2022 – My Year in Books

Assuming they let non-members in to the Goodreads pages, see what they prepared for me as My Year in Books on their website. Fun stats! In short, my goal for the year was a book-a-month or 12 books and they have me down for 15 books which is not bad, but I read Little Women which is a part of one huge electronic book Ten Books You Must Read Before You Die and I haven’t read the others yet, so they did not count it. And I just finished the fifth book of The Chronicles of Narnia series which Goodreads has not counted because the electronic book is all 7 books + a bonus Lewis book all together counted as one. So that would make 20 books! Not as good as my 24 books in 2021, but that was a year of both cancer treatment and a world-wide pandemic! 🙂  Here’s this year’s list and I’ve already started the 6th book in Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair!  🙂

  • Miss Marple: Greenshaw’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • Diablo Mesa by Preston & Child
  • Easy Spanish Step by Step
  • Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
  • The Complete Fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson
  • Birds of Central America by Andrew Vallely
  • Trees of Panama and Costa Rica
  • The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman
  • Niksen by Annette Lavrijsen
  • Rebugging the Planet by Vicki Hird
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Green Ember by S.D. Smith
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Possibly my favorite read of the year!
Both a great adventure and a mystery!
But comparing books is like comparing apples and oranges! 🙂

And oh yes, I have a lot more to share about my Christmas trip to Arenal Volcano, but been swamped with things that must be done on my return, so more after the New Year is in!

¡Pura Vida!

New Photo Book Published

CLICK this cover image for the bookstore and a preview of all 30 pages.

It is too late to get it for Christmas except in the states, but my reasons for publishing now is to have in January and February to share on trips. I have no ambitions to make money on my photography but operate with an almost obsessive desire to create and these little photo books provide that creative outlet more than anything other than maybe this blog! 🙂 The sharing of photos on this blog and in my gallery are two other outlets and to a lesser degree the sharing of bird photos on eBird and butterfly photos on butterfliesandmoths dot org. 🙂 Right now I’m the biggest contributor of butterfly photos from Costa Rica! 🙂

Check this book out with the free preview and let me know what you think! And I hope you are exploring the world where you live! There’s a lot to discover literally everywhere!

¡Pura Vida!

Children’s Author at ART SHOW!

CLICK the cover image above to see book on Amazon.com.

Denise Gilien will be at this weekend’s ART SHOW with her children’s book (above) Where the Wild Sloths Roam and other work. Don’t miss this opportunity to see 21 local artists together in one room and possibly find a creative Christmas gift! At Hotel Colinas del Sol in Atenas on Avenida 8.

  • Friday 9 December – 3-8 pm — Jack, Piet & Syl, Fire Music at 5 pm!
  • Saturday, 10 December – 10 am to 8 pm — Poison Dart Frogs Band at 5 pm!
  • Sunday, 11 December – 10 am to 4 pm

¡Pura Vida!

And be sure to stop by my Nature as Art table!

Wall Art, Greeting Cards, Books & more!


CafePress for Unique Photo Items

CLICK this image of my home page at CAFEPRESS to see the few items I now have available.

I have quit using them 2 or 3 times because I didn’t like something they did or didn’t do, but they are still my best source for a few quality novelty items that I will have 3 of this weekend at ART SHOW: Tote Bags, a T-shirt and a Mouse Pad. I’ve found no other source for the quality of their tote bags, T-shirts or mouse pads that no one has anymore! I was upset when they quit doing the wall calendars that I wanted for this show and ordered 2 from another source that are okay, but I will not use again, and so I’m back with CafePress and will keep just a few limited items on my page there with a link to it from my web page. Just click CafePress on the menu. And if you love tote bags and miss getting one this weekend, you can go to my CafePress page and order one. 🙂

AND if you want a different one of my photos on something, just email me and I will add it to the CafePress page! 🙂

Note that my Gallery has a few novelty items like the coffee mugs that you can also order with any of my gallery photos on it as well as prints, the metal wall art I have this weekend and canvas wall art. So if you’re willing to shop online, my photos are available in many ways from several places! 🙂

Also be aware that many of these online sources in the states require a U.S. address for shipping, like my bookstore. I prefer to use Aeropost even though I have to go to Alajuela to pick up packages. They are faster. In Atenas there is the new Atenas Webshop and the more established Costa Rica Shipping, both of which will give you a Miami Address just like Aeropost. They are both slower than Aeropost but you can pick up the packages at their offices in Central Atenas. 🙂

Costa Rica Photo Art

¡Pura Vida!

Reading Children’s Books Again!

I’m either “a child at heart,” a “simple-minded old man,” or maybe I just like good adventure stories and some of the best are written for children! 🙂

I wrote earlier about finishing The Wingfeather Saga series (4 books) of adventure stories for children written by a singer in Nashville and recommended to me by an old friend in Nashville. It was a good series and if he continues it, I will probably read the future stories, but right now that particular writer (I follow him) is too busy making an animated series of his first four books plus related merchandise and just making more money. 🙂

The same friend that recommended The Wingfeather Saga was later reading the The Green Embers series (I follow that friend on Goodreads) and so I thought I would try it. This one is about rabbits (& other animals) instead of people and the writer is a very good story teller with a good story, but my problem is that it is a war story and very gloomy and negative in some ways and I would not recommend it for young children. I read only the first book in the series and decided to go back to something that I already knew was good. But I may later continue that series in spite of the violence. (It is a good story!)

