Slow Sunday Book Club: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I really enjoy reading, and I just don’t do it enough any more. So when I saw Allie at Rush and Teal introduce the Slow Sunday Book Club to her newsletter ‘Slow Sunday Club’, I figured what a great opportunity to start reading again.

I find the hardest part about reading, other than finding the time, is choosing a book. And when it’s chosen for you, you often find you’ll read something you wouldn’t otherwise select.

The idea behind this book club is to deliberately find a reason to put down your phone, switch off the tv and take some time doing something more relaxing and a little less taxing on your brain and your eyes. I’m all for it!

So the first book chosen was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’d not heard of it, but found it available cheaply on Amazon so I figured I’d go ahead and jump in.

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As much as I’m not going to describe the plot of this book, I’m going to be discussing parts of the story and my thoughts on the writing throughout this post, so if you haven’t read this book and don’t want to be spoiled then I’d suggest clicking off here. I’ll see you in my next post.

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Firstly, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It’s an easy read, despite my having to google the meaning of quite a few words used. Eleanor has quite the vocabulary.

Since I didn’t know anything at all about this book before I started reading, I actually found the reading process very similar to when I read Room. I went into that story blind too. I enjoyed the process of learning things about the character that they already know, but you don’t, as I read. I find that usually you discover new things in a story as the characters learn them themselves, but in this story it’s different; you discover little nuggets about Eleanor as she reveals them slowly to you, much in the way that she starts to remember things about her past during the second section of the book.

This is a very well-written, and delightfully funny book, despite it being truly heartbreaking in parts too. I found the story very relatable in parts (due to recognising the human condition, and not because I’ve been through any dramatic turmoil in my life), and also could see traits in Eleanor and the characters around her that I’ve seen in others during my life.

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It took me a while to realise this was set in Scotland, and I suppose this was deliberate as the author fed you little bits of information along the way, and accents started appearing on the page.

This is a heavy-going book, and if you have any sensitivity to abuse or addiction you might want to steer clear. This is, however an amazing story of human kindness and how the mind can both harm and heal. There’s a few twists and turns along the way, and reading as an outsider to Eleanor’s story allows you to both analyse and sympathise with her plight.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. According to the notes at the end, the film rights have been bought by Reese Witherspoon and I’d be interested if a movie does come out of it. If it does, I hope they leave in the Scottish aspect. I have one question at the end of all of this though. One little loose end I need answering – do pubs in Scotland really serve Dr Pepper?

November Favourites

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It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, which means everything gets sparkly, festive and full of yummy foods.

But before then, we need to round-up November, which has been cold and rainy for the most part and some people have even had snow.

My favourites this month have mostly been of the non-beauty variety. I haven’t really tried anything new other than one or two bits, but I’ve still been enjoying things from last month (including my amazing Charlotte Tilbury lipstick!) But I’ve definitely got some great things to show you nonetheless.

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Firstly let’s talk about some books I’ve been loving this month.

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A Year Between Friends (the sequel to A Year Of Mornings) is a fabulous book full of photographs, craft projects, recipes and letters between the two authors. Mav and Steph are two friends who met via Flickr and live 3191 miles apart in their respective Portlands. The original book, simply photographs, is one of my all time favourite security blanket books. Their photography never fails to inspire me, and this second book didn’t disappoint.

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Second on my book pile this month is Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. I may have mentioned this book in past blogs, because I read it at Christmas-time every year. It’s about a young girl who is critically ill and her conversations with an angel. It’s a wonderfully philosophical book, beautifully written and though it’s not the most joyful of books it’s still fantastically Christmassy. I missed reading it last year as I just didn’t give myself enough time to get through it, but it’s short and sweet and always makes me feel.

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I’ve been finding some real gems in TK Maxx this month, and had to mention this American Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa I picked up. It’s dairy free which works well for me, and tastes lovely mixed with soy milk. I love how the cap of this can is like a paint can/golden syrup can and you have to open it with the flat of a spoon. They have lots of other flavours but some of those contained milk so I went with this one. It’s not too rich, and give you a yummy dry chocolate flavour with side notes of candy cane. Yummy!

