Tag Archives: books

Books I Read In May & June.

Books I’ve read recently have been a bit of a mixed Book- Bag. See what I did there.πŸ˜… There have been some goodies though. Two recommended by bloggers….and one written by a blogger. Yay!

Convenience Store Woman ~ Sayaka Murata (2016). Keiko has always been a bit disconnected from other human beings. Her response to an annoying boy in primary school is to hit him with a shovel. And shouldn’t a dead budgie be taken home for dinner. It’s apparent her family think she’s definitely strange ,so it’s a relief to them when she gets a part time job in a convenience store. The in-store training manual shows Keiko how to be an acceptable and productive member of society and Keiko is happy to appear normal at last. However many years later Keiko is unmarried, has no children and at 36 is still in the same role. She no longer conforms to what society thinks she should be. This is a funny, sometimes sinister, a little heart breaking and actually life affirming story. Go Keiko! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Water Cure ~ Sophie Mackintosh ( 2018). I really wanted to like this book, but it just annoyed me more than anything. If your looking for a distopion classic then I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale. The storyline idea is good. Three daughters are brought up by their mother and father on an isolated island, away from the real world which is apparently full of deadly toxins. They are subjected to cruel purifying treatments which involve drowning dresses etc. But to them this is all quite normal. Then oneday their father disappears leaving their mother to carry on his good work. Things go awry when three men are washed up on the island. Read it and let me know what you think. ⭐⭐

Yeshiva Girl ~ Rachel Mankowitz ( 2018). A Jewish novel about a teenager whose father abuses young girls ( herself included) is difficult subject matter , but Mankowitz’s quiet yet real writing provides the reader with a heroine we really want to hear more from. When Izzy’s parents put her in a new orthodox school whilst he goes through a court case, she finds herself dealing with having to make friends & relationships whilst questioning a religion that appears to very much prioritize men over women. And how can Izzy get on with her life when her peers don’t realise just how manipulative her father really is. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady ~ Edith Holden ( 1979). Book illustrator and art teacher Edith Holden’s Nature notes for 1906 lay unseen and unpublished for many years after her death. Then in 1979 her beautiful paintings and observations were set out in diary form and shown to the wider world. They were an immediate success even spawning a TV series. The diary contains poems and sayings about each month, lovely illustrations and Edith’s day to day pondering’s about the wildlife she saw whilst walking or riding her bicycle in her beloved Midlands. Unfortunately for Edith she died in her forties. Leaning over a river to observe some plant life, she fell in and drowned. 😦 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Chess Men ~ Peter May (2012). Back to Peter Mays trilogy set on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. In this novel many loose ends are tied up and it seems former detective Finn MacLeod has reached some sort of peace in his life, back on his childhood home of Lewis. Of course as is mandatory in Mays trilogy, Finns past is brought back to haunt him when a former friend turns up dead and another is suspected of his murder. ⭐⭐⭐

Remarkable Creatures ~ Tracy Chevalier ( 2009). I must admit to not having heard of the fossil hunter Mary Anning until quite recently. She was a working class girl from Lyme Regis who discovered some of the greatest fossil finds of the 19th Century. Due to her sex and lowly station she wasn’t even credited for her discoveries for many years. Her story is currently being made into a feature film ‘Ammonite’ starring Kate Winslet & Saiorse Ronan. I’m not sure if the movie is based on this book by historical novelist Tracy Chevalier, but her tale is a compelling one. Chevalier tells the story of both Mary Anning through Mary’s own eyes but also through her friend Elizabeth Philpot, who befriended the young fossil hunter after moving to Lyme with her two sisters. Remarkable Creatures is a very easy read and shows just how remarkable a woman needed to be to make her mark in a man’s world. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read anything good lately? Any recommendations?

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Books I read in March and April.

