Winter Reading

I haven’t done a book post for ages, I seemed to lose my reading mojo over the spring and summer. I lost my usual reading slots, I used to read on the bus to visit my mum which was a two hour round trip, so lots of reading there. I also read on the train on the way to work, then I had three months off isolating! Anyway, I’m now getting the bus to work which usually gives me an hours reading time each way, so I’ve got a few books to share…

Walking Home by Simon Armitage; Simon is a poet who lives near the beginning of the Pennine Way. The Pennine Way was the first long distance walk and it stretches from Edale in Derbyshire, all the way to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, all 256 miles!! My friend and I do a long distance walk each year but we’ve never even entertained the idea of the Pennine Way, we know our limits! Simon was walking it from north to south, so he was walking home. He hit on the idea of offering a poetry recital in return for board and lodgings. He would sing for his supper! He was accompanied by a wide range of local people during the different stages. It was interesting and quietly entertaining, especially if you’ve done some long distance walks, though it does go on a bit, a bit like the Pennine Way!

OK, this is actually the Cleveland Way, not the Pennine Way!

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I saw it was coming out in paperback. I’ve read a couple of her books and always enjoyed them. I also listened to a talk she did as part of the Yorkshire Festival of Story, it was interesting to hear how she researches books. For this one she learnt how to do tapestry and how to ring bells in particular. It’s set in the early 1930’s, Violet is a ‘surplus woman’, after WW1 there just wasn’t enough men to go round, it was really interesting to read about what life was like for women at that time, ‘surplus women in particular. They were expected to stay at home to look after aging parents, those who did get married left their jobs to be housewives, same sex relationships were still illegal and ladies living together would be socially ostracised. Violet joins a group of embroiderers at Winchester Cathedral and befriends one of the bell-ringers. I really enjoyed it, though I did find the ending a bit contrived, though very moving. A good read.

Cross-stitch pincushion, rather than needlepoint kneeler!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald; This has been on my radar for a while as it’s been mentioned in quite a few of the nature books I’ve read It was only published in 2014 but has become a bit of a classic already. As it says on the back…’H is for hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonalds struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawks taming and her own untaming…it is about memory, nature and nation and how it might be possible to reconsile death with life and love’ It’s beautifully written but I did find it a bit heavy, though maybe this was the wrong year to read it in!

OK, so it’s a red kite, not a Goshawk!

I wanted something light to read next, on TV recently there’s been a new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small’ by James Herriot. It’s been a lovely series, though it doesn’t stick much to the book. It’s also filmed in Grassington in Wharfedale, I’m sure the villages of Wensleydale and Swaledale where the book was set are spitting feathers! Anyway, it made me decide to read the books again. James Herriot was a newly qualified vet from Scotland in the 1930’s, he got a job in Thirsk and most of the patients of the practise were up in the remote corners of Wensleydale and Swaledale. The books are very entertaining, the characters he meets and the two brothers who are his new colleagues. A week or so back on TV there was a re-run of one of the original episodes of All Creatures Great and Small, which I remember watching as a child, it was classic Sunday Night viewing. After the programme there was another one about behind the scenes of the series. It was very interesting…apparently James Herriot insisted the first time round that they stuck exactly to the book. The next in the book series is All Things Bright and Beautiful, I’m just waiting for it to come into stock in our local bookshop. They’re great books, funny and entertaining.

The White Horse near Thirsk where James Herriot actually lived!”

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie; I read a review of this book somewhere and ordered it straight away. It’s based around an old Singer sewing machine across four generations from the lady who worked on it in the Singer factory at the time of a big strike, to the lady who bought it and her descendants. It’s one of those books which does a chapter on each character and timescale, so it flits from 1911 to 2016. It’s interesting how she weaves the plot and builds the characters, you spend most of the book trying to work out how they’re all connected and of course you don’t find out until the final chapter! I enjoyed it, I almost want to read it again knowing who was who. It was also interesting reading how societies values and morals have changed over the 100 years. A good read.

My vintage singer!

I’m not sure what I’ll be reading next, we now have an independent bookshop in Otley so I’m trying to support it!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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9 Responses to Winter Reading

  1. Ruth E Price says:

    Great, I fancied The Single Thread and the Seeing Machine. I’ll get them both after Christmas.
    I wonder if you have read any of Joanna Canon’s books. All three are fantastic. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is first, then Three Things about Elsie. These are two beautiful novels, both of which will ring true for you. The third is biographical about her training as an NHS Dr. They are all stand alone, I would recommend the biography one (Breaking and Mending) when you are feeling strong. It’s uplifting but also very sad in parts. Good Luck with Friday ( today) I’ve been thinking of You. R xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tialys says:

    I watched the new series of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ with trepidation as Mr. Tialys read the books and watched the original series when he was young and loved them so much I was sure he’d find a remake below par and complain all the way through. However, he thought it was very good and didn’t moan one bit – which was a pleasant surprise 😉
    I know this sounds terrible but I can’t remember whether I’ve read ‘The Sewing Machine’ or just read about it. I must start making notes. I’m the same with films.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved The Sewing Machine too! Thanks for the reviews of your reading, I put A Single Thread on my reading list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. claire93 says:

    I must have read The Sewing Machine at least 5 times already! I bought it when it first came out and and then bought several copies to gift to friends. I honestly think it’s my all-time favourite novel !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kathyreeves says:

    The Sewing Machine and A Single Thread are both on my wish lists!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nanacathy2 says:

    I loved both the Sewing Machine and the Single Thread and am obviously a James Herriot fan. My Dad was an extra in the first film version. You don’t see him but I can hear his laugh in the scene he was in. Love your photos, not right but nearly…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Helen Crowhurst says:

    Helen from York, Western Australian Wheatbelt here – not a blogger so don’t know how this will go, but I have a book recommendation for you (for everyone!): The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri – a wonderful if heart-rending story, and the love and respect the main character had for bees was particularly special and made me think of you as I was reading it. Enjoy checking in on your blog to get a glimpse of life in such a different environment- we are hot hot hot, dry and free of community- transmission of the dreaded virus!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I read H is for Hawk when it first came out and I thought it was amazing. I actually listened to the audiobook which was quite engaging. I can understand it being a bit heavy for now. 256 miles would be quite the hike! That would be amazing to do that someday and stop at lots of inns on the way. I had friends who hiked through Scotland for their honeymoon and stayed at inns/bed and breakfasts places each night. That pincushion is gorgeous – too pretty for any pins!

    Liked by 1 person

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