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TK Maxx also have a good range of Nip+Fab products depending on when you shop, and I picked up this Viper Venom frown fix. I actually bought it for the deep lines that are forming on my under eyes. I do have very sensitive under eyes, but thought I’d give this a crack. I use it twice a week, or so, after cleansing but before moisturiser. It sometimes stings a little, which is why I don’t use it more than a few times a week, but I do notice the lines have plumped out enough to make a difference. I don’t know if I’ll buy it again but it was under a tenner so I’m glad I gave it a go!

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To banish the winter chills I’ve been enjoying wearing my double-sided blanket scarf that I bought last year from River Island. It’s thin enough that you can wrap it as a scarf and it’s not overly bulky, but thick enough that you can wear it as an actual blanket and it’s so cosy! Plus it’s tartan and dog-tooth and I love both of those prints!

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As a massive Gilmore Girls fan I was ecstatic to find out they were filming 4 feature-length additions to the series, and last week they appeared on Netflix. I’ve seen all 4 episodes now and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Such an emotional roller-coaster. I really hope they make more!!

Lastly, but most definitely not least is this bad-boy:

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G-Man surprised me with a Liberty advent calendar, which he had pre-ordered for click and collect on release day! He’s an amazing husband – I didn’t even know Liberty did click and collect!

I have no idea what’s inside and am avoiding all spoilers because it’s my understanding that the contents has been widely reported – so I’m hoping I don’t accidentally find out.

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Inside the magnetic folding doors are 25 beautiful Liberty printed drawers, that remind me of William Morris print. I cannot wait for December 1st when I can begin opening the drawers and I have a feeling I won’t want to get rid of the calendar when it’s all opened. Maybe I can reuse it next year!

December promises to bring festive fun and cheer. Lots of friends and family and obviously Christmas. I have a few festive YouTube videos up my sleeve too! December is also bringing the arrival of my new MacBook (hopefully!) at which point I will be editing my long promised Disney World footage  – so keep an eye out for that!

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous November! Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you’ve liked this post, and want to be notified each time I publish. You can also follow me on twitter @Shutterbug_Blog and on YouTube at Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s YouTube channel!

50 Shades of Snobbery

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be aware of the latest blockbuster buzz in movies – 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t read any of the books and I don’t plan on making a trip to the cinema. Apart from the fact that I really dislike the cinema experience at the moment (though I am looking forward to trying out the 4DX) I really don’t have the need to make an effort to see it. That being said, after all this hype, I probably will watch it once it appears on the tv (most likely for next Valentine’s Sky Premiere) just out of pure intrigue.

There’s been a huge amount of hype and chat about this movie. People (all 5 of them) picketing the London Premiere to point out that Christian Grey, the male lead, is a domestic abuser. People deciding who they will go and see the movie with, whether it be a loved one, a group of girl friends or on their own. People discussing whether they liked the movies or books or whether they were a step too far. A LOT of chat. Radio, TV, print.

It got me to thinking for what reason I have something against these books or the film. Sure, I feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, but not because I’m a prude. I have no problem with two consenting adults doing whatever they like in the privacy of their own bedroom, in fiction or reality. I wondered how I could have such a strong negative opinion of something I haven’t read or seen, but saying that I know I wouldn’t enjoy watching a pubic beheading without needing to see one in order to decide.

I think it boils down to that fact that I’m a book and movie snob. I have an issue with the fact that it’s really just bad writing, and from what I have heard in reviews of the movie it’s also bad screenwriting. 50 Shades is doing for people’s opinion on sex as The Da Vinci Code did for people’s intelligence. I strongly believe that Dan Brown’s books helped those who were less scholarly to feel more so. And in this rationale, EL James has made women (and probably men) feel naughty, empowered and less boring in the bedroom. It’s made it okay for people to read, and discuss erotica in public and not feel grimy or sordid. For that EL James should be applauded. There are plenty of books that err on the hot side of raunchy, but people would rather keep those strictly to their kindles where no one can tell what they’re reading. But 50 Shades was seen being read poolside all around the world (as was The Da Vinci Code, incidentally).

