Happy New Year!!
I know this blog has been rather neglected of late but a new job will do that to a girl. It’s been madness at work since I started at the new school back in August’14. Given that I’m doing the same job I’ve done for the last five years you’d think it would be an easy transition. In reality, it’s taken quite a while to feel settled and I’ve actually no idea why, but there we go. I’m hoping that next term will feel less chaotic. As a direct result, the rest of my life has taken rather a back seat, including blogging, crochet, reading and cooking for fun.
So, here we are in 2015 [never even thought I’d live this long lol]. I don’t ‘do’ resolutions as I tend to set myself up to fail or they become a big metaphorical stick to beat myself with. However, this year is going to be ‘The Year of the Book’ for me personally. I’ve ignored my love of reading for far too long but have decided that all that is going to change in 2015, and that’s as close to a resolution as you’re going to get from me ;) . My son Ethan  has also suddenly ‘found’ a passion for books and reading and I think that’s gone some way to refuelling my love of the written word. We sit and read together, usually on my bed for half an hour before his bedtime, it’s the perfect way to end the day. Happily, I’ve discovered that I can [and have] put a free Kindle reading app. on my android ‘phone and that has been liberating to put it mildly. My ‘phone is so much nicer to read from than my Kindle; who knew??
So, I’ve been to Waterstones ~ oh dear I hear you cry!! Historically I have not been a regular user of bookstores since the demise of Borders in the UK, :( preferring Amazon.co.uk pricewise. However, I’ve noticed that since the introduction of Postage & Packing on all orders less that £10, Amazon is not always that much of an amazing deal anymore. Yes, lots of free Kindle books and yes, lots of great second-hand Market Place deals [1p + p&p type offers] but on new books and the latest releases there’s not much to separate them from the high street stores. I think if you’re prepared to subscribe to Amazon Prime then possibly you do better, but I’m not so that’s that.
To the book haul…..
‘The Light Years’ by Elizabeth Jane Howard ~ first of five [so far] in the series following the Cazalet family. At the moment we’re pre WWII with signs of international political unrest ‘on the horizon’. The Cazalet family, brothers Hugh, Edward and Rupert and their respective wives and children, are living the good life, running the family firm and holidaying in Sussex each year at the family home where their parents and unmarried sister Rachel still live. All appears idyllic at the outset but scratch the surface and reality appears….. I’m half-way through this and enjoying it immensely. It’s not too brain taxing which makes it a great bedtime read. Will probably buy the next in the series at some point.
‘The Mindful Way through Depression’ by Williams et al. This is non-fiction and my only nod to the fact that I’ve dealt with chronic depression on and off since my late 20’s. I don’t publicise this but I acknowledge and accept it’s part of who I am. I no longer get medical support [and haven’t for years] as that involves drugs which I won’t take and counselling that I find negative and difficult. This book has been the best thing I’ve ever found for dealing positively with low mood and chronic unhappiness and I’d fully recommend it to anyone struggling to any degree with this kind of thing. It draws on my Buddhist roots which gives it a familiar feel, and you don’t often meet a depressed Buddhist lol. My christian faith has fuelled my depression, probably because I tend to focus on the huge list of things I’ve done wrong [from a religious pov] in the past and that leads to self-loathing, which in turn leads to a negative downward sprial…..and you can guess the rest I’m sure. Things have been desperately bad for the last couple of months so it was time to take the bull by the horns and be proactive…this book is part of that stir into action. Sadly I’ve had to put my faith to one side for a while as it was literally killing me. It’s in storage, not thrown away…..for now at least. I’m on chapter four of this book and taking it slowly as it’s meant to be savoured. It has a CD of accompanying meditations with it making it great value.
I also bought C.J. Sansom’s, ‘Dissolution’. The first of five in a historical crime fiction series [also described as a thriller, murder mystery, whodunnit, detective story]. This is a TBR [To Be Read] so I’ll let you know what I think of it as it’s a bit of a departure from what I normally read. I’ve noticed that I rarely read male authors, not a conscious choice but an interesting observation nonetheless.
Next is ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healy…it’s all over the bookclub lists and new release tables and gets very good reviews. Again, it’s a TBR so I’ll let you know.
Finally I bought ‘Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death’ by James Runcie. This is the first of the
‘Grantchester Mysteries’ series [they have recently been televised but I didn’t watch them]. The first three books are in print with number four due out in May of this year.
I’m hoping I will find a touch of the Morse and Marple mixed up in these….we’ll see! Also sitting on my TBR shelf for now.
Just to keep you all up to speed I’m also just over half-way through the second in the ‘Game of Thrones’ series by George R.R. Martin ~ ‘The Clash of Kings’, (A Song of Fire and Ice). I really enjoyed the first book which is my first foray into the Fantasy genre for quite a while. Once you’ve got to grips with all the characters and their families and affiliations it gets easier and I quickly became totally absorbed, which is the sign of a good book for me. I bought the first seven books a while back on my Kindle, they were on offer at £2 each which was a really good deal. I tend to read these at work during my lunch break or whenever I’m trying to kill time and my ‘phone is handy.
I intend to post proper reviews of the books I’ve finished as I go.
Just a quick line about e.book versus hardcopy. The one thing that I find really difficult about e.books is when you have a complex plot, like in Game of Thrones that requires a lot of concentration at the start just to keep track of who’s who, I like to flick back to the beginning every now and then to refresh my memory. That’s not easy on the Kindle which, for me, is a huge downside. Similarly you may have a list of characters and their families such as there is at the start of the Cazalet series, which you might want to refer to frequently at the start; again not always so easy with an e.book. Given a ‘gun to the head’ type choice I’d still go with a hardcopy every time but Kindle [Amazon] do offer so many good deals that it’s nice to have both to choose from.
By the way my TBR shelf has about 30++ titles on it so these are just a small taste of the latest editions. I’m not sure why I always have two or three books on the go at once but I don’t think I’m alone in that habit. Usually one non-fiction, one ‘easy read’ and one ‘makes you think so bring your brain’.
Happy reading all…..