What I read in January 2017

I finished reading three books in January. I recommend them all.

The first book was a Christmas present. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane is a fascinating book. It was conceived as a response to words about the countryside being omitted from a children’s dictionary to make space for technological vocabulary. As well as being a book about words, this is a book about books, about authors and about the countryside. The paperback edition I read included additional glossaries of words, which had been sent to the author following the publication of the first edition. I was interested to spot the name of an acquaintance, who had presumably added to the list of words, in the acknowledgements. I hadn’t heard about this book before I received it, but in one of those strange twists in life known as synchrony, just after I had read it I learned that there is to be an exhibition at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth from March to September this year, called Wild Words. It takes its inspiration from this book and has been guest-curated by the author.Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane


The second book I read was The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith. Having enjoyed the first of the Poppy Denby books, I was keen to read the second one. It is a good read. The author has added a disclaimer about some historical inaccuracies. I suspect there may be others, but the story hangs together well and is a page-turner. I read it in a day, while suffering from a sore throat. The title is rather unusual, but its significance is revealed in the story.

The third book was one, which I have read many times. Winnie-the-Pooh is a classic children’s story. I read it aloud from a compendium of A.A. Milne’s writing for his son Christopher Robin (Winnie-the-pooh the complete collection of stories and poems). The book has coloured illustrations by E.H. Shepard. Those, who are only familiar with the Disney cartoon versions of these stories, are missing out on subtleties of language and the coloured sketches.

October blogging landmarks

With cooler weather expected in the Northern Hemisphere this month there are too many blogging events to choose from.

WordPress offered a poetry course beginning on 1 October.  I had neither the time nor the energy for that.

Our own (UK) #NationalPoetryDay was on 8 October.  The theme was Light.  I wrote a light-hearted poem to fit this theme and also the National Trust’s #lovethecoast theme.

The see is not blue

The sea is not blue

The next big blogging event is Blog Action Day for which there are three hashtags #BAD15 #RaiseYourVoice and #Oct16.  I participated in 2013 and 2014.  So far this year I have no real inspiration for the theme.  My draft post looks rather feeble to me.  I’d rather not take part than publish something half-hearted.

It is not too soon to think about Blogging from A to Z in April as we were reminded recently.  I have made some good blogging friends through this particular challenge.  Sue’s words and pictures is lined up to take part in the next one.  Sue’s Trifles, which has been my A to Z blog for three years, is still undecided.  (As if a blog can think!)

Another blogger alerted me to Emily P. Freeman’s monthly link-up “What I learned in…”.  I have linked there a few times recently.

Other bloggers are taking part in 31 days of Writing challenges and I wish them every success.

Are you taking part in a blogging event or challenge this month?


What I have read in September

Our tiny local library is only open for two half days a week.  At one time I was a regular visitor and a member of the reading group, which meets there.  Even while I was attending the reading group (from which I learned much, both from the other members and from books, which I would otherwise not have discovered), I really hankered after a writing group.

I left the reading group a few years ago.  Subsequently my visits to the library dropped off and then ceased for over a year.  (I was buying books and reading them.)  However, I have made three visits to the library in August and September and borrowed four books altogether.

The Twitter Diaries by Georgie Thompson and Imogen Lloyd Webber attracted me because of the unusual format and the name Lloyd Webber. (Imogen’s father and uncle are famous musicians.)  I read it from cover to cover and found it interesting, but not particularly memorable.

The same day I found Bertie plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith.  This book struck me as one of the less interesting of the books by this author.  However on my following visit, the only book which appealed to me at all was Sunshine on Scotland Street, which turned out to be the next in the series.  Although it would stand alone, having read the previous book made some of the stories even more amusing.  This is Alexander McCall Smith at his best.

When I returned it nothing at all in the fiction section appealed to me.  We had been on a guided tour of Wordsworth House in Cockermouth (of which more on Sue’s words and pictures).  In half an hour there was only time for a brief summary of the lives of the Wordsworth family.  The guide recommended a book by Hunter Davies entitled William Wordsworth.  I found it in the local studies section and borrowed it.  Having reached the third chapter I succumbed to a feverish cough and cold, so needed something lighter to read.  (I am looking forward to reading the rest later.)

On hubbies “to read” pile I discovered A short book about drawing by Andrew Marr.  This is a beautifully produced hardback book illustrated by the author.  It is also about the history of drawing and of changing philosophies through the ages.  The author also draws on the experience of professional artists of his acquaintance.  I read it in a single sitting and was inspired to revive my hobby of drawing/painting, which I set aside around the time I began to concentrate on writing.

My first sketch for 4 years

My first sketch for 4 years

I sketched a house plant, which is flowering at present.  The perspective is not perfect, but it conveys the general impression of a cape primrose.  What I learned later was that in October there is a drive to encourage everyone to draw. #BigDraw

Linking up with what I learned in September.