"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Recent Reading

I first read "Cross Stitch" by Diana Gabaldon (I think it might now be called The Outlander??) in the mid 1990's and went on to read the next two in the series. Although I bought several more I never got round to reading them. Before I continued with the series I decided to re-read the first few to remind myself of the storyline. On the second reading the book did not disappoint (when I first read it it was one of my favourite books of all time). It is a time slip novel where Claire Randall, a nurse just back from the Second World War goes on a second honeymoon to Scotland with her husband Frank. She has a strange experience in a stone circle and finds herself whizzing back in time to 1743 where she meets a certain Scots warrior named James Frazer. Most of the novel is set in the 1700's.

I thought this little book might encourage me to continue decluttering after the massive efforts of last year to clear our bedroom of clutter. Sadly, I am not ready to get rid of any more of my books or memorabilia although the book has plenty of good advice for those who wish to tidy!

This is a really fascinating book that tells you everything you could possibly wish to know about birds' eggs. I learnt so much although have to say that as I am rather a squeamish type of person - it put me off eating boiled eggs for a while!

The next Maisie Dobbs - I enjoyed this but perhaps not quite as much as some of the others I have read in the series.

Joy Ellis is a new author for me (Thanks again Rosie from Corners of my Mind for giving me ideas of authors to try!). After the first few pages I really didn't think I would enjoy this book as I took an instant dislike to the main character but as I read on and understood why she acted as she did I found she engaged my sympathy and I ended up really liking the book and will read more in the series.

I can't believe I have had Kilvert's Diary since 1986 and never read it before! Thanks this time to Bovey Belle from Codlins and Cream2 who mentioned the Diary in one of her blog posts and reminded me I had a copy. I enjoyed this book immensely you feel as though you get to know Francis Kilvert as a friend and, of course, much of it is set in the beautiful Welsh borders. It is such a tragedy that only a few of his notebooks remain and we shall never be able to enjoy the rest of his words. This particular book is beautifully laid out with

pressed flower photos on most of the pages and

old photos scattered throughout the book. Huge apologies for the dangling lens cap - I didn't notice it until after I had uploaded the photo!

There are also enchanting little paintings by Andrea Thomas of churches and buildings mentioned in the book. I now have a desire to visit the churches at Clyro and Bredwardine in Radnorshire and Herefordshire where Kilvert was Curate and Rector.

How many of you read and collected the Ladybird Nature books when you were a child? I had a big collection but sadly got rid of them all when I got married and we bought a house. Over the last few years I have been re-buying them secondhand and the "What to look for in .... (Winter/Spring/Summer/Autumn) are my favourites with wonderful illustrations by C F Tunnicliffe.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I need that little book of todying, or rather, a very big book of tidying

Deborah RusticPumpkin said...

I always like to see what others are reading. It gives me food for thought when looking to try something new. I tried to read Cross Stitch, only because it was causing such a storm amongst my friends, but it is a book I could not get into, despite being drawn to such time weaving tales. Recently, I picked up a brand new copy of the Rev. Kilvert's Diary for 50p in a coffee morning!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon and lol! I am far too much of a hoarder to declutter properly. Still regretting many of the things I ditched last year!

Deborah RusticPumpkin - Thank you. I have to say Cross Stitch is a rather long book. There are quite a few books that were very popular that I never really enjoyed - The Miniaturist comes to mind. The 50p brand new Rev Kilvert book was a superb buy! We have a really good second hand bookshop near to us and you can get some great bargains there.

Rosie said...

This is the best time of year for catching up on reading! The bird egg book reminded me of the huge Victorian collection we had in one of the museums I worked in, I think in the end it got moved to either Leicester or Birmingham Museum as they had to be kept in very special conditions as regards heat and lighting levels. Talking of Museums a friend of mine lives near Llandrindod Wells and we saw a super little exhibition there about the Rev Kilvert - I'm not sure whether or not is was a permanent one, I think it was put together by the Kilvert Society. The Joy Ellis books get better, like you I wasn't keen on Nikki Galena in the first one but her character grows with each one:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thank you. Nothing better than curling up with a book in the warm these cold Winter days :) That is interesting about the Victorian collection in one of the museums you worked in. Sadly, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery now seems to have got rid of all its super natural history displays - I think a lot of stuff is in storage. Some might be in the new Science museum (a place I haven't yet been to!). Rev Kilvert exhibition sounds interesting - I will have to try and find out if it is permanent. Now I know a certain character in the first Joy Ellis book seems to have survived (not mentioning names in case anyone who reads this decides to read the books!) am looking forward to the next one. I'm reading "Bird in the Hand" by Ann Cleeves at the moment - not enjoying it as much as the Vera and Shetland books but will persevere. It seems a bit over-long and an awful lot in there about twitching! Not sure how people not into birdwatching would get on with the book!

