Friday, 7 August 2015

My reading for July

Well, here it is, my pile of reading from July, a real mix this time, and one which reflects some of my favourite collections.... books, both factual and fiction, set in bookshops and the same for books about the Land Army girls, and that period of WWII.

But to begin at the beginning....

'A Year of Marvellous Ways' by Sarah Winman. Surprisingly, Marvellous Ways is the name of an 89 year old woman who lives alone in a remote Cornish creek for most of her life. She sits by the river with a telescope waiting... for what she's not sure but she'll know when it arrives. Drake is what arrives, a young soldier shell-shocked from WWII, in need of whatever it is she has to offer him. It is his promise to fulfil a dying man's wish that brought him to this part of Cornwall, and the rest is magic. Literally at times.

Not to be recommended on an empty stomach, 'A Slice of Britain - Around the Country by Cake' is written by Caroline Taggart, who decided to take on the arduous task (such a  plucky woman!) if sampling the different cakes and biscuits that certain part of Britain are famous for.... Cornish fairings, Bakewell tarts and the like. If you didn't fancy a piece of cake before you began reading, you might well soon be tempted. You have been warned, this book could be dangerous for your waistline. 

'The Bookshop Book' by Jen Campbell is a book about bookshops, worldwide, the people who own them, the passionate readers and writers too. Very readable, and a great addition to my collection.

'The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend' by Katarina Bivald. Sara, who works in a bookshop in Sweden, becomes penfriends with Amy, an old lady living in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Their common interest is books, and when Amy suggests that Sara comes for an extended visit, she agrees. But when she arrives in Broken Wheel, a small town with not much going for it, certainly no bookshop, it is to find that Amy had died a few days beforehand. After much thought, she decides to stay, and open a bookshop in this strange little town of friendly people, all of whom seem to think her slightly mad,  but have taken to her and come up with a plan for her to stay. The plan involves Tom, handsome and single, but even then, there is a huge spanner gets thrown in the works. Great read, loved it.

And now for something completely different.... 'The Shepherd's Life' by James Rebank, a non-fiction book and the title says it all. A year in the life of a Lakeland sheep farmer, season by season, and a lovely reminder for me, of one of my favourite parts of the country. 

Still on the non-fiction shelf... 'When I Was A Nipper' by Alan Titchmarsh is a book for women my age, a year younger than Alan but memories came flooding back, of some of the traditions back in the day, ladies wearing gloves for example. You only see that when it's cold now. 'Treasured values and traditions that were once the soul of society' the blurb says, describing the contents perfectly. For those of a certain age, this is a stroll down memory lane, which can sometimes make you feel a little sad for a way of life, a way of being with each other, of living with our neighbours, that seems to have disappeared in many places. Gardens now enclosed with six foot high fencing preclude those friendly, often helpful, chats over the garden fence. Just one example of how life has changed.

'Good Harbor' by Anita Diamant. This is the third time i have read this book and it was my intention to put it in the charity shop bag, but I love the novel so much, it's gone back on the shelf! It's a story, set in New England, of female friendship, overcoming grief and loss - Kathleen, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, will spend the summer going through radiation therapy. Helping her, apart from her husband, will  be her new friend, one she met by chance, Joyce. This book is an affirmation of that special friendship that can develop between two women, showing that you don't have to have known someone for a lifetime to feel an affinity with them, for there to be that special, certain something that binds you together, through thick and thin, good times and bad. Always there for each other. 

And finally, 'The Lost Garden' by Helen Humphreys, set in the Spring of 1941 and Gwen Davies leaves wartime London to go to Devon to take charge of a long-neglected country house garden and the team of Land Girls charged with bringing it back to production. She's a 35 year old spinster who has never been loved or in love, but along with discovering the once-beautiful gardens, she also discovers how to love. But will it have a happy ending?

So there you have it once again, and where did the last month go? Here we are, just over four weeks away from autumn! And no doubt not much longer till all the Christmas 'stuff' appears in the shops. Oh Happy Days....

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