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What I read in June 2016

I have been reading fiction and non-fiction in June.

During Mental Health Awareness Week I retweeted a tweet from Lion Hudson and was surprised a couple of weeks later to learn that I had won a book.  The book I received at the beginning of June was Stress: How to de-stress without doing less by Dr Kate Middleton.  At least here in the UK The author’s name is memorable as it was also the maiden name of a young lady, who married into the royal family!

I reviewed Stress soon after I read it over on Sue’s considered trifles.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I also read six works of fiction.  (Two before Stress and four after.)

Being Miss by Fran Hill is a light-hearted look at a day in the life of a teacher in a private school in England.  The link is to a kindle edition, but I read a paperback copy.

The Silver Chair is from the Narnia series by CS Lewis.  For some reason I have not found the story of this book as memorable as some of the others.  In the few days before writers met at Scargill House in Yorkshire, there had been a family event on the theme of The Silver Chair.  On my return home I reread it.  This time I enjoyed it more than I had previously.  Eustace (a character from my favourite of the Narnia series – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) features in this story along with a girl from the dreadful school he attended.

The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier is an earthy historical novel set in North America in the time of Queen Victoria’s reign.  I have read several of Tracy Chevalier’s earlier books and am going to look out for a couple I have missed.  She writes extremely well; her books are always well-researched and approach her subject matter from an unusual angle.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is not by the originator of the characters, Bertie Wooster and his man-servant, Jeeves, but by Sebastian Faulks.  This book is a tribute to P.G.Wodehouse.  It maintains the same light-hearted style and the scheming of the characters is likely to keep readers turning the pages.  The layout of the paperback copy I borrowed from the library has more white space between the lines than the Penguin books by P.G. Wodehouse on my bookshelf. One of the reasons for writing the book was to introduce new (younger) readers to the original.  This would seem to be an effective way of doing so. It is a very funny book.

Chosen? by Mel Menzies is the second of the Evie Adams books.  I was a little disappointed by the layout of this book, but once I became lost in the story I stopped noticing the minor irritations.  I reviewed the first of these books, Time to Shine, last year. This latest book looks at family relationships and has some unexpected twists in the plot. I enjoyed it.

Losing Face by Annie Try tells a story using emails with Word documents attached to them.  The authors of these are two teenage girls.  Although one of the girls has suffered severe injuries in a road traffic accident, she attempts to reassure her friend (and the reader) that nothing she is about to read will be too gruesome. It is a well-written book about peer-pressure, friendship and many issues of relevance to young people.  The unusual format keeps the sections short and makes it easy to keep turning the pages.  I found that it worked extremely well.  It is an emotional read, but well worth the effort.

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My head is full of spaghetti

Last weekend I did something I had been hoping to do for about a year.  I went away for a long weekend to meet with a large group of writers.  Many of them are members of the Association of Christian Writers.  The speakers for the weekend were Adrian Plass, Bridget Plass (his wife) and Tony Collins, a publisher of fiction and the author of a non-fiction book, Taking my God for a Walk.

I have come back so full of stories, ideas and experiences that it feels as if my head is full of threads of spaghetti, which need time to settle down and become untangled.

It would be worse if I had remained indoors for Saturday afternoon and attended more sessions of information.  Instead I went for a two hour walk in the hills with five other people – not all writers.  After that I did some singing with six other women of various ages.  It was very enjoyable and relaxing.

I travelled on five trains and was a passenger in three different cars.  The journey took me from one county into two others and back again by a different scenic route.  Almost the entire journey was through beautiful countryside in Northern England.  Part of it was along the coast.

View from the train

View from the train

At one point in Yorkshire looking at the small stations I recalled a memorable day in November 2010, when I was in a party of four people travelling on four trains each way to reach Gruyère.  “Look at that castle!” I said.

“That’s where we are going,” replied my daughter.

I was amused by the contrast in size of a station (in Yorkshire) named Clapham with another station I travelled through twice over a month ago, which has a two-word name.

How can I unravel the spaghetti?

Unless my readers have any better ideas, I intend to let it simmer for a while.  I shall continue with my usual routine, trying to do all the important things, being flexible enough to cope with any unexpected events and letting strands of spaghetti out in the form of blog posts and other literary endeavours.

Hopefully nothing will boil over, burn or explode.  Perhaps some of the strands may even be nourishing.

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Alphabet rhyme: Z

My posts for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge 2016, here on Sue’s Trifles each consist of one line of a rhyme.  I have managed to provide an illustration for each letter.

Bag with stripes like a zebra

Bag with stripes like a zebra

Z is for zebra.  Are there stripes on its tongue?

As this is the final post for the challenge, I have included the whole rhyme here. Please scroll down to read it. To see all the illustrations, a list of posts is here. All the links are now active.

Sue’s Words and Pictures is also a participant in A to Z in April.

Alphabet rhyme

A is for arrow, pointing the way.
B is for beach in a sandy bay.

C is for cog, which goes round and round.
D is for dog, which may be a greyhound.

E is for egg – will something hatch out?
F is for forest – there are lots of trees about.

G is for goldfish hatched from an egg.
H is for hand not joined to a leg.

I is for icicle frozen from drips.
J is for jeans, which are fastened with zips.

K is for knob to open a door.
L is for light, which lets us see more.

M is for marrow, a large vegetable.
N is for narrow.  Squeeze through if you’re able!

O is for oblong, which is a rectangle.
P is for parachute not in a tangle.

Q is for question to help us to learn.
R is for rhyme, where sounds take their turn.

S is for sunshine to brighten the day.
T is for toys, with which we play.

U is for udder with milk from a cow.
V is for vanish.  Can you see me now?

W is for wood from trees, which make it up.
X is for xylophone.  Are you going to take it up?

Y is for youth or when you are young.
Z is for zebra.  Are there stripes on its tongue?