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Three short books from BorrowBox

As well as reading printed books, I have been reading some books on my phone. As I have finished reading seven books and not yet reviewed them, there will be reviews of three books in this post.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran’s book is written as allegorical poetry and contains much wisdom. The Prophet was about to set sail from a city and before he went he was asked for advice by various groups of people. The Prophet is probably best known for the section about children. This is addressed to parents. I enjoyed this book and was interested to learn a little about the author. There were illustrations, but how they were relevant to the book escaped me at the time. I have since learned that he was also an artist. Really it is a book to return to, but reading it on BorrowBox is a good introduction. It was first published in the USA in 1923.

No-one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg from Sweden is well-known for her activism on climate change. As a schoolgirl she has managed to attract international attention. Her book, No-one is too small to make a difference is a collection of her speeches to various important meetings. As her message is the same, there was a lot of repetition, but it was interesting to read her words and to note which important meetings she had spoken at. Climate change is an important issue and one that should be taken notice of by everyone. Decisions taken by older people will affect today’s children and future generations.

Captain Tom’s Life Lessons by Captain Tom Moore

In 2020 centenarian Captain Tom Moore (1920-2021) captured the hearts of the British public by his sponsored walk around his garden using his zimmer frame. He raised a very large sum of money for National Health Service Charities. As a result he also gained an honorary degree and a knighthood. His book is written as he spoke with Yorkshire phrases, such as ‘When I were a lad’. His life story is interwoven with advice for good-living. While he did not consider himself religious, it was apparent that the faith and morals of his grandparents had influenced his character. It is a heart-warming book.

I recommend these three influential books from very different authors. They are all published by Penguin. Perhaps you have read one or more of them already. If so, what did you think?

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My Blogiversary post for 2021

It was 23 July 2012 when I published my first blog post on Sue’s Considered Trifles. I have not added any new material to that blog for some time, but it could be useful to writers wishing to know which phrases were in use in the second half of the 20th century.

Tomorrow will be 23 July 2021, so that marks 9 years of more-or-less regular blogging. Sue’s Trifles, which has become my main blog, is a bit younger having its first post on 25 March 2013. I chose the theme Pachyderm for reasons I explained here. It is perhaps a little twee. Should I change it?

At first my posts were written in response to daily prompts from WordPress, but these were discontinued. Since 2013 I have taken part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge every year and in 2016 I also completed the challenge on Sue’s words and pictures, which I began in March 2015. My first post is here.

My What’s new page lists all my writing adventures, if adventures is not too exciting a word for my exploits!

Nine years is a long time and my off-line interests have changed gradually as time has gone on. My favourite games are now Rummikub and Triominoes, with Scrabble and Upwords demoted to occasional use. Even before the pandemic I had stopped going to the craft group, the reading group and an embroidery group, which may all have been mentioned here on Sue’s Trifles.

I am far more involved with social media now than I ever imagined would be the case. When I began blogging, I was unaware that it was social media and that I’d make online friends among people in various countries, who also blog.

My first reviews of books I read appeared on Sue’s Considered Trifles as a page or pages. Gradually book reviews have become the major part of my blogging activities. If you had told my 10-year-old self that this would be the case, she would have been incredulous. Having to write a review of every book read and to queue up to show the review to the teacher before being allowed to choose another book, led me to choose the thickest book on the shelf in the classroom! (Writing and queuing stole valuable reading time.)

I try to include occasional craft posts and faith posts, or reflective posts such as this one for those readers, who perhaps followed Sue’s Trifles after reading posts in those categories. I am currently rereading the psalms, attempting to keep up with another blogger, who tweets every day. A few years ago I joined in with his #psalmtweets.

Lockdown has affected both Sue’s Trifles, where Paint Chip Poems have become a regular feature, and Sue’s words and pictures, where photo challenges have provided a source of inspiration rather than outings to places of interest. At the time of writing a few posts of local interest are in the pipeline and one has been published already.

