March is always a busy month for me as it plays host to both our kids’ birthdays, which means time spent making party plans, baking cakes and generally having a lovely time with family. It also means a little less time for reading, so my bookish pile this month is slightly lighter than the norm. We have the school holidays coming up in a week though, so I do hope to rectify this situation imminently 😉 . Oh, and here’s a snap of my youngest reading at the blustery edge of Dunnet Head for World Book Day. He won an ‘extreme reading challenge’ in his class with this pic, and managed to bag himself some lovely book tokens in the process.
You know, I rather wish it could be World Book Day every day……
Back onto what I’ve been reading lately though, and my first book for the month was The Chessmen, the final instalment in Peter May’s bestselling Lewis Trilogy. I was quite sad to come to the end of this series – the best part for me being May’s evocation of the Outer Hebridean landscape, which has had me totally captivated (and, everything the guy from the New York Times says on the cover too 🙂 ) . This last part of the jigsaw was a nice rounding off of Fin’s story – with the backdrop of a decades-old mystery, old romantic entanglements and the ghosts of childhood friendship. I love the way May weaves stories about the Hebrides into the narrative (things like the details of the Iolaire disaster – the worst peacetime disaster involving a British ship since the Titanic). The whole thing has made me want to jump on the nearest ferry and go visit the wonderful Outer Hebrides again.
My second book for March was Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I got curious about this book after hearing about it on Dr Chatterjee’s ‘Feel Better, Live More’ podcast not so long ago. Now – this was really interesting. The concept isn’t about zero digital but rather finding the amount that’s ‘just enough’ for a happy, balanced life. The author recommends a 30-day detox of everything digitally ‘optional’ (while keeping the ‘need-to-know’ stuff like details of your kids whereabouts 😉 ). After that he suggests working up a long-term strategy for your digital consumption (‘it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle’ kind of thing.) I have to say that having heard from friends who’ve reaped the benefits of this approach I think I might give it a go (at least for social media) after I’ve done my bit for the John O’ Groats Book Festival in April. There was so much about the research and practices covered in this book that resonated for me. To quote the author:
humans are not wired to be constantly wired.
My final book for March was Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger. I wouldn’t normally post about reading a cookery book (I tend to just dip in and out of them), but this one is a bit special. I found myself wanting to read every single one of the recipe entries – even the ones I know I’ll never make – just to absorb more of the author’s lovely, soothing prose. This is a book for times when you feel sad, lonely, happy, or just need a reminder of the restorative powers of beloved activities. It made me feel cosy, warm, safe and hungry (and also, slightly tempted to get up in the middle of the night, cook a chicken, and eat it with my hands).
Since reading it I have made the Midnight Chicken of the title and can confirm that it is equally delicious at 7pm (or whenever you choose to eat it). The only other thing I would say about this book is read the acknowledgements. An unusual request perhaps, but when you read them I think you’ll understand.
So that’s it for my round up of March’s (admittedly smallish) reading pile. So I’ll leave you with a picture of the second hand bookstore of dreams, Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness, which I visited for the umpteenth time during a visit to the Highland capital last week. Promise me you’ll never make a visit to Inverness without first visiting this delightful bookish haven.
And in the meantime, book lovers, have the most wonderful start to Spring!
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission should you choose to purchase via them.
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