|I'm a looong way from bookstagram, but I'm trying!|
Laura Vanderkam - 168 Hours: You have more time than you think
I didn't pick this book up for the obvious reasons - overhauling my life - but because we're moving and I can't fathom how we'll have enough hours in the day to get and keep the house ready for selling. The book is well-written, and once you fight down the temptation to keep arguing back about why this wouldn't work for you (Vanderkam's life is scarily focused), there's a lot of useful ideas. I don't know if it will help me stage the house, but it's given me inspiration for balancing my new job and family life when we make the move.
James Boswell - The Life of Samuel Johnson
Trying to convey everything I feel about this book in a few lines is impossible (so I wrote a full review too). It's a giant of eighteenth century biography - about an man who is a giant in his own right. Boswell, Johnson's close friend, follows his mentor's advice to tell all: the serious, the trivial, the flattering, the negative, the beneficent, the petty. I can only sum up with a quote from the end of the book: "The character of Samuel Johnson has, I trust, been so developed in the course of this work, that they who have honoured it with a perusal may be considered as well acquainted with him." Tears in my eyes, I had to say, "yes".
Elaine N. Aron - The Highly Sensitive Person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you
I felt a strange disconnect while reading this book: according to all the quizzes and criteria, I'm way over the threshold for an HSP, but I don't feel that way any more. I think that now, in mid-life, I've learned to live in a way that harmonizes with my personality. I also have to confess that the author's style did not appeal to me, but I kept reading, as I also have children with HSP traits and I didn't want to miss any insights. I'm certain this book will be incredibly useful for HSPs and those who know them, but unfortunately it didn't click with me.
My online critique group are graciously letting me hang around virtually while I'm 'on leave' from writing fiction, so I'm trying to repay them by keeping up with their new publications. I'm not a romance reader in general, but Maggi's stories are always a treat, and definitely worth more than the Kindle price: heroines you immediately like, strong and feminine, and plots that are usually enlivened with a mystery or suspense element. This takes place in London and France during the French revolution. Actress Verity Garnier is sent to England to seduce widowed Viscount Anthony Beaumont and entice him to France and the clutches of the revolution in return for the safety of her imprisoned father. But Verity falls in love with Anthony, and when he unexpectedly leaves for France of his own accord, to rescue his brother-in-law, Verity and his daughter Henrietta follow in a bid to save him. Put your feet up and indulge yourself - and if you want a quick(ish) romance binge I recommend her novella collection, The Baxendale Sisters Series. See her website for details.
A Tale of Two Bibles
I believe that well-rounded people in the West should know the basic religious and mythological stories of our culture regardless of their beliefs/non-beliefs, and to that end, child-oriented Bible story books (and Greek mythology books) are a staple of our household. I needed a new toddler Bible and did a little research. The Paraclete Bible for Toddlers (Paraclete Press) was recommended on several sites, including Catholic ones, so I thought I was safe to order it, but I (actually, every family member who read to my toddler) were disappointed. The illustrations are cute and colourful, but the text is full of death and judgement. This may be my wishy-washy ingrained Anglicanism, but I think children should start off with the fun stories and the idea that God is love.
I tucked it in a cupboard to sell in the move, and went shopping in person to my local bookstore, which I should have done in the first place. The bookseller recommended The Beginner's Bible from Zondervan. The illustrations and text are aimed at a wider age-range (toddlers and young children), and the view point is what I expect from a children's Bible. We're happily reading this one instead.
I hope you are still cosying up with some good books, and wish a holy Lent to those of you who observe the season.