Friday, 5 March 2021
16.17 – Yes, I think it’s time. I have three books on the go and about to start another one, so I figured it could be an interesting one (for me to look back on at least, even if it may be boring for you, the blog reader!).
Ok, so I am currently listening to (appropriately) Listening to the Animals by Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. I have the hardback, which was a gift from my mother-in-law, but decided to listen to the audio book. Eventhough the way he reads it is sometimes a bit overdramatic, I think it is the right choice. I am enjoying that one whilst doing chores, like the horse poop scooping which I will be doing in a moment!
I am over halfway in a small non-fiction book called On Connection by poet/rapper Kae Tempest. It is saying lot of things about the idea of connecting in the world around you and yourself, a subject that I find myself thinking about a lot. I am getting a lot out of reading this one, even if it is only small book. I have about a third to go and I will probably finish it sometime tomorrow
I have started reading some poetry as well, which is Why Did You Leave The Horse Alone? by Mahmoud Darwish. I was recommended Darwish by a friend. I am only a few poems in. Though I have to say I have not found the rhythm in the poems yet, something about them is speaking to me. I will read a bit more later tonight when I am by myself in a quiet house and I can whisper them to myself. Call me weird.
Finally, I have finished my fiction read Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose this morning, so I have just chosen a new book one. I am going with State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. Now, this is a first book in a series and I had promised myself I would not start any new series before finishing an old one, but it was calling to me from my bookshelves, telling me it is time. It has been there a few years, so if it is calling now, I have to heed that call. It is YA and considering the book I have just finished and the book I will probably be reading next YA fantasy seemed the right way to go. I am likely to start this one later tonight. The only problem if I like the book is that I will have to buy the next in series… With a bit of luck I won’t like it. 😂
18.13 – Just had dinner. A simple omelet on a Friday evening. No-Fuss Fridays 🙂 – About to take my ponies in for the night and enjoy a little more Noel Fitzgerald during clearing the paddock of poop. Oh, the glamour of owning equines! Before dinner I managed to read a bit more of Kae Tempest’s book. Eventhough I am familiar with them, I never really paid much attention to their work. I bought this little book because its subject matter spoke to me. I am glad I did. I am nodding a lot whilst reading it, which must be a good thing. I have about 35ish pages to go. I may finish it tonight or savour it until tomorrow. I don’t want to rush through it. It’s family boardgame time first though, so until later!
20.40 – So I ended up finishing On Connection after all. It was an easy read that touched on themes close to my heart. I’m a HSP (highly sensitive person). Emotion is my middle name (un)fortunately. It can be both a blessing and a curse. I recognise it in my daughter as well and for her, as with me, life can be extraordinarily beautiful or it can be overwhelming. Numbness, which is something the book touches on quite a lot, is a feeling I dread. Luckily these days I have my coping mechanisms, but there have been times where it threatened to swallow me. Anyway, I really liked this little book. The only reasons why I gave it five stars and not six or seven is because I felt there simply was not enough of it and a slight lack of coherence.
I will take a little break from reading for a while, though I will probably start State of Sorrow when I go to bed. For now, I will spend a little family time.
00.06 – Technically it is Saturday already, but I will leave this as my final update before bed. I read a few more pages in Why Did You Leave Your Horse Alone? and I am definitely starting to get a better feel for the prose in this. I actually came close to crying already! There is something about Middle Eastern writing that has that effect on me. Maybe it is because the stories are often tragic and maybe because there is a certain kind of passion behind the words. There is an aesthetic to the words, if that makes sense, and it is one that seems to connect to me. This book was published in the mid-90s in Arabic and translated maybe a decade later, so it’s what I would consider modern poetry. It deals with Palestine and is at least semi-autobiographical. The writing and imagery is beautiful and does appear to hark back to older poetry and prose I have read from that region (and that I want to read more of).
By the way, the answer to the titular question is “To keep the house company, my son. Houses die when their inhabitants are gone…”. Isn’t that beautiful?
Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Night night!
Saturday, 6 March 2021
08.30 – About to go to do a grocery shop, but just thought I’d do a quick update. Not that there is much to update…. I only read two pages of State of Sorrow when I went to bed in the end. I was too tired. I was going to say I will try and read it over the weekend, but it’s a 450-page book – so very unlikely I will manage that! I don’t want to rush through the book either. I just hope I will enjoy it.
11.09 – I stole a bit of time to read when I got back from the supermarket. I read the first 30 pages of State of Sorrow while having a croissant and coffee. So far I am not that impressed with the writing or the set-up of the story. It simply has not piqued my interest yet. Fingers crossed that will change. After all, I have only read the first two chapters. Also, I have not read that much YA recently, so it may take me a while to get used to the tone of YA. I did read The City of Brass recently, which kind of read like YA, I guess. Anyway, I will not judge just yet.
