book, which is really where it belongs or fits the best and he presented the passing of Boromir more poetically than Tolkien, so I liked this movie as much as the book which is different for me. 🙂 Now I’m reading The Two Towers which I remember little about.
Those who know me well may not believe that title – and, well – what is happening in this period of few blog posts is that I am totally absorbed in the re-reading the Lord of the Rings books, all in one volume for me on my Kindle, a much longer read than The Hobbit I just completed! Plus I am still mostly tired from the radiation treatments and just not doing much else or getting out much.
Frodo and his buddies are just beginning as they got out of “The Old Forest” terrors and the magical “House of Tom Bombadil” and head for “The Prancing Pony Inn” and more “Dark Rider” or “Strider” encounters (who has been following them).
Eventually I may report on the story with some of my nature photos or I just may give you a break! 🙂
Only great books deserve “re-reading” and The Hobbit (Wikipedia link), the 1937 published book by JRR Tolkien, is certainly one of those! I just finished reading it again on my Kindle and of course discovered “new stuff” not in my memory! He pretty much introduces a new character or creature in every chapter and then brings them all back together for the epic “Battle of Five Armies” at the end of the story.
I will not write a full or formal review but just share some first impressions and personal feelings on the re-read of a favorite book, which I followed by a re-watch of the 3-movies version of the book . . .
In many ways, YES! And in more than one place I have used the following Tolkien quote in relation to my nearly 7 years of continuous exploring the most magical place on earth to me – Costa Rica!
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I just finished the Wingfeather Saga of four books where Andrew Peterson created his own imaginary world called “Aerwiar” and, like Tolkien before him, created this imaginary world before he wrote all the stories so that the places helped shape the stories. I don’t know if Lewis created Narnia before his stories, but as a best friend to Tolkien, he probably did! 🙂 And I can assure you that Costa Rica was created long before me and shapes all of my stories! 🙂
The Wingfeather Saga started off a little slow but ended with a powerful impact on me and probably most other readers. The many places within his world of “Aerwiar” not only influenced his story but also how we the readers react to it. You can easily say the same thing about Narnia and of course the most powerful sense of place in the make-believe world remains Tolkien’s “Middle-earth” that people still study and the fantasy of it keeps readers coming back for more!
But to me, the best fantasyland of them all is the real country of Costa Rica! It has greatly influenced not only my blog reported adventures here but how I’m living my new “pura vida” daily life in Costa Rica. In some ways I’ve tackled this country the way the Hobbit Frodo approached Middle-earth and how those children approached Narnia & Aerwiar; all with a sense of awe, adventure and purpose! I think it’s the way to approach all of life, wherever one lives! I just think it’s easier in a magical place like Costa Rica! 🙂
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
My constant urge to be creating something led me to doing a second “Lay Flat” Book with Blurb.com which simply means a thicker book with pages glued together so that there are no gutters between pages, making it idea for horizontal landscapes across two pages. I did one back in 2018 titled Costa Rica Sunrises and Sunsets. I think it is nice! And this one focuses on landscapes with only 4 sunrise/sunsets in it. 🙂 40 pages, 23 photos.
You may not know that my favorite kind of books or stories are the ones written partly for children or maybe it is “the young at heart!” JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and JK Rowling. I was about to start re-reading Tolkien (the most difficult of the above) when through the sharing of friends in the Goodreads club/blog I discovered The WingFeather Saga (link to author’s description of the books). They are children’s books in this general fantasy/adventure style of the above three mentioned authors, with it quickly obvious that the author, Andrew Peterson, admires CS Lewis the most and would like to create a Narnia.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
– Mohandas K. Gandhi
So what does an old man “Retired in Costa Rica” do with his time? Especially since cancer and the dreaded cancer treatment forced a slowdown? In short, I have slowed down! And those who know me well may find that hard to believe. 🙂 It is easier said than done for the hyper-active little boy who is sort of who I am. So this blog post will be My “Essay on Slowing Down” or more accurately on “what it is like for me to slow down.” I have now learned to “Enjoy the Moments” here in Costa Rica and hopefully I can share the joy of living slow in Costa Rica! 🙂
When I saw what the photos looked like printed on plain paper, I decided that I could not let my photos go out looking that bad. The other book is no longer available in my Bookstore, replaced by this more expensive book printed on Premium Lustre Gloss Photo Paper for a totally different visual experience! Generally the public does not buy any of my photo books, but rather I order them to give to the lodges or to individuals as gifts. But just in case someone orders one, I want my simple photos to look their best! 🙂 And yes, you pay for it! 🙂
Like with most of my trips I have created a photo book of the experience with an experimental change this time to make it a less expensive book. Like my recent “Experiencing Nature” book I chose the plain paper trade book in 6X9 inch format paperback rather than my usual 7X7 photo book with high quality lustre finish paper that makes the photos look better. This may be my last time to do this with a photo book but I like to experiment from time to time. 🙂 It is interesting that the same day I published this I received my copies of the “Experiencing Nature” book which is the same size and format and with the plain paper the photos all look too dark to me. So if the photos look too dark in this book too, I will probably not use this trade format again, unless I write a words-only novel! 🙂 Not likely! 🙂