Sorry this post is so late, I think I have discovered book reviews are not my favourite thing to write! Really didn’t get many books read in March and April , though I did enjoy the five books I did sit down with. Here’s a short recap of my reading material. 😊

Tom’s Midnight Garden ~ Phillipa Pearce (1958). I found a copy of this children’s classic in a charity book sale and thought I would give it a go as I remember owning Phillipa Pearce’s ‘ The Battle Of Bubble & Squeek ‘ as a girl. I’m so glad I did as Midnight Garden is such a magical tale. Tom goes to stay with his very dull aunt and uncle over the summer holidays , so not to catch the measles his brother has so inconveniently caught. They live in a boring old manor house which has been converted into flats, there isn’t even a garden to play in much to Toms disappointment. The only unusual thing in the whole house is as old Grandfather clock in the communal hallway which ominously strikes a 13th time every night. A restless Tom investigates and finds the extra hour takes him back in time to when the manor house was one residence with a huge garden and is home to a lonely little girl called Hattie. Over the summer Tom meets Hattie in the garden most nights, only to find the time shifting as Hattie grows up. A children’s adventure fantasy that adults can enjoy too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

111 Places In The Lake District That You Shouldn’t Miss ~ Solange Berchemin (2019). Apparently there’s a whole range of 111 Places guides out right now, encouraging you to visit the more quirky and lesser known tourist attractions in various cities and areas. Lakeland is explored thoroughly in this handy guide which includes Postman Pat’s Valley, a nine metre stone that appears to defy gravity, the home to the world’s largest colour pencil, a Giants grave and a Buddhist Temple. Directions, opening times and website info are all included. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One False Move ~ Harlan Coben ( 1998). Another charity book sale purchase, this was a good detective yarn to get to grips with. Even though it is book 5 in a series, the likeable character of its protagonist sports agent/crime solver ‘ Myron Bolitar’ encourages the reader to hunt out the other novels. Also this book can easily be read as a stand alone story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lewis Man ~ Peter May ( 2014). The second in a crime trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis Man revolves round an unidentified corpse found in a Lewis peat bog. Detective Fin MacLeod now residing on the island feels duty-bound to solve the mystery but as he digs deeper, long buried secrets threaten to endanger the people he loves. ⭐⭐⭐

The Lido ~ Libby Page ( 2018). I enjoyed this feel good tale about the importance of community and friendship. Two women from very different decades become friends through their enthusiasm to save their local Lido which is under threat of closure. Rosemary is 86 and all her happiest memories are wrapped up there whilst Kate is 26 and struggling with loneliness in a new city. A heart warming book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any good books recently?

Books I read in January and February.

This year I am hoping to read 40 Books, a total I have set myself on Good Reads. I thought if I write a short description of each on my blog, this might encourage me to keep up with the challenge πŸ™‚

The Black House ~ Peter May (2011). This is the first book in a bleak murder mystery trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. My other half came across the series after we holidayed on another Hebridean Island North Uist last year. Fin Macleod is a homicide detective who returns to his childhood home of Lewis to investigate a grisly murder. Bereft by a recent personal tragedy of his own, Fin jumps at the chance of spending some time on the island. But as the detective hunts for the murderer, he finds himself being hunted too. The Black House flits between the past and the present and paints a picture of a rugged island with troubling secrets. I’m eager to delve into the next instalment. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to Be an Urban Birder ~ David Lindo ( 2018). I love how enthusiastic the author of this informative birding guide is. After seeing him promoting the book on Breakfast telly, I was delighted when Wil bought it me for my birthday back in November. Lindo’s motto is ‘Look Up!’ and this is certainly as true of our towns and cities as anywhere in Britain when it comes to spotting birdlife. If you imagine that urban buildings are cliffs ( they could be homes to peregrines) and rooftops are viewing platforms ( excellent bases for watching migrating species) then you get the idea. This book covers the best locations to look for birds in towns and cities and is packed full of photos , illustrations and useful tips.⭐⭐⭐⭐

The prime of Miss Jean Brodie ~ Muriel Spark ( 1961). I picked this renowned Scottish Classic up whilst away for a weekend in Edinburgh. Jean Brodie is an unconventional school teacher in 1930s Edinburgh. In a subtle almost sinister way she sets about grooming six of her pupils to become almost mini clones of herself. The book was made into a 1969 film starring Maggie Smith. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dear Mrs Bird ~ A J Pearce ( 2018). Ahh I loved this story, set during blitz torn London in World War 2. Perhaps my favourite of the books I’ve read this year so far. Our heroine is Emmy who takes a job as a newspaper reporter , but due to a misunderstanding she is actually employed as lowly assistant to no nonsense ( and very unsympathetic ) Agony aunt Mrs Bird. Emmy takes it upon herself to answer the letters Mrs Bird discards. A light hearted but also sometimes heart breaking read. I hope there is a sequel. ❀️⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock ~ Imogen Hermes Gowar ( 2018). Who can resist a novel with mermaid in the title. Not me! A lonely childless widower and a high class ,but down on her luck courtesan’s paths become entwined, through the discovery of a mermaid. This is a discriptive historical novel set in 18th Century London , with a scaly touch of the supernatural. Although I was eager to see how the book would end, I did not find myself warming to the characters, some of whose stories seemed to end… unfinished. ⭐⭐⭐

