It’s been a while since I shared a reading update, mainly because December was spent deciding on my favourite books from the twelve months previous. Meanwhile, January just keeps going… and going… and going ☺️. One of my favourite things about the long winter is the excuse to curl up with my reading pile and indulge in the sort of coorie-style activities I wrote about last week.
FINDING MR FLOOD BY CIARA GERAGHTY
And speaking of said reading pile, onto the books in question. My main read for December – at least until the school holidays started – was Finding Mr Flood by Ciara Geraghty (although I did also read Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca – you can hear about that in the 2019 round-up mentioned above). Finding Mr Flood was one I’d had on my bookshelf for ages, and it was a lovely, comforting read for December. It tells the story of Dara, who decides to track down her long-lost father, after discovering that her sister desperately needs a kidney transplant – and no one else in the family is a possible match. Along the way, Dara hires a private investigator – who has a few family issues of his own, and naturally, romance blossoms. This is a lovely, easy book for reading in the bath or on a rainy Sunday. My only criticism is that at over 500 pages in length, it might be a little bit on the hefty side for some. No matter, though, I was in no rush to finish it. If you like books by authors like JoJo Moyes and Giovanna Fletcher, I think you’ll enjoy it too.
LET IT SNOW (MAUREEN JOHNSON, LAUREN MYRACLE, JOHN GREEN)
Similarly for Let It Snow, a collection of three young adult romances based around the festive season. If you read my bookish round-ups regularly, you’ll know that when it comes to book choices, I often find myself in the category of early-forties-going-on-late-teens. I love young adult fiction, and with stories by leading YA authors like John Green I couldn’t resist this wintry comfort read (especially after seeing the film adaption on Netflix). It’s one to get you feeling all warm and tingly about the festive season. Okay, it’s January though. Maybe one to pencil in for the reading list about 11 months from now? 🙂
THE ART OF COORIE BY GABRIELLA BENNETT
No introduction needed for my next book, The Art of Coorie which I wrote about at length last week (you can find out all about it here, if you want to.) I loved this guide to the Scottish art of embracing wild landscapes and cosy indoor experiences – and finally finding a word to encapsulate the sort of lifestyle we already embrace up here in Caithness. I mean, what’s not to love about being beaten about the head with hailstones and then coming home to central heating, fluffy socks and scented candles? I’ve already ordered a copy of the similarly cosy-sounding The Coorie Home from my local library. Be prepared readers. This love affair is likely to endure.
THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE BY CHARLIE MACKESY
Talking of love affairs, who could help not fall in love with The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy? This beautiful book filled with inspiring words and artwork is an absolute delight. Read it from cover to cover or leave it on a coffee table to dip into whenever you feel the need of some bookish soul food. A perfect antidote to modern living – and a beautiful book to curl up with and share with younger readers, too.
MONSTER SLAYER – A BEOWULF TALE BY BRIAN PATTEN & CHRIS RIDDELL
On the subject of younger readers, a big thankyou to Barrington Stoke who gifted my son and I a review copy of Monster Slayer: A Beowulf Tale this January. I’ve mentioned on here before that my youngest son is dyslexic, and the lovely people over at Barrington Stoke often send us copies of their new dyslexia-friendly titles to enjoy. And enjoy this we did – in fact, I’ve rarely seen my son so excited to finish a bedtime story. We think adventure-loving kids everywhere will enjoy this thrilling, easy-to-read retelling of the legendary Beowulf tale. Think brave warriors, monsters lurking in swamps – and plaintive cries of ‘just one more chapter, please?’
HEALING THREADS BY MARY BEITH
Keeping with the old-world theme, and my next read for January was Healing Threads by Mary Beith, who lived relatively locally, in Sutherland. The book is a fascinating blend of Highland healing traditions, storytelling and folklore (and when my writing group leader recommends books to me, I feel I really should take note 🙂 ). I’m already using some of the ideas from the book like putting cloves and nutmeg in my teapot, and also plan to try some of the more innocuous cures like putting a sprig of heather under my pillow to help with my insomnia. If you’re interested in Highland history and culture it makes for fabulous reading.
As comforting as a warming cup of tea.
THE SALT PATH BY RAYNOR WINN
Speaking of healing, there is a term in medicine – ‘vis medicatrix naturae’ – which translated, means ‘the healing power of nature.’ My penultimate book for January, The Salt Path, made me think of that term, and wonder why advice to spend more time in nature isn’t given out on prescription to help with all manner of modern-day ills.
When Raynor and Moth find themselves homeless, and in the shadow of a devastating health diagnosis, they pursue the only option they find available to them – to start walking. Six hundred and thirty miles of walking and wild camping in fact, via Devon and Cornwall, along the South West Coast path. During their time on the trail, they discover a lot about themselves, their relationship, and the realities of being homeless.
An inspirational read for fans of books like Wild and believers in the restorative powers of nature. Sometimes the path to healing means putting one foot in front of the other, and moving on.
IN PRAISE OF WALKING BY SHANE O’MARA
Keeping with the walking theme (oh, aren’t I doing well on the segues this month? 🙂 ), and my final book for January – In Praise of Walking. And if you ever needed a reminder of why walking might just be the perfect form of exercise, this is another one for you. Packed with information on the physical, psychological and social benefits of getting out and pounding the pavements, you’ll be left in no doubt about the life-enhancing merits of getting your ten thousand steps in.
And on that note – it’s time for me to take my dog for a walk.
See you again in February for another month in books.
*This post contains one gifted item, and Amazon affiliate links, which means that I will receive commission should you purchase via them.
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