Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Stretching myself

Oooops - another long gap in posts to the blog, but again for good reasons I think...

We've been visiting family over the summer weekends and generally having a good time relaxing, I've been to a couple of cricket matches and I've started going to the theatre more often - all good things and an indication that I am getting better. I don't think I'm up to the "three shows and an exhibition weekends" that I was doing before but I am picking what I see with more care and enjoying my outings a lot.

I still haven't returned to my previous levels of reading, nor even the heights I reached on holiday but I am restarting some of my former reading projects which feels promising.

Currently I have six very varied books supplied by the Reading Agency to get through before the end of the month, I feel proud of myself as I have already read 3 cover to cover, and 100 pages of a fourth (the historical errors just kept throwing me out of the book) and am about to start the fifth.  As ever these generally aren't books I'd have chosen myself so making progress with them is certainly encouraging.

I did abandon these books yesterday as I was approved for a Net Galley proof of book I've been longing to read over the weekend and for the first time since the start of December I did spend an entire day just reading and finished the book in one go. More about this soon but I know it is going to feature highly in my top books of the year in a few months...

It is important to keep reminding myself of these gains as I am still definitely suffering the after effects of the brain hemorrhage every day and it is easy to forget the progress I'm making.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Holiday Reading

Holiday Reading

As promised here's the (short for me) list of books I read on holiday, and some brief thoughts about them.  Six were great, one was 'meh' and the last one I wish I'd not bothered with...

Love and Ruin by Paula McClain - this is a companion piece to The Paris Wife which I read a couple of years ago. This book is the story of Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Hemingway and it made me want to read more books by both of these authors and to find a good book on the Spanish Civil War.

Tempest and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce - I've been a fan of Tamora Pierce's books for nearly 30 years but the past few books haven't really been my cup of tea so I was really pleased that this one was set back in Tortall and is the first of a new series.

Warlike by Michael Ondjaate - This book has since been long-listed for the Booker Prize and I am really pleased about this as I thought the book was brilliant. It has two distinct halves but they weave together wonderfully and the just post-war setting was intriguing.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron - This book had been book of the month in several places and I was really excited to read this one. Sadly I found it dated and banal.

Mythos by Stephen Fry - This retelling of the Greek Myths won't be for everyone, it is very 'Fry' but the light hearted turn of phrase was just what I needed.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston - I missed the recent adaptation of this but had heard so much about it I thought I'd try the book. I wasn't disappointed and found the whole story enthralling, and at the same time a little sad because I feel that despite the decriminalization of homosexuality it would still be far too easy to blackmail someone over the topic.

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean - This is an imagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice and I enjoyed it very much. It doesn't have quite the pizazz of the original but like Longbourn certainly adds to the Bennett sisters' stories.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde - I always start Fforde's books with enthusiasm and enjoyment but by the end I start to find them, and their humour tedious. The basic ideas are always good but I find them too convoluted and contrived to fully enjoy. I'm pleased he is over his writer's block but this one just didn't quite do it for me - although the cold setting was great at cooling me down in the Greek heat!