Nightingale Wood ~ Stella Gibbons ( 1938). It seems that the esteemed writer of Cold Comfort Farm actually wrote shelve loads of books, most out of print until recent times. Nightingale Wood is billed as a modern version of Cinderella ~ modern in the thirties that is, when it was written. Viola is our Cinderella, a young widow now living with her stuffy in-laws. Her father in law rules the roost and his two daughters are dying of boredom. One wants a dog and the other wants the chauffeur. Viola herself falls for a dashing young man who lives in the big house through the woods, but his intentions arent exactly honourable. This book isn’t just a fluffy love story, it’s an observation of how the restrictions of sex and class in the thirties shaped everyday life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday Sevens 18th November.

It’s a Sunday Sevens Birthday Edition!

I booked a week off work ~ you have to when it’s your birthday don’t you….

Anyway here are a few pictures from my week.

We spent last weekend at a mates Holiday Cottage in Ravenglass, a small seaside village on the Cumbrian coast. We were joined for two nights by some friends as well, and it was great to spend time with them. 😁

The cottage looked out across the Estuary and my God daughters enjoyed looking for ‘treasures’ on the beach. This anchor was a bit big to take home with them though!

The cottage was packed to the rafters with owls! They were everywhere. In the beams, on the walls, on the windows….

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A favourite tipple of mine this week was a Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Liqeur served with Gingerale. πŸ™‚

Birthdays mean books! I received these three as presents and I’m excited to delve into them. πŸ™‚

This week I got to make a chocolate bar and a box of chocolates at The Chocolate Works in Clitheroe. Definitely a scrumptious idea for a Girls Night out. πŸ™‚

And I wasn’t the only one with a Birthday! Hugo’s pal Mick the Greyhound had a 3rd Birthday Party at his humans house. Oh my! If you can imagine five Springer spaniels, two greyhounds, a beautiful collie and a naughty black labrador all running riot ( whilst getting on amazingly well ~ Phew! ) in your home for two hours, you’ve got the picture. πŸ™‚ They were a lot easier to entertain than children anyway. πŸ˜‰ Hugo loved it!

Afterwards I got to party in town with my chums!

Thanks to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.

Hope you had a good week.

June ~ Photo An Hour.

Every so often I remember to join in with #photoanhour on Instagram, and yesterday was one of those days. The concept is simple. Just take one photo of whatever your doing every hour and join in with the hashtag #photoanhour. Either Janey or Louisa chooses the date each month.

8am. Wake up to a damp day. So crumpets are a yummy breakfast treat.
9am. Out and about with this guy. πŸ™‚
10am. Looking round the market in my hometown of Clitheroe.
11am. A few jobs done so shelter from the rain in Escape Coffee Bar. I love the fresh mint tea here ( healthy) and the choolate dipped granola bars. Not so healthy!
12 Noon. Chillin at home with the pets. 🐢🐱
1pm. Catching up on some telly. Hidden is a welsh detective drama and is pretty good. Reminds me a little of Hinterland..
2pm. And still relaxing….πŸ˜„
3pm. Out with Hugo again. We had planned to walk along the river to a neighbouring village. But it began bucketing down so we stuck to Brungerly park instead.
4pm. Had a shower to get warm after a soaking in the rain.
5pm. Filling in my Nature Diary. I am recording what wildlife I see on my walks every day. I have got quite addicted to it. πŸ¦‹πŸŒΉ
6pm. The Big Bang Theory is on TV as usual. πŸ™‚
7pm. Heres a Manchester Tart I bought on the market earlier. 😁
10pm. Totally missed the past couple of hours photos. We were watching a film. I then had the choice of starting one of these 3 books. Which one do you think I picked?

