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Five books I read in December 2020

All the books in this post were eBooks from BorrowBox. I returned them before beginning to write this post, so I am relying on my memory. At the time of writing I have read five more books, so my memory is a little congested!

The Truth Pixie goes to School by Matt Haig illustrated by Chris Mould

Having read The Girl who saved Christmas in which the Truth Pixie is a character, I borrowed and enjoyed another of Matt Haig’s children’s books, The Truth Pixie goes to School. It is a delightful story with a serious message about dealing with bullies at a new school.

 

 

 

Cover The Watchmaker of Filigree StreetThe Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

This is a story mainly set in London early in the 20th century, but also partly in another country. There are several strands with lots of interesting characters: a female research scientist, a genius watch-maker, Irish activists, civil servants and more. It is quirky, mixing imagination with historical facts, and exciting. I could hardly put it down.

 

Born at the right time: A memoir by Ron McCallumCover photo

Ron McCallum’s very readable memoir tells how he overcame his lifelong disability (blindness) to become an eminent Australian academic. He tells of his faults as well as his achievements. I was particularly interested in the history of the technology, which helps people with visual impairment to read and to use computers. (I am aware of some people, who already use this sort of technology and others, who might find it useful.) He also talks about his spiritual beliefs: his Roman Catholic background has been influenced by Buddhism.

Cover - Mr MiracleMr Miracle: Will they give love a chance this Christmas? by Debbie Macomber

When I read that the angel, who is the main character in the book, had angel friends called Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, I knew I was in for a treat! Life as an earth-bound angel was not quite what he expected. This is a light read with a Christmas theme set in the USA.

The Christmas Train: It’ll take a miracle to get home by David Baldacci was another light read for the Christmas season. I had heard of the author, but not read any of his books. This page-turner is a mystery, a romance and a travel adventure. It is set in the USA and has US vocabulary.

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Christmas Greetings!

This year has been difficult for everyone, but there is still hope. In John’s gospel 1:5 we read, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I prepared a digital Christmas card before the UK government announced a tightening of restrictions over Christmas. Now people are only allowed to meet on one day, forcing any plans for extended visits to be cancelled.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare a room. and Heav'n and Nature sing.

My card is a reminder that Christmas is still about the positive aspects of God’s gifts to us including Love, Joy and Peace.

Whatever your circumstances at this time, I pray that you will be blessed with a knowledge of the Giver of all good gifts.

The picture is one I have coloured from Images of Joy by Jacqui Grace, published by Just cards Direct.

(In 2013 I wrote a Christmas Eve prayer, which is still relevant today.)

What I read in March 2019 (Part 2)

I have not yet finished reading all the books I received at Christmas. The book I am reviewing here is one gift I have read – The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book: Pit your wits against Britain’s greatest map makers by Ordnance Survey and Dr Gareth Moore.

This is a fascinating book. There are puzzles based on 40 maps. I have attempted all of them and failed to score 100% on any! (I didn’t spend enough time checking and double-checking my answers in some cases. In others my general knowledge was not sufficiently general.) There is history, general knowledge, cryptic clues and obviously geography and map-reading. I looked at the first puzzle with the person, who had chosen it for this keen puzzler. It is possible for two people sitting side-by-side to see the maps. Some of the questions involving counting would make an interesting activity for a grandparent and a child of junior school age, for instance.

I found some of the maps particularly interesting as they are of places I have passed through. The Whipsnade Lion is a landmark I have spotted many times from Virgin Trains West Coast line. Because it intrigued me I found out about it online. I was delighted to see it on one of the maps. The background to each map is very interesting and a history of map-making and of trig points provided me with new information. (I enjoy learning new things.)

This is a book I shall revisit and perhaps introduce to other family members. The kind of questions set in the book could be the basis of family activities using maps they may already have. I remember being introduced to Ordnance Survey maps by my father. One of the things he taught me was how to fold them! Anyhow, I have been interested in maps and puzzles from childhood. A good choice!

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