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What I read in July 2016

All the books I finished reading in July were available from various branches of the county library to which I belong.

A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks

A Possible Life

This book could not be less like the book I read by Sebastian Faulks in June.  He is a very versatile writer. The book is in five sections, which are connected by tenuous threads. The reader needs to pay close attention.

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martell

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

This book was chosen by a family member.  Surprisingly its structure was not unlike that of the book I read immediately before it.  In this case there were three parts, which were more closely related. Yann Martell wrote The Life of Pi, which I read in March 2007.  The author is exceptionally imaginative and either draws readers into the world his characters inhabit or alienates them completely.  I continued reading both books to the end, being fascinated.

The next three books I read in quick succession are by one of my favourite authors, Jasper Fforde.  They are The Last Dragonslayer, The Song of the Quarkbeast and The Eye of Zoltar.

These three books were shelved in the junior section of the library.  The third one is marked as teenage.  I advised a friend against introducing her preteen son to them just yet. There is so much in the background, that would go over the heads of younger readers.  Subatomic physics and high finance are woven into the plots.  I had been looking for these books in the library for years.  Circumstances allowed me to borrow the whole series almost simultaneously.  (The loan period for books 1 and 3 overlapped with that for book 2 from a different branch.)  I am waiting in eager anticipation of the publication of Jasper Fforde’s next book, which is a sequel to my favourite of his books.  (I was disappointed to realise that I have read them all, although not always in the correct order.)  Shades of Grey is my favourite so far, followed closely by The Eye of Zoltar.  The next book is due out later this year.  I also learned from Jasper Fforde’s Twitter that The Last Dragonslayer is being filmed for SKY and due to be shown at Christmas 2016.

Library booksread in July

Library booksread in July

The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy was the second book by this author, which did not come up to the standard I expect.  It is a book of short stories (as was the other, published posthumously.)  I have to admit that I prefer novels to short stories.  In a way reading short stories is like reading a whole batch of first chapters in a row.  As soon as the scene is set, the story is half over.  These stories had been written at different times and collected together.  It struck me that the world in which we live today is far more dangerous than the world of the 1980s, for example.  In my opinion only two of the stories were worth reading.

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Did you miss me?

I forgot to write a post for this blog last week.  Today (Wednesday) I thought I needed one for Saturday and then realised it would be for tomorrow.  The subject of my post today on Sue’s words and pictures as well as the amount of reading I have been doing recently may have contributed to time getting away from me.

There has been a lot going on.  Wasps have built themselves a nest in a sheltered spot in our garden.  The flying ants flew from at least two nests at the front.  A raptor flew past one morning at breakfast time carrying a mouse.  The following morning it flew past at about the same time with empty talons.  It was probably a kestrel.

The sea was calm (the day) before the storm.  The temperature soared from about 17°C to about 35°C in the space of 24 hours.  After a walk in the morning I stayed indoors reading for most of the day.  A distant storm caused red flashes in the clouds.  Thunderstorms moved across bringing torrential rain and reports of a frog in our garden. (I did not see it.)  Before one wave of thunder and lightning the rooks took to the air – storm crows warning.

Dog-walking takes time too. People stop to talk.  In summer it is not unpleasant, but I should not like to have to go out up to four times a day in all weathers including winter.  It is a good thing that the animal is only on holiday and has not moved in permanently.  Housework takes longer with dog-hairs to clean up.

The garden needs a lot of time spent on it too.  After doing the housework and walking the dog, I had no enthusiasm for gardening on the day with the most suitable weather.  Then it was too hot and now it is too wet, although the rain is not falling at the moment.

Then there were things happening which involved me.  I took part in a concert of choral singing and readings last week.  I have been attending my usual activities, many of which now stop for the summer holidays and restart in September.

So I forgot to blog last week.  What of it?  Did you miss me?

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Looking back and looking forward

In our society much is made of anniversaries.  The recent anniversary of the Battle of the Somme led to many broadcasts and live events.  In the village where I live there are a number of War Memorials.  Sons of the parish gave their lives fighting for our country. Some Church members interested in local history decided to honour their memory with readings and songs.  One of the choirs in which I sing was involved at short notice.

It happened that I was otherwise occupied (with family) at the times of the practices.  Although I recognise that it is important to remember what has happened in the past and to learn from history, I believe that it is necessary to find a balance between looking back and looking forward.  We can only live in the present, but what we do now is affected by what has gone before and has power to affect the future for ourselves and others.

A friend invited me to a meeting the local Youth Church at exactly the same time as the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.  She is one of the leaders and I am almost a generation older than she is!  As I do not drive I needed a lift to the neighbouring parish.  I made enquiries from one of the youth leaders at our church about the intentions of people to attend the meeting.  Another friend was going, so I texted her to see if she could take me.  After some time she let me know that she was unable to attend.  Hubby came to the rescue and dropped me off at the other church.  One of the youth leaders from our Church was able to bring me back.

We began with a time of worship and a reading from 1 Samuel, which demonstrated how older people and younger people can help each other discover what God is saying.

The young people had made a video in which they explained, what are the most important things for them.   Most of them included family and friends.  Some mentioned Church, God or the Bible.  Some explained why money and education were important as they looked towards a time, when they would provide for a family of their own. One of the young adults, a worship-leader, explained that without Jesus there would be no point in having a church.

I have been thinking about the expression having other fish to fry.  It is used when someone has different priorities.  I was reminded of the story about Jesus after his resurrection.  (John 21) The disciples were fishing and had not caught anything.  Jesus told them where to cast their nets and they caught 153 fish!  He was making breakfast for them by frying other fish over a charcoal fire.

If words and sayings interest you, why not explore Sue’s considered trifles?