March round-up

With the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge not far ahead I have plenty to write about today. This post is in 3 sections: Blogging and The A to Z Challenge, reviews of The Lost Chapter, and of Wild Places.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog will have noticed a new page has appeared for the A to Z Challenge 2023. So far there is a link to my theme reveal post, but new links should appear during April, with the page being complete with links to my whole challenge some time in May (after the A to Z reflections post).

This year I have attempted to do the challenge in a less time-consuming way. As a result there are lots of links, which I’d be very pleased if my readers were to right click on and look at other posts and particularly passages from the Bible.

My theme reveal post explains what I have been doing. (I started early in the year and my posts are more or less ready.)

I find the A to Z Challenge enjoyable to take part in and have found some very interesting blogs by other participants.

Because I have 26 posts on the days recommended for the challenge, a few extra posts may also appear on Sundays in April. I can promise at least one book review.

After a short spell of knitting rather than reading, I am enjoying reading again and have two books to tell you about in this post.

Book review: The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Cover of The Lost Chapter

When I returned The Book of Longings to the library I found The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop in the fiction section. Her debut novel was The Other Daughter. I began reading The Lost Chapter almost immediately and finished it the next day. The tagline is It’s never too late to start writing a different story…

The story is about an unlikely friendship between a troubled 18-year-old, Alice, and an octogenarian artist, Florence. A book Florence is reading makes her face her past and leads to unexpected events. It was interesting to read this immediately after The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ, which is intended for younger readers, but deals with some similar issues.

The Lost Chapter is available as a paperback, an ebook and an audiobook.

Book Review: Wild Places by Sarah Baxter illustrated by Amy Grimes

Cover of Wild Places

This beautiful Inspired Travellers Guide almost jumped into my hand from the New books display at the library the day I borrowed The Book of Longings and another book I am still reading. While I have no intention to visit any of the Wild Places apart from one not far from where I live, I enjoyed Sarah Baxter’s wonderful descriptions and the beautiful art. Her writing is concise, painting vivid pictures with details of wildlife, landscape, geology and human activity in each place. I could only read a couple of chapters at a time as they needed to be absorbed slowly. Amy Grimes’ illustrations are also spectacular.

One of the places featured is the Carmargue. It reminded me of a poem I had loved in my teens and not thought about for a long time. Horses on the Carmargue by Roy Campbell proved difficult to learn by heart, but is beautiful all the same. I found it in The Oxford Book of Animal Poems, which seems to be out of print now.

The Wild Places described are from almost all the continents and some islands. Many are difficult to visit. I enjoyed it as an armchair traveller!

Two books I read during Lent

A friend gave me a copy of An Ocean of Grace by Tim Chester. This is a Lent book organised with an introduction followed by one reading for each day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. The subtitle is ‘A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past’.

The readings have been collected and edited by Tim Chester, who provides an introduction to each. The theme is God’s great love for us. The readings are full of praise and the original writers’ understanding of what God has done for us. They included the work of many writers new to me and some I had heard of but not read before.

As I wasn’t well during Lent I only read through each day’s reading once. I hope to use this book again next year and spend more time on it.

Photo of the two books reviewed in this post

The other book I read had been on my TBR pile for some time. I bought Hallowed be Thy Names: The revelation of God through His names by David Wilkerson in the local Christian bookshop. The title attracted me. Perhaps I should have read it before writing my series of posts for the A to Z Challenge in 2015! I was interested to learn about some Hebrew names.

Hallowed be thy Names is one of a series of Christian classics from Rickfords Hill Publishing (RHP) available at the price of £1.00.

David Wilkerson’s purpose in writing the book was to share the names of God, which had been most help to him during difficult times. The book does not claim to be exhaustive in the names explained, but takes us through the Bible concentrating on people’s encounters with God. The aim is to help readers to gain heart knowledge of God. I found it very interesting and helpful, reading a chapter at a time as the author suggested.

I have begun to read it for a second time and intend to look up all the Bible references this time.

Books about writing and reading from BorrowBox

The next two books I am reviewing are connected by subject matter.

Ernest Hemingway on writing edited by Larry W. Phillips is a compilation of Hemingway’s thoughts about writing. I have not read any of Ernest Hemingway’s books, but he was a famous author living from 1899-1961 who is currently being featured due to the 60th anniversary of his death. (I learned that sadly he took his own life.)

This is not a book for people, who avoid reading bad language, but it is an insight into the way one author thought about and approached his work. The extracts are taken from personal letters and from his works of fiction.

The Girl who reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury is a delightful story with some sad events, which was quite different from anything I had read before. It is the first book by Christine Féret-Fleury to be translated from French to English. There is mystery and sadness, but as the blurb on BorrowBox indicated it is a book to leave you with a smile on your face.

Like The Librarian by Salley Vickers and Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm, The Girl who reads on the Métro includes a list of titles. Unlike the other two books with lists, there was only one book listed, which I have read: Tess of the D’Urbevilles. There are also questions for book groups. I recommend it to lovers of fiction.