I’m reminded of the feeling I got when I went to see Avenue Q a few years back. When I came out of the theatre I was disappointed. People around me had belly ached to the puppets singing about porn, whereas I thought the whole thing was unfunny, childish and just not extreme enough. It was like your prudish [insert family member here] saying ‘crap’ in a sentence and then looking at you like they’ve just said the naughtiest word ever. Cringe.

And that’s it, it’s all a little cringe. Ann Summers’ mannequins in submissive positions with fuzzy handcuffs dripping from their wrists. Leave it out.

I’d like to touch on the domestic violence issue, lightly, again having not read or seen 50 Shades. This subject has obviously pushed buttons and there are two very separate schools of thought on this. One side state that 50 Shades promotes domestic violence, abuse and stalking. The other side protest that women (and men) should be a little looser and realise that when two people consent to this kind of thing, as is the case in the story I understand, that it’s up to them what they do. People like this, and if you don’t then don’t do it. My opinion is people can do what they like, but what we need to remember is that 50 Shades of Grey was written as a Twilight fan fiction. I’ve read (and written) plenty of fan fiction in my time. Some is wonderful, some is truly drivel. I understand that this particular book is written extremely badly. I’ve read snippets, out of context granted, and it’s truly awful. So when EL James defends her book and states that this isn’t domestic abuse, but two consenting adults enjoying an alternative sex life, we need to remember that she also believes she’s penned a novel worth reading and well written. What I’m getting at is that she might have written it so badly that it does boil down to domestic abuse. She might have been so off the mark that it turned into bad taste. And also, remember that the original character was Edward Cullen, a stone cold killer vampire who can enter a room unheard and unseen and with the strength of a really strong thing.

And after all this, yes I’m intrigued, but I don’t think enough to go and read the books or see the film. I have a lot of way more sexually charged books on my book shelf and if I want to read something like that I’ll choose something I consider to be written well, thank you very much. (Incidentally, all my Dan Brown books were donated to the public library and I only read 1 and 3/4 of them….. yes I stopped about 15 pages short of the second book to make a sandwich and never went back.)

So, obviously I can’t make up my mind as I haven’t experience the subject matter. But I’m fine with that. I’m fine with the befuddled looks I get from women who can’t understand why I answer ‘No’ to ‘Haven’t you read 50 Shades?’ – I’ve had this look from people for years now. (It’s the same look I get when I tell them I haven’t seen Magic Mike either.) I’m just a book snob and a movie snob and that’s the way I am, just like Christian Grey is, apparently, just a hot weirdo in a suit.

I have read the odd review of the movie, and this one stuck out, so if you’re so inclined then go ahead and look at it. I’ve yet to read a positive review, but to be fair I doubt I’ve really been looking for one. If you’ve read one then go ahead and paste a link in the comments. If you’ve seen the film and or read the book I’d love to hear your opinion.

This whole saga intrigues me, can you tell?

Not That Kind of Girl

On Friday afternoon Jen and I left work early, headed for London and to the Royal Festival Hall. We’d managed to get tickets to Lena Dunham’s only UK book event, promoting her first book Not That Kind of Girl.

 

The evening began with an introduction from British author and columnist Caitlin Moran and then Lena came out and read a section from one of the chapters in her book. For those who have never taken an interest in Lena, first of all if you’re a woman – shame on you – she is a smart, eloquent, wonderfully open and the kind of unorthodox role model you’re looking for – trust me. She has the kind of voice you could listen to forever and everything she says is measured, deliberate and valid.

Her TV show Girls is about to start its 4th season. It follows a group of young women in New York and is to this generation of 20-30 somethings what Sex and the City was to the last generation. It’s brave, funny, sometimes shocking and so real. It depicts real women on the screen and talks about all the things the media says you’re not supposed to.

