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Spring Reading Review 2017

Picture of Admont Abbey Library – Austria, from

Back in January, I wrote about my plans to read my own library in 2017.  I should have known that reality would turn out differently – it always does when I think I have a reading plan.

The majority of books read since my last reading review post back in January have been library books (hurrah for libraries!).  And so my own library currently remains largely unread.  I like looking at books on shelves almost as much as I like reading them, so I am not at all troubled by this.

Here are some thoughts on a few of the books that I have most particularly enjoyed in recent times.

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What Is Literature For?

A belated Happy World Book Day 2017 to everyone!

As an avid bibliophile, I love anything which promotes and celebrates the value of reading.  But, some may ask, why on earth should we care about books?  Surely life is too busy to fit in reading on top of everything else?

In other words, what is literature for?

Check out this short clip by The School of Life which answers this important question.  It is pretty quirky to look at, but the underlying messages are interesting and relevant.  Listen without the pictures if need be! 🙂

Lives closely examined: seven books to savour


"The Explorer" ~ Rebecca Campbell (
“The Explorer” ~ Rebecca Campbell (

“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

I have spent January reading only fiction.  Not deliberately – it just worked out like that.  Perhaps it is that time of year when hunkering down with a good story, while it is damp and chilly outside, is a cracking option.  Perhaps reality needs escaping from at the moment.

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Reading My Library in 2017


I have always loved reading, but I have not always had time to read.  I have also always loved to be surrounded by books.  I have fond and vivid memories of the shelves running the length of my bedroom wall when I was a girl, packed full of wonders and treasures, such as The Wind in the Willows, many of Agatha Christie’s novels, and old favourites like Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers series.

2016 was the best reading year I have had for a long time.  In recent past times, my work gradually took an ever increasingly tight stranglehold on my time, energy and head-space.  The result was that although I started many books, I rarely finished anything.  Happily, my circumstances have very much changed for the better, and one of the miraculous consequences has been that last year I was able to enjoy and, yes even finish, just over 50 books.

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Winter Reading Review

Photo: Getty; Design: Michael Stillwell (via Pinterest)


In my Winter Reading Preview Post, I wrote about a number of books I planned to read before the end of 2016. It is a good job I am not employed as a predictor of the future, because I hardly stuck to this list at all.

Not to worry – I still managed to fit in plenty of engaging and high quality reads.  Here are my reviews of the seven books finished since my last reading review post.

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The Joy of Giving (His ‘n’ Hers Part III)

This weekend, Hub and I got in early with two of our favourite Christmassy things to do.  I was on book duty; Hub was on food…..


The Blackwells’ Children’s Giving Tree project is a wonderful initiative.  It provides an opportunity for children in difficult or unfortunate circumstances to receive a book of their choice – either one they have specified, or if they prefer, an age-appropriate surprise.  You can read more about it in this super student-paper article.

Continue reading “The Joy of Giving (His ‘n’ Hers Part III)”

Winter Reading Preview

Image ©Tom Gauld/Conde Nast/The New Yorker


Following my two recent reading reviews (here and here), I thought it might be worth taking brief stock of where I am in my reading year.

At the start of the year, I wrote about my two reading goals:  to finish at least 50 books; and to work my way through a list of twelve books inspired by ModernMrsDarcy’s 2015 Reading Challenge.

I would never wish to read only for the sake of clocking up conquests.  But I do find having an overall target to aim for helpful in maintaining focus on the importance of reading in my life.  Will it matter if I don’t make it?  No, of course not.

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Autumn Reading Review Part II

What blessings we have in our lives!  This adorable little quote from captures perfectly those fleeting yet magical early morning moments filled, we hope, with some of our favourite things.  For me, books would always feature in such a list.

Following on from my last post, here is the second set of reviews of my recent reads…

Continue reading “Autumn Reading Review Part II”

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