More books I read in February 2019

I have read two more library books (fiction) by authors who live or lived in Cumbria and two slim volumes of poetry by a poet in the North East.

Mother Can You Hear Me?

mother can you hear me? by Margaret Forster is a novel, which explores the relationship between the main character (Angela) and her mother as well as Angela’s relationship with her daughter. Generational differences and changes in attitudes as society changes are well-portrayed. It is not a particularly hopeful book, but is well-written. The settings are London and the West Country. I have enjoyed other books by this author more than this one.

I was rather reluctant to start reading Burning Secrets by Ruth Sutton, which is set in Cumbria at the time of the serious outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Having lived in Cumbria at that time and being aware of the effect of this disease on the farming and wider community, I was concerned that it might be upsetting to read about it. Once I began reading, I could hardly put this book down. The story is fast-paced and exciting. The descriptions of the effects of FMD are fairly low key. The strap line on the cover is A ravaged landscape. A fractured family. A missing child.

This book is well-produced. Another book which includes the FMD outbreak is The Embalmer’s Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard, which I reviewed earlier.

The poetry books I read were Hope in Dark Places and Love in Thin Places by David Grieve. The second of these was published this month. I bought them from the publisher as part of my Christmas present. (A special offer was advertised on Twitter.) Hope in Dark Places includes helpful advice for people suffering from depression and for people, who come into contact with them. As I have suffered from depression in the past I am aware how lacking in understanding some people are.

I enjoyed both books and intend to return to them from time to time. The second had similarities with another book I read and reviewed on this blogSanctuary by Martyn Halsall. Each was inspired by a cathedral in the North of England. I have visited Durham Cathedral twice (once as a child and once as an adult). I have lost count of how many times I have visited Carlisle Cathedral!

What I read in April 2016

As a participant in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge, I have been reading a lot of A to Z blog posts.  Many of my regular activities took a two week break over Easter, so I had more time at home.

This post is really about the books I have finished reading in April.  Some of them were the sort of books which cannot be read from cover to cover in a day or two.

I read The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock.  This is a series of tales about Benedictine monks living at the time of Chaucer, as told to a teenage girl in the 20th century.  Each story takes up a chapter and I found that one was sufficient at a sitting as they gave me food for thought.  I really enjoyed this book and intend to read others in the series.

I began reading The Apple of his Eye: Discovering God’s loving purpose for each one of us by Bridget Plass part way through February.  It is an ideal book to read in Lent.  I added it to my quiet time readings.  It is a book, which helps its readers to accept how much each is loved by God.  I finished reading it after Easter and recapped the Easter story through it.  I recommend this book.

Another book I added to my quiet time readings is a book of modern poetry.  Sanctuary by Martyn Halsall includes many poems written during his time as poet in residence at Carlisle Cathedral.  These poems require careful reading.  I intend to go through the book again, making a list of the parts of the cathedral, which inspired particular poems.  Then I shall take my list and the book to the cathedral and see how the background adds to my appreciation of the poems.

Sometimes we are nudged towareds more than one book on the same theme.  A friend from the Ladies’ Bible study group lent me a book, which (like Bridget Plass’s book) I had been aware of for a long time and which had been recommended to me.  The Return of the Prodigal Son A story of Homecoming by Henri J.M. Nouwen is another book about the love of God.  It is very readable, with chapters divided into shorter sections.

I don’t know why it can be hard to accept that we are loved to the extent that God loves us.  When we do accept it and remember to be thankful it can make a huge difference to our lives.

Here in the UK we are celebrating the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.  A book about her life of service and her faith has been beautifully produced.  The Servant Queen and the King she serves has beautiful pictures and extracts from her Christmas broadcasts to the nation (and the Commonwealth).  It is a book to keep as a souvenir and a reminder of how powerful people can also have a servant heart.

Linking with emily p freeman


The blog post I nearly forgot to write

Displaying a badge from the Daily Post is my promise to post once a week.  I suddenly realised late in the afternoon on Friday I had nothing prepared and scheduled for the following day.  It has been a busy week.  I have spent more time than usual doing things away from my computer inside and outside my home.

I consulted my ideas folder and realised I could write about a few books, which I have read recently.

In January I read a book by an author, who had been recommended to me.  It was The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.  Soon after that a friend invited me out to lunch with a few more of her female friends.  My nearest neighbours and I spent some time discussing books.  As a result I recommended this book to one of them.  Later she told me that she had bought a copy with a book token she received for Christmas.  This week I learned it is the next book on her ‘to read’ pile.  I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Finding a book set in France reminded me I had not read anything in French for years.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I had chosen another library book.  It was L’Etranger by Albert Camus in a school edition with the story analysed in the preface and innumerable footnotes, which mostly made it unnecessary to have a dictionary to hand.

I have a copy of a French edition of another book by Camus – La Peste (The Plague).  It is much longer than The Outsider.  I have read it twice, I think, having bought it a long time ago.  Reading The Outsider in French, I was struck by the descriptions and the high quality of the writing.  However, I am glad I did not pursue my studies of languages in a formal setting any longer than I did.  In my opinion it is more fun to follow one’s own interests in reading than to be forced to study literature for exams.

I am currently reading three books (apart from the Bible and dated Bible reading notes).  One is a book by Bridget Plass, The Apple of His Eye.  I have been aware of this book ever since it was published in 1996, but have not felt like reading it before.  As I am hoping to meet the author and her husband later this year, I thought it was about time!  I am really enjoying this book, which is in short sections including a passage from the Bible, a reflection and a prayer.  I have added it and one poem a day from the next book to my morning quiet time.

The second book was written by Martyn Halsall (a retired journalist) during his time as Poet in Residence at Carlisle Cathedral.  As an aspiring poet, who has visited Carlisle Cathedral more than once, I am finding the book fascinating and myself somewhat cut down to size.  The title of the book and one of the poems is Sanctuary.

The third book is Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt.  I am enjoying this book, which is set in Cumbria and written by an author of my acquaintance.  Some of Kate Hewitt’s books are only available as e-books.  I prefer to read a book than to use the Kindle app on my laptop, so I am glad to have found a second-hand paperback copy.


In other news I have signed up for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge for this blog and Sue’s words and pictures.  This week the Link up for the A to Z theme reveal went live and I have signed both blogs up for that.  There is still plenty of time to join in.  It is a good way of finding other interesting blogs, as well as encouraging and being encouraged by other bloggers.