So Jen and I were eager to hear Lena speak since we both LOVE the show and have huge respect for her. Our ticket came with a signed copy of her book, which we both agreed we couldn’t wait to read so began to plan our busy schedules around when we could sneak in a quick chapter.

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After Lena had read her excerpt she was interviewed by Caitlin and they discussed everything from parts of the book, to sharing her body on screen, being a woman in the media and her show, Girls.

The question and answer section towards the end of evening was cut short as they had run over time but a great selection of questions were asked, including those about race, some of Lena’s previous work and one woman who thanked Lena for her strong writing which had helped her to get out of an unhappy marriage. It got a bit emotional.

It was wonderful to be in a room with such a bunch of strong women (and a few celebs including Richard E Grant, Sarah Millican and the lead cast of Call The Midwife, a show Lena had been very vocal about loving). I’ve often thought of the term Feminist as boot clad, short haired bra burners and wondered what it really meant to be one. I don’t know if I am one, but if it means being in the company of these ladies it’s definitley not a bad place to be.

December 7th

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Today I’m going to share with you my favourite Christmas books. I like to read short books over the Christmas period. They’re all Children’s or Young Adult books actually, but that suits me fine.

A new one to this year is Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy and illustrated by Rob Ryan.

I was drawn to this book because I love Rob Ryan’s paper cutting work. I have his calendar this year and intend to get next year’s too. The words he puts in his work are sometimes a bit odd but often so moving and inspirational – I recommend you check his work out. Anyway, this book was described as an updated version on The Night Before Christmas. I saw it discounted on amazon so bought it for just a few pounds. It’s an adorable take on a familiar story written by the 2009 appointed Poet Laureate. If you get the chance to read it then do.

The next is The Smelly Sprout by Allan Plenderleith. I came across this book whilst browsing the book shop one day and read it as I stood there. It’s such a cute tale that I had to buy it. It comes off the shelf every year. I have a soft spot for sprouts.

The last is a book I mentioned in a previous post, that I read every year. It’s not a cute or an easy book to read. It’s a deep thinking, thought-provoking and sometimes very sad book. It evokes the feelings of Christmas and reminds you to count your blessings. It feels snowy and magical, yet deeply emotional all at once. Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder isn’t a walk in the park but it’s not a difficult book to read. If you’re familiar with Gaarder’s other books (Sophie’s World, The Solitaire Mystery) you’ll know what I mean. If you can, pick it up. It’s a beautiful book that remains just as beautiful with every read.

So those are my Christmas book choices, but I’m willing to add to the collection. Do you have any books that you like to read every Christmas?

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Pretty Words all in a Row #3

I’ve said this in previous posts, but this year I’m really struggling to find the time for reading. This makes me sad because I love getting lost in a good book, but I’ve been fitting in running and now with the new job the last thing I want to do after spending all say staring at a screen is to pick up a book and do more reading. It’s a shame but I’m going to have to admit I’m not going to hit my Goodreads target.

That being said I’m not going to give up on reading and I’ll still be finishing books, but at my own pace rather than racing to a finish line. I will, however, still be updating you guys on the books I have completed! So here’s part three of books for this year.

In part two I wrote that I was reading a book called Our Holocaust, and that I thought it was a little hard going. Well it was, so I moved on and decided I needed something a little less serious:

