It’s been three months since I last wrote a book post. It may seem odd but I actually did less reading during lockdown than I did usually. Somehow I lost my usual reading slots – I used to read on the bus on the way to visit my mum, which was an hour each way, I would read on the train on the way to work. It took me a while to find new slots for my reading. When I did start again it was a very eclectic mix…
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham; I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who’s read this book. Chris is a TV presenter for The Really Wild Show, I have to confess I’ve never watched it so I have no preconception of what he is like as an adult. This is a memoir of his childhood. It is beautifully written, as one of the reviews says ‘Bold, beautiful, raw and lyrical’, as well as writing from his own perspective he also includes chapters seeing him from others views, such as the ice-cream man who he used to try and buy ice-creams from with his ladybird captured in a matchbox. He does come over as quite a strange boy, it’s also interspersed with sessions from his therapist as a young man. It’s quite a captivating read, his descriptions of nature and life generally are wonderful.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena; My daughter passed a couple of books on to me to read, this was the first one. It’s a thriller about a baby who goes missing, lots of twists and turns in the plot, I read it in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris; This was another book my daughter passed on. To be honest it’s not the sort of book I would usually read – I don’t ‘do’ war stuff, my OH loves watching war films and reading about it, I find the complete waste and disregard for human life too disturbing and upsetting. I know it went on, I’d just rather not read about it. As my daughter had passed it to me, I thought I ought to read it…it’s a brilliant book, it’s based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, he arrived in Auschvitz in 1942 and was given the job of tattooing fellow prisoners as they arrived. He fell in love with a girl he was tattooing and set about ensuring that both he and Gita survived. Although horrific acts are described, it is somehow an uplifting and positive tale. Enjoy is the wrong word, but I strongly recommend reading it.
Immunity The Science of Staying Well by Dr Jenna Macciochi; This was only published at the beginning of the year. It was recommended to me by a friend with rheumatoid arthritis. As I seem to be collecting auto-immune diseases, I bought it immediately. Dr Macciochi is an immunologist, she explains in detail all the different aspects of the immune system, how it works, what affects it, how to strengthen it without boosting it. It is written for the layman, but she does use a lot of medical terminology, explaining it as she goes along. It’s not an easy read – I’m a nurse and I had to concentrate, but if you or a family member have an auto-immune condition, it’s worth it. I’ve already made one change, it might be coincidence, but I feel 100% better – I stopped using ibuprofen as my go-to analgesic. I didn’t take it regularly, but if I had a headache, or general aches and pains or unwell, it was ibuprofen rather than paracetamol that I reached for. Dr Macciochi explained that such drugs wipe out the good inflammation as well as the bad, a bit like antibiotics leading to thrush. I’d had about 9 months of blocked nose and sneezing, it stopped within a couple of weeks of not taking ibuprofen!! There’s no quick fix for immunity, it’s lifestyle, diet, exercise, but it helps to have some knowledge on how to help yourself and which quack treatments to avoid!
Something a bit different you may be interested in joining in; The Yorkshire Festival of Story. This is on throughout August. I’ve not heard about it before but I presume it’s on line because of the current situation. There’s over 80 one hour talks and readings on a wide variety of subjects, and it’s free, though they not unreasonably ask for a donation. I’m booked on to three so far;
The Yorkshire Shepherdess – I’ve heard her talk before at a WI event and she was brilliant. She was born in a mill town near Leeds, her mum wanted her to work at M&S, but she set her heart on being a shepherdess. With no previous experience of farm life, she set about learning the trade. She’s ended up farming right at the top of Swaledale, married with nine children. Very entertaining. This embroidery is of the lower, gentler end of Swaledale – she is at the bleak top of the dale!
A Single Thread; Tracy Chevallier is reading from her new novel based around the people who embroidered the kneelers at a cathedral. I’ve got this book on order, so looking forward to this one.
Our Oldest Allies- Stories of Trees; this is also Tracy Chevalier, together with someone else, talking about amazing trees around the world.
There’s all sorts of talks and stories, follow the link above to see the programme.