2013 Armchair BEA – Introductions and Classics

armchairbea2Welcome to Day #1 of the Armchair BEA!

Today marks the beginning of an exciting week here on the Internet and in New York City where the BEA is in full swing. For those of us who are not able to be in New York this week, we are very thankful to the good people over at The Armchair BEA who provide an amazing “experience for book bloggers to participate in Book Expo America (BEA) from the comfort of their homes.” In the next few days, book bloggers will be sharing their thoughts on blogging, ethics, friendships, and (of course) books! To see the full schedule, visit this post.

I plan on participating each day of this special event (including the book giveaway day which happens May 30th). Today’s topic is two-fold: and introduction to me and my blog, and my thoughts about the Classics.


Bloggers have been asked to consider and answer up to five questions which will help readers to their blog to better understand who they are. I’ve chosen to answer three.

  • Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

wendybousarMost people who first come to my blog are confused by the name. Why Caribousmom? Well, Caribou was my search and rescue dog and my very special friend. In many ways, she was a huge inspiration to me and taught me many lessons about life. She loved life and lived it to its fullest and she reminded me daily to be happy in the moment and appreciate the little things. So this blog is, in may ways, a tribute to the lessons she taught me. I lost Caribou more than four years ago, but she continues to inspire me. To read more about my beautiful girl, visit the page dedicated to her.

I have been blogging now since February of 2005, but I changed the course of the blog in 2007 and began to focus mostly on literature at that time. It is a long time to maintain a blog these days, but I can truly say I have enjoyed my little space in blogland and (at this time) I have no plans to dismantle my blog. What I have done over the years is to adapt my blog to my life and my changing interests while still keeping it mostly focused on reading and books.

I am a dedicated quilter – and so readers to my blog will see my creative work in that arena. I am also an animal lover, an appreciator of nature, a wanna-be world traveler, a partner to my wonderful husband, a mommy to my fur children, and a physical therapist who has been touching other peoples’ lives through my work for the last 24 years. All of these passions show up from time to time here on my blog. I hope if you are a regular reader of my blog, you appreciate the eclectic feel of my posts. And if you are new here – I hope you’ll want to come back!

  • Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.

I live in Northern California among tall pine and cedar trees where red-tail hawks soar in the skies, and mountain lions and bears pass through the forests. To the west lies the powerful Sacramento River, and to the east are the white-capped mountains that pierce the sky above Lassen National Volcanic Park. To the North is the spectacular Mt. Shasta and lavender fields which provide a splash of color in the high desert. In the winter, the trees are burdened with snow creating a little piece of paradise. In the spring, I wake up in the mornings to clear mountain air and the song of birds and I truly love the beauty of this area. Our area offers amazing hikes, great fishing, annual rodeos, beautiful farmland, clear mountain streams, and immense mountains. Here are some photos of where I live (click on any photo to enjoy a larger view):

Mt.Shasta030001 MamaDeer.Baby0001 P&W.SundialBridge LavenderFarm.WP012009-07-02 ShastaCaverns02(creditA)2009-06-30 RR2008.Bronco.small0001 DogCreek.SacRiver2010-04-14

  • What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

My current read is:


River of Dust by Virginia Pye (Unbridled Books, May 2013)

I have read some great books so far in 2013 and so choosing a favorite is a challenge. I’ve chosen three books which are in the running for “best book” (click on book graphic to read my review):

Constellation MountainsEchoed WhiteDogFell

Classic Literature

What defines classic literature? Here is one definition:

  • A classic usually expresses some artistic quality–an expression of life, truth, and beauty.
  • A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic.
  • A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings–partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses.
  • A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature. Of course, this is partly related to the universal appeal of a classic. But, the classic also is informed by the history of ideas and literature–whether unconsciously or specifically worked into the plot of the text.

Although I read far less classic literature than I think I should, I have managed to read some amazing books in this genre. Some of my favorite classic authors are John Steinbeck, Wallace Stegner, Daphne Du Maurier, and Edith Wharton. If you are new to reading the classics, I would recommend starting with any of the following:

rebecca AngleOfRepose GrapesOfWrath EastofEden Ethan Frome

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (read my review)
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (read my review)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (read my review)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (read my review)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (read my review)

A terrific resource for classics is The Classic Club.