  • Dark Places  by Gillian Flynn (who wrote Gone Girl) was a perfect easy read. She writes fairly intelligently but you don’t have to think too hard when you’re reading it. The story was interesting to follow. There was a nice twist near the end – but not as big as in Gone Girl. This was Gillian’s second novel.
  • The Death of Bees  by Lisa O’Donnell was one of GoodReads 2013 suggestions early in the year and I found it didn’t disappoint. Written from the perspectives of two young Scottish girls who had to contend with their freshly dead junky parents. Sounds weird and heavy going but was a very interesting read. It reminded me a bit of The Wasp Factory.
  • I heard about The Uninvited via a book blog I used to read and liked the premise. It turned a bit weird sci-fi throughout so I was a little disappointed but it passed the time sufficiently!
  • Running Like a Girl was a gift from Gary. Written by British journalist Alexandra Heminsley, she described her journey from new runner to marathon runner. It was a good read but the first half was more interesting to me since there was a lot of description on how she struggled at the start but then jumped quickly from training and learning to running marathons easy peasy. Still an entertaining read, which I would recommend to any woman starting out running.
  • Hunger is an Amazon Single (their equivalent of a ShortRead). Written by Susan Hill (who wrote Woman In Black and a few of the other books I’ve read over the last year and a half) I was very disappointed. It was so short it started to go somewhere and then was wrapped up as if she was told half way through that she had to stick to a word count.
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn was her first novel (I obviously like to do things backwards!) and a really good read. I like her writing style and her books are always interesting to read. This one again had you guessing all the way through and ended up with an uncomfortable twist, similar to Gone Girl in it’s sinister roots. I really recommend this one, especially if you liked Gone Girl.
  • Apparently I didn’t learn from my last Susan Hill Single but I downloaded Crystal (for free I might add) and gave it a crack. Oh dear. It was worse than Hunger. I won’t make that mistake again. I think I’ll stick to her ghost stories……
So that’s where I am now. I have started and stopped a couple of books since then and I do have a few on the pile that I’m looking forward to starting. Yes, I’m 5 books behind on my challenge, but now I have admitted to myself I won’t achieve it I can relax and take my time reading the books I want to read, and even re-reading some. And as G Man said:
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(Oops…. that photo may have given away my exciting news….. ah well ;D I’ll blog it in full when it’s final!)
More when I have it!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly…..

Watching: I saw this movie this week

It’s called Mama and it’s amazing! If you like scary and slightly supernatural movies you’ll love it. Dark and gritty, it stars Jessica Chastain and some incredibly talented little girls. This is definitely a film I will be wanting to own and will watch again.

Reading:

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. It’s set in Scotland and is written from the perspective of two young girls whose parents are (were) junkies – until they died and their kids had to bury them in the garden. It’s an easy read but the content is very well written and intriguing.

Resting: I did my knee in on my last two runs so have been taking advice and resting, icing and stretching over the last two days. I’m back on the pavement this evening though, but hoping to run a flat course to give my knee a bit of a rest. I’ve also found a running club which goes from near my work every Wednesday and is free! If I can sync my work schedule to allow it I’d love to start running with them. We went and had a sneak peek of them as they left yesterday evening and it looks like a really nice bunch (there were about 70 of them, AND it was raining! Gee whiz!)

Dreaming: Of the future and where I’ll be in 6 months. Everything is up in the air. We wanted to be out of our house by Christmas but with my job being so uncertain this is looking less and less likely. Still it’s only just coming up to June so we can hope. I’d also like to do something for my 30th in August but who knows if I’ll be earning then.

Spending: in my mind.

OPI Couture de Minnie

This new range of OPI colours has just launched and I’d really like it. I missed the last Minnie Mouse range because by the time I could get it, it had sold through. This range has a liquid sand option and the glitter top coat is so pretty. The set of minis and the glitter top coat are on my amazon wish list so I’ll be getting them as soon as I can – or it might go on my birthday list!

Learning: about people and myself and growing as a manager at work. I’m finding it really rewarding to have worked with so many different managers this year. I’m able to take elements of all their styles and work on my own and make myself better. It’s been very unsettled at work because of all the change but I’m using it to better myself – who knows where I’ll be this time next year so I might as well reap the benefits!

Waiting:

for Sunday when I’ll be seeing Al Pacino at the London Palladium, in An Evening With Al Pacino. I’m really excited!

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Let’s Get This Out Of My System

Right, here it is: the big running post.

