I love maps.
Especially when I’m reading fiction.
Maps have the capacity to draw one in, right down to ground/sea level so that one is skimming along beside the characters like a waft of vapour.
What is tradition?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it’s apparently, ‘…a way of acting that people have… continued to follow…’ through time.
The way I celebrate my birthday has become one such.
Not long after we moved back to Tasmania from the mainland, I thought how wonderful it might be to celebrate my birthday with a trip to Maria Island. The island has played a huge part in my life. Through my childhood, before it became a national park and World Heritage site, it was our playground. We would play in the tumbledown houses, swim in glass-like water. Simply, we would live Swallows and Amazons.
Back in the Matchbox in the city, we’ve had a bucketload of rain. (Actually we had it on the coast too. How do folk in the UK cope with days of rain? Yikes!) But in the one hour of sunshine yesterday afternoon, and between planting lots of summer annuals, I took a few pics.
It all started when I was a little girl.
I was born with foot issues and it was suggested to Mum that I do ballet.
I used to trot off to RAD classes with a woman who scared the very devil out of me. Tall, dark hair in a tight bun and archtypically, the frosty ballet mistress – think Cruella Deville with a bun!
The hall was big and cold for we little children in short white ballet tunics with grosgrain pink sashes, and pink ballet shoes that tied with long satin ribbons. For someone like me, a pudgy little six year old who even then sensed she was an introvert, it was intimidating…
My reading supply is now beginning to deplete as we move close to birthdays and Christmas (heavens, don’t SAY that word!) and I live in hope of a gifted book voucher. It’s the greatest thrill to choose something special from one’s favourite bookshops so I hope one or two family members might stumble across this post. 😉
Please note that as in the past, I will never reveal a plot. That’s an undertaking I make for the author’s sake and for future readers’ enjoyment. Where’s the fun in reading the book when the plot has been deliberately revealed by someone else?
Currently, I’m reading Juliet Marillier’s A Dance with Fate in print. The second in her Warrior Bards series and set deep in Celtic Britain, as usual she builds a completely believable historical world interlaced with the world of the fey. Nothing jars in Marillier’s work. This story leaped out in the first violent chapter and continues to race at pace through a haunting world. She is my favourite historical fantasy writer par excellence.
On Kindle, I have just finished My name is Eva by Susan Goldring. It was… interesting. A story that moved between the contemporary life of aged Evelyn, through her memories to her involvement in World War II. It’s a light read, even though revenge is a key motivation in the story. If I have any criticism, it’s merely that the end came rapidly, perhaps a little too quickly without tying up loose ends with a couple of the characters. But it’s a negligible criticism.
I’m now reading Push Not the River on Kindle, Book One of The Poland Trilogy by James Conroyd Martin. I didn’t seek this book out; it found me in an ad online. It seemed something I might like and so I swiftly added it to my Kindle library. Set in eighteenth century Poland, I’ve only read four pages, but I already like the character renditions. I know nothing of Polish history and look forward to being informed as well as entertained.
And finally, on audio, I’m listening to Santa Montefiore’s Secrets of the Lighthouse. Why did I choose this? I quite like Montefiore books. They’re light contemporary literature and perfect for the car in these tumultuous times.
I also have a thing for lighthouses and coastal stories. The fact that this is set in enigmatic and beautiful Connemara is grist to my mill.
The audio voice, Susan Ridell, is super for the plethora of female Irish voices, but I find she voices Ellen, the female protagonist, just a little too lightly – as if Ellen is an incredibly naïve thirteen, not in her thirties and running from life. I also find complaint with her voicing of male Irish characters – they’re all gravelly, rough and similar, making it hard to differentiate between them in audio. And I’m a lover of the male Irish voice!
I find I prefer men creating believable female voices than women creating male voices in audio and will choose carefully in the future.
But I’m enjoying the story greatly, particularly the character of the very much present late wife of the anti-hero. The Connemara setting is magnificent and I suspect we’re in for a supernatural and rip-roaring confrontation not very far down the track! ‘Nuff said on that one!
But can I just add that I finished Pullmans’ The Secret Commonwealth last week and can’t WAIT for the next book. WHAT A SERIES!!!!
I also finished Wolf of Wessex in audio and was blown away at Harffy’s departure from The Bernicia Chronicles. This writer has it in spades!
And on Kindle, I finished City of God by SJA Turney, the third in The Knights Templar series. Impeccably researched as always and acting out in one of my favourite historical settings – Constantinople. It’s a setting I’ve used myself a few times!
What I enjoy about this series is that the protagonist, Arnau, is not just a fighting man but a thinking man. That to me, is the difference between a flat, ill-nuanced character and a three-dimensional character. I look forward to more in this series.
And that’s it from my little library for the moment. I hope your reading is as rewarding as mine.
Having been away from our big garden on the coast for over 10 days, it has rocketed into spring in my absence. Sadly, the freesias are almost done and I’ve missed the best of the few tulips I had potted up. It’s not a groomed garden and things seem to appear from Heaven’s knows where, but that’s okay. The main thing is that it gives us such huge pleasure and an even bigger escape.
I read an article about Jane Fonda yesterday – that she had hoped to spend her 82nd birthday behind bars after a protest on climate change.
I read that she saw life in three acts and that her 60th birthday marked the beginning of the third act and by the stars she was going to make that third act memorable. She said she had no regrets about taking stands over heartfelt issues in her life and in fact wanted to have no regrets about anything on her death bed.
I admired that standpoint.
I am of course, by Jane’s definition, in my third act and when I look back over my life thus far, there’s no regrets at all.