What are your favorite classics?

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  1. The way you describe Northern California it’s like you are writing for a tourist brochure or commercial! I love it! I’ve never been to Cali, but people are so preoccupied with Hollywood and L.A. and the beaches of SoCal that they forget the Northern part has a lot to offer, too, I think.

    I agree with all of your points about what makes a classic a classic. I didn’t even think to put that it stands the test of time. It absolutely does. It is about that time period yet is completely relatable today.

  2. WOW it truly is beautiful where you live! It’s the kind of place I’d love to go for a vacation – I love hiking and fishing, and getting away from busy places is sometimes a must.

    I agree with you about the classics, too, they have a timeless quality and deal with themes that are important. I love The Grapes of Wrath! It was my first Steinbeck novel, and I just fell into the story from the first phrase.

    Thanks for stopping by my Classics post earlier 🙂 it’s nice to get to know you! I’m addi your blog to my RSS feed.

  3. I love the part of California where you live…I’ve always been a fan of big trees and the Sacramento River! I lived up North back in the day…now I’m in Central California…need I say more? lol

    Rebecca is one of my all-time favorite of the classics, and I plan to reread it soon. Along with Jamaica Inn, etc.


    1. I mean to say “one of my all-time favorites.”

  4. I’ve loved reading your blog ever since I discovered it about 4 and a half years ago.

  5. I loved the way you constructed this post, and read the bit about where you live to my husband. We were both nostalgic for a place that we had never been. I just have to take the time out to say that I love your blog and the very impacting ways that you write reviews. A lot of things keep me coming back, but it is here, in this post, that I see the true beauty of your writing style and can appreciate it all the more.

  6. Loved the photos! How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place. Also loved Rebecca, and Edith Wharton is one of my absolute favourite writers :0)

  7. So glad you’re participating this week, Wendy! Looking forward to reading your daily posts.

  8. Love the way you describe North Carolina! Definitely makes me want to visit.
    I love some of the books you picked for classic, ESPECIALLY Edith Wharton. My favorite is House of Mirth.

  9. I greatly enjoy KH’s books, especially The Kite Runner and Rebecca too. Love all the pictures!

  10. Glad to have discovered you through Armchair BEA!

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures from California – I hope I can visit that area someday. It looks amazing!

  11. (((Caribou))) I love that your blog is named after her, what a wonderful tribute 🙂

    White Dog Fell From the Sky is in the running to be my favorite book this year, it was absolutely fantastic. I just read and reviewed Constellation as well. Another wonderful book…so powerful. It seems that we have a common taste!

    I hope you have a fantastic ABEA!

  12. Wow, the views! Thank you for sharing the photos with us 🙂 I’d read your page about Caribou, but reading about her again was lovely.

  13. You know, I have been a follower of your blog for I don’t know how long, and I always assumed that your title came from, I don’t know, a love of the wilderness, or Canada, or something. I’m glad to learn more about you!

    I’m also so excited to see Steinbeck’s East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath listed on many of these posts today. They are both brilliant, and I’m a huge fan of Steinbeck (I’m actually working on a Steinbeck Project), so, yes, this is great!

  14. Caribou was a beautiful dog!

    John Steinbeck is one of my all-time favorite authors. 🙂

    Happy Armchair BEA!

  15. Welcome to Armchair BEA! I love the story behind your blog name! That was definitely my first question when I saw your blog title! And you’ve probably been blogging longer than any other blogger I know! Kudos to that! Good luck with the rest of your Armchair BEA experience!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    • Nise' on May 28, 2013 at 17:49

    Your 3 favorite books are on my stacks! Guess I’d better get to them.

  16. I enjoyed your post too! I’m a little behind on Armchair BEA (already!) I was thinking it started tomorrow, but oops, it was today, and all I did was an introduction and nothing about classics! I like a lot of your choices, as well!

  17. Love the dedication to Caribou. I lived in Northern CA for a short time, it is beautiful country up there. Looks like you are an accomplished photographer as well!

    Nice to meet you, this is my first ABEA.

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