I’m aware that not all of you will be interested in running, and I’m really aware that I don’t want this to become a running blog. So I’m going to put it all down here, from start to present, and get it out of my system. Of course running is becoming a big thing for me so I will be mentioning it and writing about any events I might do, but I’m going to shake it all down here so what’s gone on so far is done and there’s a line under it!

My first experience with running was when I was a kid and Blue Peter were doing one of their Fun Run events – they were dotted around the country and there was a local one. So Mum told me I’d need to practice running before we signed up so that I knew I could do it. I was a fat little kid and half way down the road I wanted to collapse in a wheezing heap. I gave up.

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Can you tell it was the 90’s?

Fast forward to the Olympics last year and G Man and I had tickets to the athletics. The whole thing was amazing. Watching people using their own body strength to achieve was amazing. Jess Ennis had seen the Olympics four years before and said to herself that when they next came around she would be competing for medals. And she did. What an inspiration! I came away feeling really motivated to do something, but I didn’t know what.

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One of my best friends, Jen, is really into fitness and gym work. Having worked for a gym in the past she knows a lot about fitness and since leaving there she has continued to pound it out at the gym 5 times a week – even taking part in boot camps. I have flitted with the idea of various different things. I even bought the 30 Day Shred and haven’t ever opened the box. Every time I came to her with a different whim she could tell I didn’t really want to do it. Being the politest she could be she would usually listen to be blabber on about it and come up with different excuses as to why I couldn’t commit. At the end she’d say “Erin, it doesn’t sound like you want to do this”. And she was right. (That’s what great friends are for!)

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Jen and Me – yeah a lot of our photos involved us pulled odd faces…. this was the best one!

Then G Man and I decided that as we were both off for the day we’d trek to London and watch some of the Marathon. It was days after the Boston Marathon so it was on everyone’s mind and we wanted to show support in our own way. Watching all those people who have trained hard and who were out there doing it was so inspiring. I caught the bug.

Now I can’t say the idea to run just jumped into my head. One of my friends on the net, Ari, took up running about a year ago and has been posting her progress online ever since. As a busy woman working, but still running, I found her inspirational too – and so motivating. She introduced me to a world of runners online – a massive running family all spurring each other on.

Next I had to get G Man on board. It wasn’t going to be a cheap hobby to start and we both needed to know that I was going to really go for it, and not leave my kit at the back of the cupboard along with my 30 Day Shred and my Teach Yourself Japanese kit. Having a two-week break and not much to do really made me want to run more. The weather was great and I kept posting online that “I just want to run”. I remember Ari telling me “run if you want to run”! But I only had Converse and nothing else, and seriously, have you ever tried running in Converse? It’s like wearing flippers…. But one day it struck me. Just because I could run didn’t mean I couldn’t walk. So I got up that second and walked down to the train station to meet Gary from work. That click in my head was all I needed to know I was serious and that weekend we went back to London to get my kit. (You can read all about that here if you wanna!)

And the rest is history – you can read my last few posts about my starting running and progressing, I won’t rehash it all here. But I’m still feeling motivated. I have a few people who I talk to online about it, and one of my friends, Tash, is running a 5k with me at the end of June. I’m training for that now, and today I ran my furthest distance of 2.73 km. I was so excited to tell Jen how I had started running and was going for it for real. I like the strong feeling I get from running and how I can push myself to do more considering I’m only on my 3rd week of running. And when I run I run towards a mirage of medals and shiny kit – yes it’s great that I’ll get healthy and maybe even a tan if the sun decides to show again, but I’m super excited about the medals – I’m not gonna lie! Stay tuned for a running kit blog where I’ll talk about what I use and how it suits me.

In other non running news, I’m loving my new Gillian Flynn book Dark Places and I’m already half way through! I found out yesterday I didn’t get the job I’d interviewed for but I seem to have made enough of an impression that they’ve put someone onto the case of finding me something perfect before my contract ends. I’m thankful for that and I trust that they feel they can find something better for me than the position I applied for – obviously it wasn’t right for me. I trust in fate that the right thing will happen. Until then I’ll just keep running!

