2 Books I read in September 2020

When I chose four library books I was looking for a mixture of light and more serious reading. The two books reviewed here are both fiction. The second one is a more serious book taking more time to be read.

Don't tell the Groom cover

Don’t tell the groom: Will Penny be able to keep her secret long enough to say I will? by Anna Bell

Don’t tell the groom was the book, about which I tweeted, ‘I accidentally read a book from cover to cover’. I had begun reading it in the car while I was waiting for hubby in the car park. I picked it up again after lunch and read to the end. Like It all began with a Tweet, which I reviewed earlier, this is a lighthearted amusing story with an underlying social problem as a key part of the story. In this case it is online gambling and the gambler’s web of deceit, which make the plot not just interesting but gripping right to the end. There are well-drawn characters and some puzzling things, which kept the pages turning as I wanted to discover the reasons behind them.

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

The Mermaid Chair cover

Having read and enjoyed other titles* by Sue Monk Kidd, I picked up The Mermaid Chair, a thought-provoking novel set in an imaginary location in South Carolina. The story explores issues of mental health, love, religion, superstition and life in close knit communities – family, an island, a monastery – using believable characters. The decisions faced by some of the characters make an interesting story with unexpected twists in the plot. As in all good novels the characters undergo a change in the course of the story.

An interview with the author and reading group questions were included in the paperback copy. I was interested to learn that Sue Monk Kidd attended Texas Christian University and is married to a theologian.

*Please click to read my review of The Invention of Wings. I also read Life of Bees before I began blogging about books.

An index of books I have reviewed may be found by clicking here (Authors A-M) and here (Authors N-Z).

4

My 800th post on Sue’s Trifles

I was looking for inspiration for a post other than a book review this week, when I discovered that I have already published 799 posts on Sue’s Trifles; this is my 800th! It is also the 78th since this time last year. I have also added some more pages.

In the past I have occasionally written posts looking back and taking stock of what I have done. This  helps me to plan what I might write next.

Sue’s Trifles, as I was explaining the other day to a writer I had met for the first time, is my second blog. My first blog, Sue’s considered trifles, had a particular purpose. When I posted other material there it was not welcomed by some of my original followers. So I started a new blog. That was in March 2013.

Looking for additional ideas for posts, I searched for challenges and discovered I was just in time to take part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge. It was a steep learning curve, but I have taken part every year since then.

Perhaps the forty five new people who have followed my blog in the last 12 months (thank you!) would be interested in its history. (My other valued followers will no doubt have read any posts that caught their attention!) My What’s new? page is a record of my writing/blogging activities.

My inspiration for posts on this blog (other than A to Z, which I mentioned earlier)  has included writing prompts from WordPress’s the Daily Post, craft projects I have completed, social activities I have been involved with, books I have read and (for posts like this) my earlier blogging.

This may also be a good opportunity to share my reaction to reading my New Year ‘s post, which ended:-

To conclude, in 2019 I am going to try to

  • be more focused on my writing
  • communicate better with the people around me
  • listen more
  • be less irritable
  • improve my fitness by spending less time sitting down
  • use my skills to help other people
  • remember to trust God and not to rely on myself
  • rejoice in the Lord always Philippians 4:4

So how am I doing? I’d like to think that I am making progress at least some of the time. The last one brought me up short, though. There has been much sadness locally this year. A number of friends/spouses of friends have left this earthly life behind. Others are suffering. Perhaps my Bible verse should be, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’. Romans 12:15 (NIV)

To end on a lighter note, there have been some amusing incidents, when I have been out and about. Two relate to my wild flower spotting activities.

When I was pointing my phone at a wall, a couple watched and the man said, “That’ll make a good photo!” I don’t always recognise sarcasm. In this case, I suspected it, but I explained that I was taking photos of flowers and asked them if they knew what they were. They didn’t, so I told them. They were probably underwhelmed.

A retired gentleman with walking sticks was stopping every few feet and leaning on the sea-defences. Hubby asked, “All right?” He replied, “I’m looking at the wild flowers.” On learning that I was also interested, he queried what a particular plant was. (It was a stunted specimen near the sea.) We chatted for a short time. He explained that he had taken up the study of wild flowers instead of his former hobby of bird spotting. His children used to frighten the birds!

If you’ve made it to this point – thanks for reading!

2

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.