Just another pandemic Easter 🐣 …

The title should be sung to the song just another manic Monday. The next line I’d wish it was… but filling my title not directly what my line would be. Certainly this Easter 🐣 is not one expected or wished for last year.

End of March 2020 just before the first lockdown started I hopefully bought theatre 🎭 tickets for two shows in December 2020. Both were cancelled at this stage think still some chance of them being rearranged.

On Monday 29th March lockdown restrictions were eased from only been able to meet one person outside from another household to been able to form a group of 6 outside from up to 5 households or two households only outside if those two households add up to more than 6. Non essential shops and pubs remain closed until at least 12 April. My nephew is having his 9th birthday as second lockdown birthday 🎂 . Worse than that he will be isolating on his birthday due to someone in his class testing positive. Therefore we can not spend time with him outside and he can not leave his garden.

To end on a positive note I have 4 days off work until Tuesday 🙂 Hopefully there will be Easter chocolate. I have been looking for signs of spring. I have ticked what I have seen and hope to complete the list over the next few months; last year it was 31May when I first saw cygnets 🦢

Spring Checklist
Snowdrops ✅

Lambs✅

Ducklings

Goslings

Cygnets 🦢

Butterfly 🦋

Daffodils ✅

Tulips ✅

Frogspawn ✅

Eaten Easter chocolate ✅

Top 5 Tuesday: Books I want my wanted children to have

During March Meeghan has got us thinking about children’s book. This week is a free week on this theme, my top 5 list is 5 books I want my children to have. I do not have children yet but would like some little bookworms. In preparation I have already bought a box set of books of Roald Dahl books for children as I loved (love) his children books. Also loved his autobiographies; Boy and Going Solo and his short stories for adults.

My list of books to share with younger children:

1. As I like flamingos 🦩 a flamingo book such as ‘That is not my flamingo’ or Felipe the flamingo.

2. Postman Pat by John Comcliffe as it features a special place to me of the Lake District.

3. Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. My Mum likes this children’s book. It has lovely rhymes and illustrations.

Each page gives a different glimpse of a baby’s day, as the adults in his world go about their obscure yet urgent tasks. The initial view of each full-page illustration is through a peep-hole in the centre of the page. A rhyming text describes the picture, and asks “what does he see?”

4. Santa is coming to Sheffield is a book I have already bought for two families as it features the city I live in.

5. The Very Hungry caterpillar 🐛 by Eric Carle. This book has beautiful illustrations. It is educational as lots of counting and it teaches about how caterpillars 🐛 turn into butterflies 🦋

What books do you like passing on to children or reading with them?

First lines Friday – Don’t judge a Book by it’s cover? “My mother killed my father when I was seven years old…

“My mother killed my father when I was seven years old. Now thirty-nine years later she is dead too and I am an orphan”

I came to this book blind just knowing the title and I had heard people had enjoyed author Ruth Hogan’s first book The Keeper if Lost Things. I did not expect such an impactful first line from the cover of Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan. The cover is pale blue with lots of flowers 💐 The blurb on the back does not lead you to expect that first line.

The use of the word orphan is emotive. I’m not too sure of the quality of the writing from lack of capital letter for Mother and Father and no apostrophe in I’am.

Top 5 Tuesday: 5 books that got me into reading

This month Meeghan has got us into thinking about children’s books. Here are the first books in that got me into reading and on 30th March my topic is the books I would give to my children.

1. The books that school had to start us reading were called The Village with Three Corners.

2. Roald Dahl George marvellous medicine

3. Charlie and Choc factory by Roald Dahl.

4. Enid Blyton books.

5. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy🧙‍♀️

The Worst Witch

6 for Sunday: Books Set in another Country.

‘A little bit a lot blog’ has set the prompt this Sunday of 6 books set in another country. See her list on her Blog

It is said you can virtually travel through books, that is handy as over last year since pandemic began, not been able to travel. Since pandemic restrictions started a year ago, what are some of the countries that books have virtually transported me to?

1. A woman is no Man by Etaf Rum features Palestine and the US.

2. The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper. This was about three women repeating a trek in Australia; that they had done about 20 years earlier . Gradually as they walk there are flashbacks revealing traumatic events of their previous trek. Given on later walk the women are walking all day together it is unbelievable how little conversation they seem to have. There is suspense of waiting to know what happened on the earlier walk albeit know how that all three survived therefore it was a pleasant enough read just not particularly rich layers.

4. Over the Rooftops is about a young Jewish man being hidden in a Amsterdam attic during the Second World War.

3. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Piccoult is mainly set in Egypt.

5. The Kite 🪁 Runner by Khaled Hosseini is set in Afghanistan.

6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is decided into three sections around a country; Italy, India and Indonesia.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: Discussion Post which contains SPOILERS

This book is very thought provoking and therefore an excellent book to discuss at book clubs. Also it as it centres around an attempted suicide it is important if affected by the book to seek appropriate help. As it can not be discussed without spoiling the book; I have also written a brief spolier free review.

I read it within just a few days.

SPOLIERS FOLLOW

My favourite quote from the book is:

“You can choose choices but not outcomes”

The book explores different choices Nora could have made and the impact those decisions could have had on her life. The book shows that different choices may not improve life way think. It is about not dwelling and regretting decisions. It brought to mind a quote I like from Oliva Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding who wrote the Bridget Jones books.

“Don’t regret anything. Remember there wasn’t anything else that could have happened, given who you are and the state of the world at that moment. The only thing you can change is the present, so learn from the past.”