So now I am rereading The Chronicles of Narnia, all 7 books in one big electronic Kindle book! With a “bonus” book of Boxen (another children’s book by C.S. Lewis I never read). I’m reading Narnia in chronological order this time 🙂 , starting with The Magician’s Nephew to hopefully re-learn first how Narnia started (I forgot!). 🙂 So this series will keep me busy to sometime next year, if I don’t tire of it! 🙂 Then I might consider a reread of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Series in the right order again. A much longer and more challenging read! 🙂 But wonderful!

It’s fun to be an adventure-loving child again!


Which is okay for us old people!


¡Pura Vida!

Join up with your fellow readers!

If you too like to read, you might consider joining Goodreads where all of your “friends” on Facebook (who are members of Goodreads) can be clicked into Goodreads as friends there (your choice). Then you might learn about some good new books that your friends are reading. 🙂 It’s free, informative, and occasionally helpful in evaluating books or deciding what to read next.

Plus their website has lots of very good book reviews which helps you evaluate before buying a book, plus news about new releases, information on book awards, and special discounts for Goodreads members. You also can “follow” your favorite writers to be the first to hear about their new releases or special discounts offered on their books. Another good bonus! I do recommend “Goodreads” (even with the disclaimer that they are connected to Amazon.com for obvious commercial reasons!). 🙂 Happy reading! ALWAYS BETTER THAN TV!


Appreciating a Neighbor

My walks to town or “Central Atenas,” as they call it here, always includes passing the house of a family that plants many flowers, including a zinnia garden at least twice a year. As I walk by I often pull out my cell phone and snap a butterfly or flower. To show my appreciation of these who take the time to plant flowers, I made a little 20-page photo book of the butterflies I photographed over the last year in their garden and will take 3 copies to them as a Christmas gift once the books arrive. You can preview every page of the book for free by clicking the front cover image below or go to this address and click the word “Preview” then each page to see the next: https://www.blurb.com/b/11328129-jard-n-de-mariposas

Of course it’s in Spanish. That’s the language of Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Central Park Playground & Personal Notes

Well — still slow progress on Central Park remodeling. Yesterday they were finishing up two bench type seating along the sidewalk. These seats will face the playground equipment to be added in that open dirt area. With everything in the park remodeling so far being very modern or contemporary, I can’t wait to see what swings, monkey bars and other playground equipment will look like in a contemporary style! 🙂

These latest benches will be closer to the playground for those parents who feel they must keep a close watch on the smaller children. The circular seating area beyond that will be on the other side of the radial sidewalk running from the central kiosk to the southeast corner of the park. That seating is for parents of older children maybe? Or the one who aren’t “helicopter” parents. 🙂

Building more seating for parents at the kid’s playground. Open dirt area is where playground equipment goes.

My ongoing GALLERY is growing: Remodeling Central Park Atenas

And what the old playground looked like in this same location (bottom photo in the above remodeling gallery).

Continue reading “Central Park Playground & Personal Notes”

“. . . we do not yet have eyes . . .”

I’m again working on The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories of Hans Christian Andersen (link to Amazon Kindle version, the translation I’m reading), a long and sometimes boring or cumbersome 1800’s book that is an unusual mix of old-fashion fairy tales, Danish history, religion or Christian pedagogy in about 200 short stories about animals and people and in the ones about just people he seems fixated on both death and young men who want to marry “above their station” and never get their true love (pauper boy falls in love with a princess, etc.). I haven’t gotten to The Little Mermaid or Frozen yet! 🙂 I haven’t liked all of his stories and prefer the ones with talking animals and nature like the one in which I found this inspirational quote the other day . . .

It’s the last two sentences of his story titled The Toad. This toad has been trying to find the proverbial “gem in his head,” going through different aspects of nature and other animals when he decides to go toward the sun . . . then the story-teller concludes with . . .

“No, the light is too intense; we do not yet have eyes that can see all the glory God has created. But maybe someday we will have such eyes. That will be the most wonderful fairy tale of all, for we ourselves will be part of it.”

~Hans Christian Andersen

“. . . all the glory God has created . . .”
Sunset on Calle Barroeta, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Bullfrog, Si Como No Wildlife Refuge, Manuel Antonio NP, Costa Rica

And the feature photo at the top of this post is of a Masked Tree Frog at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort, San Ramon, Costa Rica. Of course neither frog is the one Andersen wrote about, but fun illustrations! 🙂

Hans Christian Andersen reminded me of another favorite quote with a similar perspective on nature . . .

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

~George Washington Carver

¡Pura Vida!