Thanks for dropping by. X

Sunday Sevens 19th March.

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Two Good Books. πŸ™‚

Hi its Sunday yet again so time for a quick round up of the last 7 days via  a  Sunday Sevens post.  This last week I’ve read two really good books !  I sound surprised because I’ve read a few meh ones recently , so it’s great to find a couple of cracking reads. Firstly The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a modern day Agatha Christie set on a boutique cruise with plenty of twists and turns. ‘Lo Blacklock’ is a journalist who thinks she’s witnessed a murder , a woman thrown overboard in the dead of night. But nobody seems to have heard of the victim. Paranoia and suspicion engulf Lo and make this’ Who Done It’ an absorbing and scary thriller.  Secondly, a just as absorbing  but true life tale is  The Yorkshire Shepherdess  by Amanda Owen.  This is Amanda’s own story about how as a youngster she read the James Herriot country vet books and dreamed of working on a hill farm with her own flock of sheep. And amazingly through a lot of hard work and determination she has ended up doing just that. As well as a flock of sheep she has a husband, 8 children and lives and works on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales. An inspirational and often funny read, I loved it. πŸ™‚

As well as having my nose in a book this week, I have been using up some holidays and  had a couple of days off work. On Thursday my friend Lisa and I had a fun afternoon hanging out in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. She showed me some great independent shops in this creative area of the city and we also had a really tasty lunch at Oak Street Cafe Bar in the Craft & Design Centre. And I got to cross something off my 25 Before 45 Bucket List !  I had booked us a slot in Manchester’s only Cat Cafe, very originally called  Cat Cafe  which is situated on High Street in the Northern Quarter. Imagine coffee, cake and cats all in one spacious area , adorned with comfy sofas, cushions and cat toys. I will blog about it sooooon. πŸ™‚

On Friday Wil, Hugo and I went to visit family in The Lake District. My family live not far from Ullswater so for some reason Wil , my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go and check out Aira Force , a waterfall not far from the lake.  The problem was, it was an incredibly rainy and windy day , which always annoys me as I can’t take any photos with the rain blowing in my face. We had to agree though that the force looked amazing in the weather and we will definitely have to go back on a much drier day.

Last Sunday it was raining  too but not as badly ( Hurrah ! ) so we were tourists in our own town and took   The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail around Brungerley Park. Just in case you missed my post , you can check it out here πŸ™‚

All in all a pretty good week. What did you get up to ?

 

 

A Photo an Hour Sunday Jan 29th.

On Sunday I decided to join in with Janey and Louisa’s

   #photoanhour challenge. I think those two had made it a whole weekend of photo’s every hour…but I only managed the one day. Here’s how my Sunday panned out.

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8am.  Having quite a relaxing morning , though I am up and about. Sundays have to start with a strong black coffee I always think. I am enjoying this nostalgic detective story, set in the long hot summer of 1976.

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9am. Outside is looking promising weather wise. This is the view from my bedroom window. You can just about see Pendle Hill in the distance.

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10am. We are in the car on the way to pick up our dog Hugo from the kennels. He has had a practise weekend away to see how he gets on. We are beyond excited to pick him up. It has felt really strange without his bouncy/snoozy presence in the house.

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11am. Having picked up Hugo, we find a nearby canal side walk at Salterforth. I love looking at all the names on the barges. 

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12pm. Heres Hugo on the towpath. As you can probably tell he had a very quick dip in the Leeds & Liverpool.

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1pm.  Its Lunch time and were at Hinderlini’s in Gisburn. This is a Lancashire Cheese and chutney sandwich with Aspen fries. The fries are smothered in pepper, garlic, truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Yes they were yummy. πŸ™‚

 

 2pm. Back home and these two beasties are fire worshippers.

3pm. Headed off to meet some friends down the local.

4pm. As you can see its a very dog-friendly local. πŸ™‚

6pm. Not sure where 5pm went but here are two books I’ve borrowed from The New Inn. 

7pm.  A bit of telly watching. Countryfile.

8Pm. Wil has cooked tea. πŸ™‚

9pm. One snoozy hound.

How was your Sunday?