Pam said...

The Little Book of Tidying is so me!! This and diary have both gone on my book list!!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks - I got the little book on tidying from Sainsburys - it would have been better if I had bought it when actually decluttering rather than after! The diary for me was just superb - would so liked to have met the Rev Kilvert :)

Morning's Minion said...

A friend introduced me to Outlander when the first three books in the series had been published. I read them quickly and subsequently awaited each new volume. Diana Gabaldon's vocabulary, the historical settings, the way in which she portrays the subtleties of a relationship are, I think her strong points. As in any series of books I've read there is an unevenness--the plotting--and surely the editing--not as consistently well done. I haven't enjoyed the last two books of the series as much; there seems to be a trend to excessive salacious and/or gruesome detail that doesn't advance the story.

I'm a fan of Maisie Dobbs. I read the first two books of the series during the winter that I was transcribing the letters written to the family at home by my great uncle during WWI. The details of the stories enhanced my sense of the era. Only one book in the series disappointed: "Elegy For Eddie"
Ann Cleeves has become a favorite author for both the Shetland and Vera Stanhope series. Again, the word-crafting was a bit inconsistent from one book to another, but good enough to keep me watching for each new release in the series.

Ragged Robin said...

Morning's Minion - Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I so agree with your comments on the Outlander series - will be interesting to see what I think of the books in the series I haven't read before.

I am so enjoying the Maisie Dobbs books- they are delightful and charming. I can just imagine how they enhanced your sense of the era. I really enjoyed the Shetland and Vera books - not so sure about "Bird in the Hand" which I have just finished but I will probably try the next in the series. I am not sure when she wrote the latter but I suspect it was earlier in her career.

Bovey Belle said...

Kilvert was worth waiting for I am sure - it's definitely a Desert Island book for me. We regularly go to Hay and pass Clyro where he was living - I must stop by again and take some photos for you.

I will look out for a couple of the other authors you mentioned - several folks have said about the Maisie Dobbs novels, so . . . when I am not in Frugal February/March/April!!! I will see if I can find one at the free book shop (you do actually make a donation).

Bovey Belle said...

X-stitch was the best of Diana Gabaldon's books in my mind, but the whole series - oh my, WHAT a wonderful tale. ENJOY.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thank you. You are so right about Kilvert being worth the wait. I didn't want the diaries to end and thank you so much re: the photos. If you get chance I would love to see some. I checked google map directions - it is about 2 hours from here and Kilpeck another church I would love to visit about 90 minutes. Have been to the area several times but, although we drove, through Hay have never stopped I don't think. Perhaps something for the summer months although OH and rest of family not keen on churches so may have to go on my own!

I hope you can find a Maisie Dobbs - they really are charming books - unlike anything I have read before.

I honestly can't remember how many in the Diana Gabaldon series I read - I suspect about 3 - so look forward to catching up slowly on the whole series. From memory I thought she zipped back to the present time a few times but not in Cross Stitch so unless she does so in future books I am mistaken!!!

Pete Duxon said...

decluttering ? NAH :D

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - lol! To be honest still horrified at how much I got rid of especially hundreds of books :( Was looking for The Girl With the Pearl Earring - the other day and realised it was yet another I had taken to charity shop.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, RR, so much for another post about books. I must give Kilvert some attention, too. I remember being given a copy of 'What to look for in Autumn' when I left my nursery school... ah, those days of nature walks in crocodiles! Thank you for your kind comment - and just to say that my copy of 'Diversifly' has arrived and looks lovely. The artwork is fabulous, and I'm waiting for a moment to settle down with the poems...

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much. Kilvert, in my view, definitely worth reading - he has such an engaging writing style. Oh yes the joys of primary school in the 1950's and early 60's :) I am sure you remember the nature tables too! I will look more into Diversifly and see if I can get away with ordering it! Thank you for letting me know how lovely it looks.

Coquetnaturelover said...

Now that has given me a lot of ideas, thank you! A few more books for my birthday list! Not sure what happened to my ladybird books but they certainly aren't on my bookshelf anymore.

Ragged Robin said...

Coquetnaturelover - Thank you :) I had loads of the nature Ladybird books - not sure why I didn't bring them with me when I got married. I only kept a few Famous Five books.