Reading, Looking, Thinking
This is a place for me to yap about things varied and unspecified. You are invited to participate.
There has been so much reading, looking and thinking occurring since my previous Three Things… post, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Although it was never my intention this should be a weekly digest of every thought and action – more a sporadic dunk into the shallows of my inner ponderings (since I rather doubt there’s a deep-end) – a four-month hiatus is lackadaisical, if not downright negligent.
Therefore, I shall simply plunge straight in with whatever memories present themselves since returning from Northern Cyprus in early October (a holiday covered extensively in previous posts):
The past month has been great fun, with umpteen reading jollies taking place around the book blogging community – although I found it difficult to squeeze in all the themed challenges. I was able to take part to varying degrees in Margaret Atwood Reading Month, Nonfiction November and German Reading Month (just!), but there were other events I missed out on that had rather appealed, such as Novellas in November. Better planning skills on my part would have been useful, but typically, everyday life intervened, gobbling up my reading hours. A poor excuse, I know, so henceforth the eleventh month will be highlighted in bold on my book planner as NONSTOP NOVEMBER!
In October I came across a fascinating post by Ali Hope on her Heavenali blog: The latest from Persephone Books was a delightful paean to Persephone Books in which she discussed The Persephone Biannually arriving in the mail. Now, call me dense but I hadn’t previously realised it was possible to sign-up and freely receive this lovely magazine, so I immediately dashed over to the website and added my details to its mailing list.
A week or two later, Issue No.24 was delivered to my door along with a chunky edition of The Persephone Catalogue: 1999-2018 (an aesthetic joy in itself) and one of the publisher’s famous bookmarks: ‘The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray’. I spent a pleasant evening thereafter reading about the recently deceased author Emma Smith; engrossed in a short story by RC Sherrif; and discovering new books to be published this winter. Thank you, Ali, for sharing such rewarding information.
I am about to embark on The Wind in the Willows for The Reading Challenge Group on Goodreads (combined with The Classics Club), after which it is my intention to spend the remainder of the year perusing whatever takes my fancy (see Thinking).
LOOKING / LISTENING
Aside from my regular link-truffling activities for Winding Up the Week, my partner and I have enjoyed meals out at favourite restaurants, doggy-sat a gorgeous Doberman called George and organized a surprise birthday bash for a friend (I don’t normally do parties but made an exception because it was a ‘special’ one), which, because she is such an ardent fan of Lewis Hamilton and racing in general, had a Formula 1 theme. We had enormous fun decorating the house with chequered flags and a life-sized cardboard cut-out of her hero (so realistic that it made me jump every time I walked into the room).
Shortly before leaving for Cyprus, I went with friends to BBC Proms in the Park Wales. It’s an immensely popular annual event, which takes place in Colwyn Bay’s 50-acre Eirias Park, this year featuring (among others) the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Lee Mead and my favourite lyric mezzo-soprano, Katherine Jenkins. There was much flag waving (the Red Dragon, of course), silly dancing to Jack the Lad (The Hornpipe), and raucous singing of Rule Britannia when we hooked up live with the Royal Albert Hall and other Proms events taking place around the country. The night was rounded off wonderfully with a rousing rendition of the Welsh National Anthem, Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. It was a spectacular celebration and an excellent way to be joyful and silly for a few hours. Something so necessary in these times of deep pessimism.
I spotted this fabulous old typewriter (below) displayed in my favourite local store cum eatery: Bellis’ Farm Shop and thought I would include it here for no reason other than it made me smile.
I’ve been without a car for several weeks, for reasons best forgotten (see WUTW #43), but it has now been returned in almost perfect condition, so I am able to venture further afield and enjoy rummaging in book shops while taking-in the copious festive decorations to be seen just about everywhere at the moment.
As for my thoughts: after struggling to connect with Franz Kafka’s soon to be published short story collection, and putting this down to an overlong spell of required reading obligations, I have determined to have a thoroughly mellow mid-winter and be completely undisciplined in my reading habits; spending time with books because it pleases me to read them and not because I have some sort of obligation or deadline. I am aiming for entertaining, stimulating and calming – though, not necessarily all three at once.