Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Books- January 23

I’m not going to finish the Hilary Mantell book this month, still only at the half way point of the 800 pages, so here are the three books I did manage to read.

Benjamin Bonetti- How to Stress Less- A self help book I read from cover to cover including completing all the tasks and making 10 pages of notes. He covers the flight/fight reaction to perceived threats, and what happens to you physically, and thence to how you can help yourself, through diet, exercise and relaxation. I like what he has to say and how he writes in a nice straightforward manner that made sense to me. The test is does it work? Well it was put to the test almost immediately when a light bulb exploded flying across the room with sparks and an enormous bang thereby blowing the upstairs light fuse, and leaving half the bulb stuck in the fitment, at bedtime. I coped with the immediate issue, clearing up the light bulb from my bed and reset the fuse box. Then I followed the advice. Suffice to say I slept well, ate breakfast, called an electrician who bailed me out last Summer and to whom I had subsequently sent two customers his way, he duly came and the problem was solved by 10.30am. What more can I say?

Sarah Winman- Still Life- a Good slow read. It took me a while to get into it, but glad I did. The style and language is a bit odd, and come to think of it so are the characters. The story spans a 100 years, beginning and ending in Florence, by way of London, and wars. Concerns an odd mix of people from educated posh folk to characters from the East end of London, all of whom find solace and friends in the beauty to be found in Florence, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. And being a modern book there is swiming in the ponds on Hampstead Heath. I’d love to know why authors these days need to have females swimming on Hampstead Heath. Is it shorthand for something I’m missing?

Richard Coles- The Madness of Grief-So I spotted this book when I was looking at reading material that might help as I divest my self of negative thoughts of one kind and another. It’s written by a Vicar, broadcaster and presenter of a radio chat show on Saturday mornings on Radio 4. He’s also Co presented TV art competitions.It occured to me that some of what I have experienced recently could be related to grief. The book wasn’t what I hoped for. It’s a memoir covering the final illness, death and funeral of his husband. It doesn’t relate terribly well to most people’s experience of these things. If I mention his husband died just before Christmas, and he was subsequently invited to spend Christmas with Princess Diane’s brother and family and did, our lives are poles apart. It was very readable, but not particularly informative orhelpful, and if I’m honest too revealing of his husband’s personal life. That said there was one part where he talks of dropping in on his disabled Mother sometime over Christmas. He talks of how when she was well enough she came to them for Christmas. Now it was just them, a cup of tea and a mince pie ,recalling Christmas past, her with three children, cooking for a dozen on Christmas Day… Life , towards its end ,gets thin. What I have been thinking, and why I need to divest myself of now un used kitchenalia.

Glad I read the two non fiction books especially the first. I’ll be referring to it on Monday when I let you know how the divesting is going.. Rather well actually.

Now, do I read the enormous book, or do some knitting….mmm


Comments on: "Books- January 23" (17)

  1. Interesting reads! Thanks for sharing your thoughtful reviews 🙂

  2. I read an advance copy of Still Life and remember very much enjoying it, but there were definitely a motley crew of characters!
    The Rev is now retired, always prone to name dropping (Clang!) and provokes mixed feelings in many I believe. Still, it sounds like an interesting read, although not quite what you were hoping.

  3. Going Batty in Wales said:

    That self help book sounds to have been really useful. I know that one of the things I miss most as a widow is someone to talk decisions over with or to phone the electrician / reset the fuse while I clear up the glass from the bed! having to get your head round all ‘their’ jobs is really hard as is having to do everything yourself and all at a time when we are not at our best! I know we both have loving children who would help or talk about things but they have their own busy lives and we need to save them for the big stuff. It does all get easier – you already had the phone number of an electrician you could trust and who knew you.

  4. I started Still Liife but the slowness put me off. I will pick it up again.

  5. I vote for some knitting. Grief is a subjective thing. We all experience it so differently. I’ve tried to inform my children that I want none of that. I’ll be happily going to a new address and a new job and will visit with them in due time. It’s hard to be the one left behind though. I had a difficult relationship with my mother my entire life but found myself with an irrational, uncontrollable grief after she passed. We knew she was terminal but the loss still kicked my legs out from under me. You are doing well to read and use self help techniques for stress.

    • Thank you for your wisdom. The doing of stuff sometimes gets in the way of grieving. Richard Cole referred to it as sadmin re funerals. Just getting my head round house maintenance takes so much time too. Makes me appreciate so much that two heads were better than one and sharing the work did halve it!

  6. I just finished A Week in Winter, per your recommendation, and I really enjoyed it. A very different story template, but refreshing…I would love to hear more about all those characters!

  7. I do think you’d enjoy Florence. Everywhere you look there is something to gladden the eye and the heart. It’s one of my favourite cities in the entire world, and it makes me very, very sad to remember that i’ll never be able to see it again.

  8. Before he was a vicar, though, Richard Coles was a reasonably rich pop star with the lavish lifestyle that entailed, so I suppose he’s not had the usual vicar background we might expect for him to be looking back on… 🙂

  9. I could probably use How to Stress Less; couldn’t we all, but what I really love here is your calm appraisal of the others.

  10. Fascinating & humorous, Cathy. Thank you & BRAVA!!!

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