Alexander Averin

Saturday 23 November 2013

So Many Books

(The artist for my header pic is a Russian artist named Demakov Yevgeniy)

So many books, so little time.
Frank Zappa

Woman Reading
Artist - Tavik Frantisek Simon

What makes a perfect winter’s Saturday apart from constant sunshine, blue skies and a temptingly beautiful frosty landscape outside my window?  (Answer a few lines down).  To be honest, as they say in these parts, the sun started to go down soon after three o’clock but it was certainly much appreciated while it lasted. I did the supermarket sweep as quickly as I could this morning and then returned to examine what the book angel had left for me.

Library books! Hot off the press too, some of them.   Like buses they have all come at once ,but aren’t libraries wonderful? 

These are the books I ordered, now waiting to be read, in no particular order.

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Migashida.  I heard parts of this on Radio 4 and found it so enlightening and interesting. I think everyone should read it. A rare and important insight into the mind of an autistic child.


Sisters of the East End by Helen Batten.  If you enjoyed the Jennifer Worth books that inspired the Call the Midwife series on BBC then this should be a must read. Heart-warming tales of nursing and midwifery from the Sisters who worked with Jennifer Worth.
Staying on the’old’ London theme.  As well as being my birthplace, I have East End family connections so snapped this one up.

My Lost London by Len Goodman, the Lovely Strictly Come Dancing judge. The book is crammed with fabulous old black and white photos of London as well as Len’s reminiscences.

In Len's own words:
I was almost born within the sound of Bow Bells, nearly born in Wales, but ended up being born in Kent. But never mind all that, I'm a Londoner, through and through. I spent my early childhood in Bethnal Green and even when we moved to live across the other side of the Thames I spent as much time as I could in the East End. I worked on the docks in London, played football all over London and once I took up dancing I was forever travelling around London. Like every person my age I'm nostalgic for what's no longer around. Don't get me wrong I don't think it was all much better in the ol' days, but it does get on my wick when some of the best things about life before the internet are in danger of being forgotten. What do I miss? Well I think lots of kids miss doing all the things we could do when I was growing up. I miss the characters, the markets, how we made our own fun and once I was old enough, the old boozers or a trip up the wild West End for a real night out. I love walking around London, seeing what's changed. I remember where buildings or even whole streets used to be, the old markets, like Covent Garden and Spitalfields, where I used to go dancing above Burton's The Tailors or down the Palais. My book will give me the chance to take you back to the London I remember as a kid, as a teenager and as a young man about town. Remembering all that was great about London will help bring back some of the good times that we had back in the last century.


Maeve’s Times by the much-missed and dearly loved Maeve Binchy. These are selected writings for the Irish Times which span five decades.
Book description:
'As someone who fell off a chair not long ago trying to hear they what they were saying at the next table in a restaurant, I suppose I am obsessively interested in what some might consider the trivia of other people's lives'

Maeve Binchy is well-known for her bestselling novels, the most recent of which was A WEEK IN WINTER. But for many years Maeve was a journalist, writing for The Irish Times.

From 'The Student Train' to 'Plane Bores', 'Bathroom Joggers' to 'When Beckett met Binchy', these articles have all the warmth, wit and humanity of her fiction. Arranged in decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s, and including Maeve's first and last ever piece of writing for The Irish Times, the columns also give a fascinating insight into the author herself.

With an introduction written by her husband, the writer Gordon Snell, this collection of timeless writing reminds us of why the leading Irish writer was so universally loved.

Journey into Mindfulness by Dr Patrizia Collard.  There are lots of books published  on the theme of meditation, mindfulness and relaxation etc but this is new one of the simplest and the best I have ever seen.  I recommend it highly. Below is the book description.
Mindfulness is a new way of experiencing life; it's about reconnecting with our original way of being and moving into the now. Through the practice of mindfulness you can find a path to better living, reduced stress, higher levels of energy and enthusiasm and increased self-confidence. Journey into Mindfulness explains the principles of mindfulness, a meditation cognitive therapy, in a simple yet inspiring way and comes with practical exercises that suit both the beginner and the experienced practitioner.

Living in the moment can be harder than we think in a tech-filled world of to-do lists. This gentle guide shows you easy, enjoyable and effective ways to slow down and develop awareness of your thoughts, actions and the environment. Exercises include step-by-step breathing and sound meditations, eating, walking meditations and movement sequences inspired by chi gong, tai chi and yoga to bring the mind and body into the present moment.

In this fully-illustrated book by leading mindfulness educator and author Dr. Patrizia Collard, discover the meditations and body moves to combat stress and anxiety, deal with fear and procrastination, eat better, manage change, love more, and ultimately feel the joy of being 'in the now'. You can learn: mindful eating, how to get out of a low mood, what to do with anger, how to embrace ageing, brilliant stress-reduction techniques, and how to get beyond fear. Use this book to reconnect with the simple moments in life; by truly living moment-by-moment rather than merely existing, your life will change for the better.

Diary of a Heretic by Mark Townsend
If you are interested in religions, be they paganism, druidry or Christianity this man's personal story may interest you.

In June 2007 Rev. Mark Townsend resigned from his ministry as a priest after his decision to share his story of brokenness and failure with the hierarchy. This book is the irreverent and whimsical, yet honest and gut-wrenching, story of his struggle to hold on to a faith within a world that seemed to be against him. It is a story that brings hope to all those who feel the established Western religious path has lost sight of compassion, grace and the one who could easily have been called Friend of Failures. As the author gradually digs himself out of the consequential gutter the reader will discover that all such failures can be redeemed and may even produce glittering nuggets of gold. More importantly, the reader will begin to see that his or her own failure can also lead to real moments of magic - so long as it is not repressed but accepted. A major underlying theme of the whole diary is the notion that real magic does exist, and that the magical traditions such as Druidry can be a major blessing for those who crave for something more.

Finally one of local interest which covers an interest of mine  - the  sacred springs, holy wells and spas of Wales. Written by Phil Cope who is a fine writer and photographer, I may well end up buying this one.  Borderlands by Phil Cope
I can't find a photo of this book online so will take one myself asap.

I am still desperately needing a good novel to get lost in – I am nearing the end of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey which I can recommend. It’s a good winter read and the sort of novel to savour in short bursts, not one to race through.  I am waiting for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn to arrive from the library but must look out some more novels to order. Can anyone recommend any good ones?

Well I mustn’t linger, the evening is closing in and the armchair by the cosy Rayburn is calling............... but which book shall I read first?  And what is on your bedside table?

Happy Reading,

Bye for now,




Rian said...

Cait, all of the books you mentioned sound great, but I will definitely look into the Diary of a Heretic.

It has been cold and rainy here in Texas and reading by the fire is exactly what I plan to do.

Frances said...

Cait, thank you so much for all the reading suggestions and your celebration of the joys of reading.

You've actually prompted me to realize that my past week's attention to knitting and Christmas card painting has led me to be overdue in the return of a fine book, Margaret Drabble's newest novel. I must return it tomorrow, put my name back on the reserve list, and see what other requests might have turned up at the circulation desk.

Thank you Cait! xo

Elizabeth said...

Yes, what a lovely selection of books you've chosen.
How we love to understand different worlds and others lives.
I think I'm often happiest stuck in a good book.

Mac n' Janet said...

I too like the sound of Diary of a Heretic and will go looking for it.
Another blogger introduced me to the Chinese author Dal Sijie and I just finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, not a long novel but so good.

A Cuban In London said...

Although not a Strictly fan (my wife does watch it), I love Len. He has such a lovely warm, down-to-earth personality. Proper Cockney geezer, too! :-)

Greetings from London.