I thought that the final life Nora experienced before returning to her ‘root’ life was a positive one; maybe because it is the type of life that I would like to have. I’m glad that Haig did not write the book with her switching to that life because that would have made the book unrealistic and into the realms of science fiction. As the book has been written then the midnight library can be interpreted as a figment of Nora’s imagination; a dream. I like to think that the final life is potentially Nora’s future; something to aspire to if she wishes.

By not writing that Nora died and retuning her to her former life Haig showed her life was not all bad and still had potential. I do not think it is good how simple he made Nora realising potential seem as for real people it would not be so easy. Nora’s estranged brother comes to see her because of the suicide attempt; I think it is potentially unwise to imply a suicide attempt can win back anyone’s love.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: Brief Spoiler Free Review

I heard a lot of positive things about this book which prompted me to read. I agree that it is a thought provoking book. It has been pointed out to me that it should come with trigger warnings because 0f suicidal ideation and pre suicide thought patterns suicide planning.

The book is about someone who following attempts suicide ends up in the Midnight Library which is a space between life and death. She gets to see how life may have turned out if she had made different decisions.

My first impressions of the book was very positive as are my continued views of the book.

My favourite quote from the book is on p83 of my copy:

“You can choose choices but not outcomes’

If you have read and want to see more of my thoughts which reveal spoliers please see my discussion post.

Book Challenge Update

This challenge involves reading books to cover the following prompts. I have ticked which I consider complete.

I know just need to read my book set in Africa and my book with a beautiful cover which is Arabian nights. Unless I try and find a unique book for each category.

A book with a preposition in the title (e.g. in, on, through, under)

The seven husbands OF Evelyn Hugh by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This a story about a movie star Evelyn and her seven husbands from the late 1950s onwards . Themes include; changing position of women, LGBT and race. Evelyn is telling her story to a reporter that she has specifically chosen; one strand of the novel is leading to why this specific reporter was chosen. I enjoyed reading and would like to read another of Taylor Jenkins Read’s books.

The Archers Looking FOR Love

A book set in Africa

A book with a colour in the title

The BLACK Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A book about a survivor of a serial killer but is the killer the man convicted of the crime who is on death row? Intriguing read.

Cambridge BLUES by Alison Bruce.

I think could also fit Midnight Library by Matt Haig under here As midnight is a shade of blue.

A book with a family member (e.g. brother)in the title

The seven HUSBANDS of Evelyn Hugh by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

A book with the name of a town or city in the title

CAMBRIDGE blues by Alison Bruce. A book about police investigating a murder in Cambridge UK (I believe there is also an area of Boston Mass that is called Cambridge?). In particular a young eager detective not necessarily always wanting to stick by rules to solve the murder.

A book with a school subject in the title (e.g. English, History…)

The GEOGRAPHY of Friendship by Sally Piper. This was about three women repeating a trek they had done about 20 years earlier . Gradually as they walk there are flashbacks revealing traumatic events of their previous trek. Given on later walk the women are walking all day together it is unbelievable how little conversation they seem to have. There is suspense of waiting to know what happened on the earlier walk albeit know how that all three survived therefore it was a pleasant enough read just not particularly rich layers.

A book about a journey

The Salt Path. A walking journey of 630miles! I put more detail about it in this Post

A book with a girl’s name in the title

The seven husbands of EVELYN Hugh by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

The Black Eyed SUSAN’s by Julia Heaberlin. A book about a survivor of a serial killer but is the killer the man convicted of the crime who is on death row? Intriguing read.

A book by a local author

I have read two books by Sheffield born Matt Haig: How to Stop Time and the Midnight Library.

A book with a beautiful cover

A book with a type of plant in the title

The BLACK EYED SUSAN’s which are flowers. by Julia Heaberlin. A book about a survivor of a serial killer but is the killer the man convicted of the crime who is on death row? Intriguing read.

A book with a body part in the title

The Black EYEd Susan’s by Julia Heaberlin. A book about a survivor of a serial killer but is the killer the man convicted of the crime who is on death row? Intriguing read.

6 for Sunday: books set in own county

‘A little bit a lot’ has set the prompt this Sunday of 6 books set in own country. She is in England like me. She has given her post a northern slant; check it out Here.Whilst I have injected my home city Sheffield into my list.

In the last few weeks I have read two books by Sheffield born Matt Haig.

1. How to stop time by Matt Haig.

2. The midnight library. Which I started a few days ago and have already finished because it is so good! Will be mentioning it more! Much prefer to how to stop time!

First impressions of Midnight Library

3. All places cried in public by Holly Bourne. Is partly set in Sheffield. It includes the Botanical gardens and the Leadmill.

4. 34 days; Anita Walters which I read in 2017 two years after the events of the book which are mostly in Sheffield. Therefore I could relate to Sheffield events in this book.

5. Meet by Steelmen by Theresa Tomlinson. A children’s book about statues of steelmen in Meadowhall, Sheffield coming alive.

6. The post birthday world by Lionel Shriver is set mainly in London but as it features a snooker play it also features Sheffield where the Snooker World Championships are held.

Post Birthday World Review

Next week’s A little but a lot’s prompt is books set in other countries. See Here for her list for this week and all her prompts for March.

Have read books set where you live?

First impression Friday: Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This has come highly recommended and first impression is that it is not disappointing! Finding the premise of not been where want in life and therefore with regrets about what ifs; very relatable! The book is going to explore what would have happened if the protagonists had made different decisions; would she be more or less happy?