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Book Review: Love in the Time of Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

Love in the Time of Bertie was a library book I borrowed with The Book Share by Phaedra Patrick. My regular readers will know that Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favourite authors. Love in the Time of Bertie is the most recent book in the 44 Scotland Street series about a precocious child living in Edinburgh. There are many characters, who will be familiar from earlier books in the series described as ‘the world’s longest-running serial novel’. It was published in November 2021.

Photo of the library book. Alexander McCall Smith A 44 Scotland Street Novel Love in the time of Bertie.
Picture is of a dark blue sky with waves and swirls, a decorated kite flies above the title. It has a red tail pointing to a crescent of city buildings in front of which a boy is holding the string

New readers would not have any trouble joining the story part way through. I haven’t read every episode. The last page tickled me almost as much as some of the incidents. ‘THE END’ was followed by a proviso! The next book in the series is to be published on 3 November 2022.

Other books by Alexander McCall Smith I have read and reviewed:

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

The Careful Use of Compliments

 The uncommon appeal of clouds

Bertie plays the Blues

Trains and Lovers: The heart’s journey

The Novel Habits of Happiness

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Tears of the Giraffe

Precious and the Monkeys Precious Ramotswe’s very first case

Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill A new case for Precious Ramotswe.

The Bertie Project

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

Your Inner Hedgehog

How to Raise an Elephant

The Pavilion in the Clouds

26

Sue’s A to Z Reflections 2022 #AtoZChallenge

This year in addition to completing the challenge on my own blog, I was privileged to have a post on the official Blogging from A to Z blog. Through the comments on my guest post I found some new blogs to visit.

I had written and scheduled my posts before the end of March. This might have left me with more time for visiting and commenting on blogs, but I had not allowed for some health issues and other time-management priorities. It is impossible to follow more than a handful of blogs during the challenge. I seem to remember that the first time I took part we were encouraged to follow five blogs near to us on the sign-up list.

In practice everyone will follow their own interests and find like-minded bloggers.

My thanks go to all those who have visited my blog, especially to the A to Z team. Special thanks to Anjela Curtis for the graphics and J Lenni Dorner for posting my guest post.

I’ll begin with the bloggers, whose posts I did not wish to miss. Apart from the official A to Z Challenge blog and its copy on WordPress I have three favourites.

The quiet writer prepares her posts with attention to detail. She is a seasoned A to Zer. Her previous challenges are worth reading if you missed them. This time she has written about British bridges.
Barbie is another veteran of A to Z. Her posts are interesting and she has links to many challenge participants, promoting visiting and commenting. (I still have to catch up with most of her posts.)
Lynne has done the challenge a few times, but missed the sign-up list this time. Her coloured quirky sketches show street scenes in Peterborough, England – a place I have not visited.

When I signed up to the A to Z Challenge his year I didn’t click the ‘look for new blogs’ check box. New blogs came looking for me!

New blogs to me

Janet Woods’ thoughts is a blog I intend to revisit.
Lady Lee Manila’s theme was poetic forms – some which were new to me.
More poetry from Imagery77, and from Monty at montysblahg.

I found it difficult to comment on this blog, but the owners were very supportive of my A to Z. Thank you Rishie and Bilbo.
Cheryl‘s personal blog.
Ronel writes about books.
A good story by a supportive blogger, Leslie, was too painful for me to read at the present time.

Genealogy is a recent hobby of mine, so I may catch up with Anne Young’s blog later.
A thought-provoking post from Barb Klein.
Unfortunately I cannot strain my eyes by trying to reading purple on black or I’d have spent more time reading a post about rockets from Regina.
Anne’s blog looks interesting but the text size is very small. (Almost ten years of blogging has not improved my eyesight!)
A blog with interesting photos belongs to Anne M Bray.
An interesting blog with good sized type from Betty, and a post from Tim Brannan I found interesting.

Gonzalo‘s blog about gaming
Andrew blogs about food.

Blogs I already followed or had visited previously

Three A to Z team members:
The Multicolored Diary has fascinating folklore stories based around gemstones from a member of the A to Z team. Csenge is the given name of the blogger posting as A Tarkabarka Hölgy on the official A to Z blog. Her full name is Zalka Csenge Virág.
Tossing it out is the blog of the founder of the challenge, Arlee Bird.
The sound of one hand typing is John Holton’s blog. He is the computer wizard, who set up the simulcast blog on WordPress.

Other bloggers I recognised from earlier A to Z Challenges

Thank you, Dave, for encouraging me to take part again this year. I’m glad I did!

Dean is a very supportive blogger with an A to Z about boxing.

I didn’t find time to follow all of Jamie‘s posts.
Poetry from Donna
A post I enjoyed from Trisha Faye.
Damyanti is a veteran A to Zer.
Anstice has a blog which I visited more than once.

Jazmin writes about her faith.

A blog with the theme women’s interest.
Astrid‘s blog.
A writing friend, Sophie Neville is a newcomer to A to Z, who approached the challenge in a novel way.
Janet’s smiles is the blog of a very creative blogger.

Church music played by Romi, which I hope to listen to later.
Amusing art from Cathy
History from Sara Zama, which I hope to read later.
Vidya writes about books

Excerpts from her book Deeply Shallow: The Tale of the Hostage Prince by Anna Tan

Thank you to all the bloggers, who have read, liked, commented on and shared my posts. I hope to catch up with some of the blogs in this post through the year, Perhaps I should sign up for the road trip, although in previous years I have failed to visit many A to Z posts after the challenge. By using links from this post I may have more success than from the whole sign-up list of 235 blogs!

If we interacted during the A to Z challenge and I have failed to mention your blog in this post, I apologise. Please remind me in the comments.

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!