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Struggling to Keep Up!

I’ve been struggling this year at keeping up with my reading challenge – or just reading in general. Things have either gotten in the way or I’m just not enjoying the books I’m reading.

Until two days ago I’d been struggling with a book about the Holocaust. It seems it was a little too heavy to dip in and out so I have decided to spend a little money on some books. I’ve been only reading books I can get on 99p Kindle deals or for less than £2.00, but I realised I’m buying books that don’t really interest or grip me.

Today I had a book delivery (I love Amazon Prime!) of two books I’ve had on my wish list since before they were published in the UK. One is The Death of Bees and the other is The Uninvited. I also downloaded Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, onto my Kindle. She wrote Gone Girl which I read earlier this year, and I figured that if I read something where I’m already familiar with the writer, it might help me to get into the book more easily. It seems to be working and in my first sitting I read 7% of the book. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into something good again!

This week I have two days off in a row (today and tomorrow) and I have decided I need to set aside some time specifically for reading  – and try not to fall asleep instead!

If anyone has any good recommendations for books I should try out next, please do! I’d love to hear what’s out and about 🙂
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Pretty Words all in a Row #2

It’s been a while since I updated you on my reading so here’s part 2 of my reading challenge of 40 books in 2013. If you missed part one it’s here!

Finding the time to read, of late, has been tricky. I would usually read a lot on my lunch break but there always seems to be a distraction so it’s been a slog, I can tell you. But now I’m back on track and have read 7 books since the first update!

Fin Family Moomintroll and The Exploits of MoominPappa are the next books in the Moomin series of novels. Interesting but sometimes a little sickly sweet I decided to take a break from the Moomin books after these two, and return to them in places over the year.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I had seen this recommended to me a few times on amazon, and a fair few of my Goodreads friends had read it so I was interested to read it. I didn’t realise this book was about cancer when I bought it and I found it hard going to start with because cancer is effecting my family directly at the moment. That being said the characters were written well enough to allow me to feel their plight without it speaking directly to me. I’m familiar with John Green’s writing style having read Paper Towns last year, and so I was used to his colloquial youthful style of writing, but this might grate on others, as it sometimes did with me. I’m pleased I read it and I found it very enjoyable, though I wasn’t moved in the way others were. I would recommend reading it.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. My regular readers will have seen me mention this book throughout some of my posts and will know I struggled hard through the first quarter of the book. But having been spurred along by both my Mum and some of you guys I persevered. And by golly am I glad I did. I’m still thinking about this book AND I’ve seen the movie twice (2D and 3D – very worth seeing if you liked the book) The imagery created by the author is intense and wonderful. It’s written well and despite my struggle at the start I would read it again. Bought for 20p on my Kindle – the best 20p I’ve spent this year.

Tom’s Midnight Garden was suggested to me by a girl at work. It’s a short book and it popped up on my Kindle lending library so I thought I’d give it a go. I was in the mood for something quick and non taxing to help bump up my book numbers, because I was lagging. I skim read most of it, but still found it entertaining and the end was very interesting.

I started Moominsummer Madness directly after the last Moomin book I completed but needed to change-up my reading genre or my mind would turn to mush. So I revisited this book after Midnight Garden and completed it next. Entertaining but again more like bubblegum for the mind.

The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was on a 99p deal in the Kindle store and seemed to get good ratings so I bought it. I enjoy fairytale based stories and this one was original despite being based around very familiar stories. It was a fairly quick read but had a lot of twists and turns. I think it’s aimed at young adults but wasn’t too bad for me either!

I’m currently reading Our Holocaust by Amir Gutfreund which is beautifully written and even though I’m only 4% in I can tell it could be pretty hard going. But it’s going to get my brain working and that’s rarely a bad thing.

So I’ve completed 13 of my 40 books for the year and I’m on track. Have you read anything you want to shout about? I’d love to hear your suggestions and your thoughts on any of the books I’ve read so far!

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