I am off to do some chores before I have lunch. I should have some time to read later. I will probably keep Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry for quiet late evenings, so I can read the words without distractions.
18.52 – It’s been a strangely busy day not doing very much. Where has the time gone? I have not read an awful lot today and I am on page 55. I am ok with the book so far. I am not living it. The writing style feels a bit uninspiring. It’s not bad by any means, but it is simply not doing a lot for me. But this is a book written for younger adults, so I am not judging it for that. Just noticing. It feels very fairytale-like and that is a vibe that I often struggle with. I am curious to see where this goes. I hope to read till at least page 100 today, but we will see where we get to (royal plural).
20.16 – On page 90 now, about 20% in. The first big twist was expected and I am kind of glad the author chose to play that particular card early. Otherwise I would have been waiting for it the whole book. Now the card has been played I can just see where the rest of the packs falls.
00.17 – Time for bed. I read a couple more poems from Why Did You Leave Your Horse Alone? and I am really enjoying them. I don’t want to rush through them, so I will read on tomorrow.
We had a couple of hours of zoom chat with some of our friends in England, which was fun. It was nice to see their faces and just chat about random stuff. Fingers crossed things will be back to relative normality here by the end of the year and we will be able to visit our family and friends overseas.
I am about to start chapter 11 on page 112 of State of Sorrow. The title of the book clearly has several meanings, but which one is most appropriate? Maybe all of them. I am not falling in love with the book yet, but it reads away easily enough. I just am not getting sucked in by the characters or the story itself. I still might…
Anyway, it’s definitely time for bed. Tomorrow is Sunday. We don’t have a ton to do, but I do still have my taxes to sort out. Hopefully I willl be able to get a good chunk of reading in.
Sunday, 7 March 2021
09.32 – It’s Sunday morning. I have a few chores to do, but it’s a quiet sort of day hopefully. I have read a few pages in State of Sorrow. I started around page 120 this morning. I have put it down to watch some YouTube videos. I just need to do something mindless for half an hour.
13.07 – I passed the 200 page mark. I am enjoying it ok, but not loving it. None of the characters are quite floating my boat for some reason. I am not sure. It is not because they’re supposed to be teenagers, but just because I find them a bit ‘meh’. At this moment in time I doubt I will continue the series, but this could still change, like it did with Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House recently. I really thought I was going to leave it there and then the ending got me. I guess this book could do that, but I doubt it somehow. I hope it proves me wrong… or do I? After all, I have enough series I need to read without wanting to continue with this one! 😂
Anyway, time for a late lunch and after that, who knows? It’s my birthday tomorrow, so my husband and daughter are making a brownie cake for me, and I will probably end up bossing then around ‘supervising’. I will be forty two tomorrow and it oddly feels like a milestone. I am not sure why it feels different than previous birthdays. Maybe because unconsciously in the past year I have been on a journey of self-discovery and I actually feel more myself than I have been in years. I feel the urge to document my 42nd year somehow; the thoughts, sights, sounds and feelings that I discover over the course of that year. I think I will keep a notebook, like a diary, but I want it to be quite focussed. I will brainstorm with myself later. I have a nice notebook I could use.
As for State of Sorrow, If I could get to page 300 it would be amazing, but 250 I would be happy with. That should be easy, as I am on page 210 now.
22.54 – I have been so rubbish updating today! In the end I did not do that much reading later in the day. I am currently on page 240 of State of Sorrow and I think I will reach 250. I am still enjoying reading it, but my opinion so far has not changed. It still could!
I did listen to a chunk of Noel Fitzpatrick’s Listening To The Animals (Becoming The Supervet) whilst doing some chores. I have less than 100 pages to go in that one which translates to a couple of hours on audio. Again, it’s a book that I am enjoying, but not loving.
What I am loving though is Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry. Although I cannot pretend to understand half the metaphores he is using in Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?, it somehow resonates in me. It’s rather odd. The use of language (even if its translated) is so beautiful that even if large parts of the meaning pass me by, I am still enjoying it immensely. I think I will just read it now and look into the author’s story/background later and read some of the poems again. That seems backwards, but I want to find out whether finding out more about the author will give me a different perspective on these poems. It’s a beautiful book by the way, with the English translation on one side and the original poem in Arabic script on the other side. It gives something extra for sure. I am glad they decided to publish it like that. I will probably read a couple more poems tonight and leave it there. I don’t want to rush through it, which is too easy to do with poetry, I find.
I am off to bed. Hope you have a great reading week!