As restrictions are lifted in the UK, I am spending more time outside the home – if only in the garden! In fact gardening is seasonal. I have returned to my voluntary job and am attending some church services, but not singing in the choir.

Although I carried out my garden survey this year at the end of March, I have not yet found time to compare the results with those for previous years.

My word for the year, Focus, has proved helpful as I seem to be able to work more efficiently than at some times in the past. There are always distractions like other people’s blogs to read, conversations to join in with on social media and podcasts and videos by blogging/writing friends.

My quiet times continue to include the Bible reading notes I mentioned here.

I also try to keep my contents and other lists up-to-date, although they seem to be of more use to me than to my valued readers.

What about the future of my blogs? Book reviews and paint chip poetry are likely to make up the majority of my posts on Sue’s Trifles. The photo challenge posts on Sue’s words and pictures are likely to continue on Wednesdays with posts on some Saturdays about places visited or events, such as a steam train passing along the local railway line.

Thank you for reading my 959th post on Sues Trifles!

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Book review: Three trilogies by John Galsworthy

Among the books I recently inherited were three volumes by John Galsworthy, which had been passed down from a grandparent to my parents. These books are family sagas spanning the years from 1886 to the 1930s. John Galsworthy wrote them between 1904 and 1932. The language is somewhat different from modern UK English, especially where colloquialisms are used. Galsworthy lived from 1867 to 1933.

Three green volumes with gold lettering supported by bookends with globes depicting old maps of earth
Book covers have changed since the early 20th century

The Forsyte Saga is the first volume consisting of The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let, with interludes between each novel.

A Modern Comedy includes The White Monkey, The Silver Spoon and Swan Song , also with interludes between each novel.

End of the Chapter comprises three novels: Maid in Waiting, Flowering Wilderness and Over the River.

I began reading the series on 11 March, interspersing it with other books, and finished it towards the end of June.

This was my second attempt at reading The Forsyte Saga. During my teenage years a TV serialisation was broadcast, but we did not have a TV set at that time. A well-meaning friend of the family sent the first two paperback books as presents for the youngsters in our family. They sat reproachfully on our bookshelf for many years having been opened, but not read beyond the first few pages. I now realise that there was little in the content of relevance to such young people. What readers gain from any book depends to a large extent on the knowledge they already have. Court cases, marital difficulties and having a house built are outside the experience of teenagers. Indeed for many adults these are vicarious experiences.

The Forsyte Saga begins on 15 June 1886 and Over the River ends in the early 1930s. The many changes in attitudes, dress, transport and government are the background to these serious novels with some gentle humour, notably in the choice of some names. There is a strong awareness of the social problems of the times. Although the books are set mainly in London and the Home Counties, there is some travel and descriptions of the wider world. In The Forsyte Saga there is an extensive family tree, which folds out. An extra generation has been added to a similar one in A Modern Comedy.

By the time End of the Chapter is reached the central characters are no longer Forsytes, although they do have some interaction with members of that family. Forsyte is the surname of a family, but Galsworthy also used ‘Forsytes’ to represent all middle class persons with capitalist tendencies. The inheritance of family wealth has a strong influence on characters and events.

The religious views and changes in attitudes during the time span of the series are occasionally touched upon. Apart from one or two clergymen, who seem to act more from a sense of duty, and perhaps compassion for the underprivileged people in their parishes, than from religious conviction, there is little faith among the characters. At the time Christianity was often seen as something to agree or disagree with intellectually. The theory of evolution was used as a major argument against Christianity, not that it should have been in my opinion. There are one or two glimpses of characters, whose appreciation of spiritual matters is a little deeper than that of the majority. Several of the characters display a background knowledge of Bible stories. Church-going and teaching of scripture in schools was usual at the time.

As in any saga there is joy and sorrow. The character and decisions of older generations affect the lives of younger ones.

I found the series fascinating and well worth the trouble of reading three tomes with thin paper and rather unfamiliar language. There are many sentences, which are quotable even without their original context.

These books are available from the usual places and also on Project Gutenberg and Kindle.