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Three works of fiction

On my first visit to the public library for months I was in a hurry and grabbed two books. It was only when I arrived home that I realised one was a large print edition. My ageing eyes did not complain!

Cover of Mum & Dad. Text over vine leaves and stalks

The book was Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope. The Mum and Dad in the title are the grandparents. There are three other mums and dads and their teenage children in the family. A change in circumstances for Mum and Dad leads to all sorts of unexpected consequences for all the generations.

It is a sensitively written book, which I enjoyed. It is also available in hardback, paperback and Kindle editions.

The next two books I read were both by Alexander McCall Smith, borrowed from the library on different days. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones is in the 44 Scotland Street series with characters such as 6-year-old Bertie and his friends as well as adults of various ages. There is a wedding, an eventful honeymoon and plenty more to keep the pages turning. There are illustrations too.

Cover of The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. Hot-air balloon, banner with title and a street with houses with 4 storeys.

Your Inner Hedgehog by Alexander McCall Smith is in a newer series – A Professor Dr Igelfeld Adventure. I haven’t read the two earlier books, but that was no disadvantage in reading Your Inner Hedgehog, which was published this year (2021). I found a hardback copy when I returned the previous books. The chapters are numbered in German with delightful illustrations by Iain McIntosh. Some unexpected events arise from the office politics in a German University and when foreign academics visit Oxford University. Romance philology (the study of words of a related group of languages rather than romantic words!) and discussions about grammar make a change from the settings (in Edinburgh and Botswana) of three earlier series by Alexander McCall Smith, which I have dipped into. I learned that der Igel is a hedgehog and Igelfeld in English would be ‘hedgehog field’, in case you are wondering about the title. The genre is literary fiction: it is not as light a read as most other books I have read by Alexander McCall Smith.

Photo of hardback copy of Your inner Hedgehog. The illustration includes a headgehog, a mortar board (graduate headwear) and a building with a tower.
Photo of Your Inner Hedgehog

Your Inner Hedgehog is currently available as a hardback or CD-audio. The paperback edition may be pre-ordered.

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Not quite rhyming – slanted paint chips

This week’s challenge from Linda Kruschke is from the letter S. The definition of slant rhyme is long, so why not pop over to her blog to find out all about it?

The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are wheat fields, raven, moonstone, foggy harbor, and brown-paper package. In celebration of my 35th wedding anniversary, I would like you to use three of these five paint chips in your poem. They can be part of a slant rhyme or used elsewhere in the poem.

Linda Kruschke
From summer to autumn
It’s September – the wheat fields
Are stubble as the farmer counts the yield.
Nearby the early-morning foggy harbour
Lies on the route to work for the carpenter.
A raven has a favourite haunt.
It can fly, but I know I can’t!
Raven perched on a sea cliff with view of a bay and village in top left
The raven’s favourite haunt

Post updated with edits to the second verse. 5 September 2021

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Two amazing books inspired by the Bible

I usually read any book I review here on Sue’s Trifles from cover to cover before I write about it. The reason I am making an exception in this case is that the books are worth mentioning although I have not yet reached the end of them.

The books are The Infographic Bible and The Book of Psalms in Rhyme.

The Infographic Bible

Cover of The Infographic Bible in a brownish shade with gold writing and patterning
Photo of front of The Infographic Bible

I received The Infographic Bible: Visualising the Drama of God’s Word as a Christmas present soon after it was published in November 2018. Karen Sawrey presents an enormous amount of information from the Bible in a diagrammatic form. It is not for people, who find reading difficult, but is a useful way of seeing an overview of various aspects of, for example, Biblical history mostly in large double spreads.

Two examples of the sort of information collated in The Infographic Bible from input provided by a large team of experts are clean and unclean animals, and the good and bad kings with the prophets of their times.

I began reading it from cover to cover and reached pages 86/87 out of 224. Having picked it up again to write this review I am inclined to take a really good look at it to find out what is included, rather than reading every word. When I have learned my way around it, it will become a useful reference book.

I was interested to note that one of the contributors was Nick Page.

Back cover of the Infographic Bible with endorsements, blurb and list of contributors
Photo of back of The Infographic Bible

The Book of Psalms in Rhyme

The second book I am reviewing here is another rather ambitious project based on the Bible.

I received a .pdf Advance Review Copy of The Book of Psalms in Rhyme on the understanding that I’d post an honest review on goodreads and/or Amazon. The launch date of 30 August 2021 was too close to the date I received the ARC for me to be able to read the entire book.

Regular readers of this blog will know that The Psalms are one of my favourite parts of the Bible and writing rhyme is one of my interests. To render all 150 psalms in rhyme is a big project and Brendan Conboy has done well. His style is similar to rap, with some long rhyming lines and other lines with rhyming words in the middle and at the end.

Before the launch date I only managed to read about 20 of the rhyming psalms. They are true to the meaning of the English translations of the Psalms. David’s earnest rhyming prayers have an urgency and vibrancy, which might be missed in older versions.

I particularly like the rendering of Selah as (Pause in his presence). The Psalms are meant to be used to learn about and draw closer to God. This book will be helpful and I look forward to reading it to the end.

I have also reviewed it on Goodreads:

The book of PSALMS in RhymeThe book of PSALMS in Rhyme by Brendan Conboy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews