I took a long hard look at my website recently, wondering if now was the time to make dramatic changes. Is it too muddled, are there too many themes I wondered? After all, there’s this blog; Picture Book Reviews, Gardening, Latin names for flowers and Cup of Tea Books. Quite a variety. But no, not at this time. This is me. This is who I am. A person of many interests and this Blog brings me joy and time for reflection and the opportunity to merge these interests. I hope it will bring you a moment or two of calm too.
Thank you for reading and wishing you a safe, healthy and very Happy New Year!
I am reading Americanah by Chimomanda Ngozi Adichie and Friend Me! by Sheila M. Averbuch
Today I wanted to write the word ‘butterflies’ and found myself writing ‘beautiful’.
I have been on the search for positive news, heartwarming stories like that of musician Paul Harvey whose son recorded him improvising a song and now Sir Tom Hunter has donated a million pounds to split between Music for Dementia and The Alzheimer’s Society. (It’s worth reading the article right to the very last line!)
Listening to an interview with Richard Osman from ‘Pointless’ I loved the fact that he mentioned there are ‘nice people out there’. It’s true, it’s just not often that the news chooses to focus on this. Why is that? Why is the news skewed to all the negative stories? Why was the one last positive story at the end of the news laughed at and finally removed?
Why don’t we demand that the news is more balanced, after all, aren’t we all trying to find more balance in our lives?
Reading the book ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn reminded me of the kindness of strangers. It was heartwarming while at the same time it did make me stop and think, am I that stranger?
The days grow colder and darker and we search for warmth, can we help spread a little warmth too?
I am reading ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘The Children of Castle Rock’ by Natasha Farrant.
I haven’t been out in the garden much recently. Instead I’ve been doing lots of looking out of the window and thinking about garden jobs for the Spring.
Mostly I’ve been enjoying our houseplants as they bring us happiness with their beauty and health giving properties.
During the past year I made a resolution to learn the Latin names for plants in our garden. Well I’m hoping to keep that up and am extending it to some houseplants. This beautiful Peace Lily has the Latin name Spathiphyllum wallisii.
Like the Amaryllis flower pictured here, my New Year’s Resolutions are emerging slowly. I began with ‘I’d like to read more’ and now I’ve added ‘I’d like to write more’.
I know I am supposed to make ‘SMART’ targets so the next thing I need to do will be to break down these resolutions and put time scales etc next to them. That may come later, for now, I’m just going to pick up a book and enjoy reading.
Whatever and however you do your New Year’s Resolutions, I wish you well.
At the moment I am reading ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo (with maybe one or two other books alongside!)
I never think of myself as a non-fiction reader and yet here I am, having recently finished reading Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and one of my favourite summer reads this year was ‘Robbing The Bees’ by Holley Bishop. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction (faction, narrative non-fiction?) published in 2005 and hugely enjoyable.
The thing is though, it only heightened my wish to have bee hives. I’m like a child who wants a pet and is not thinking at all about the practicalities.
One of the things I love about going to farmshops and summer fairs is the chance to buy local honey and after reading Bishop’s book I’ve been left thinking that I should eat more honey, with all its health benefits. In fact I think I’m going to try to have a spoonful of honey every day. What a lovely thought!
To see the iconic Marilyn Monroe images up close was an amazing experience and I was blown away by the gigantic ‘Vulcan’ sculpture by Paolozzi. Anyone who’s read Ted Hughes ‘The Iron Man’ will surely love it!
Having enjoyed the post on the Novel Points of View Blog about where writers write; I really appreciated seeing the studio of Paolozzi which had been gifted to the nation.
So what is the link to the Ali Smith book? Well, by reading it I learnt about the artist Pauline Boty who was the only female British painter who took part in the pop art movement.
The other day I helped out at a bookstall for a Girl Guides Fair.
Well it just so happened that I had a ‘Tinkerbell’ book in my hand as a lady and her little daughter approached. With exclamations of delight she said her daughter loved ‘Tinkerbell’ books but there aren’t many about and so she has to get them out the library. Now her wee girl thinks the books are hers!
So, we got talking and I asked her if she’d looked online. Immediately she mentioned ‘The Big A’ and I agreed but also said how about other second hand bookshops online?
Anyway, it got me to thinking. When I joined a book group a few years ago we discussed where everyone bought their books from.
Some went straight to the High Street, others to the aforementioned online store, still more to buy second hand online and one lady usually used the library.
It made me stop and think. There are so many options out there. It is easy to buy with one click but if I take just a little more time to search for the book I want I could be saving money and hopefully helping the environment too. (I know, I haven’t even mentioned e-books!)
Recently we made our way back to the delight that is The Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. I have to confess I bought four books – a massive treat, not just to buy them but also to go in and chat about books in such a great environment.
Buying books is a complete joy to me and these days I pick carefully where I buy them from. One here, one there. I picked up a few great bargains at the bookstall, I’ve collected my recent book group choice from the library and I’m hoping for a book voucher for my birthday so I can do a little bit of High Street shopping too!
Where’s your favourite place to buy or borrow books from?