This October has been incredibly busy, despite having a holiday in Northumberland at the last week. Trying to keep the job, family, reading, a blog, social media plus another project in the air has been fun but all-consuming. I also decided to revamp our Bookstagram feed which has resulted in a boost in followers and I have shared some of these in this post. Our Interview with a Bookstagrammer series has continued too and it has been great to chat with more talented bookish friends from Instagram. Last but not least, I recorded my first radio interview with Petersfield Shine Radio – hopefully the first of a few!
Everything is likely to get even busier from now so one of my main focuses will be to be to balance my time more effectively. I’m about to start two writing projects (not NaNoWriMo but I’ll use this as a driver) so I have to be super-disciplined. But first, the October wrap-up…
This was probably the best month of the year for books so far with a nice mix of genres and 3 titles with top ratings (4.75 is the highest I ever go). It was great to finally read an Elizabeth Gaskell novel and I found it far funnier than I expected so I’ll be adding more to my TBR pile.
- English Pastoral by James Rebanks (4.75/5)
- Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (4.25/5)
- When I Dare to Be Powerful by Audre Lorde (4.75/5)
- Paper Girls by Brian K.Vaughan (4.25/5)
- Boy, Everywhere by A.M.Dassu (4.75/5)
Rebecca was top of Al’s list and he ended up giving this a top rating after a slow start (which I guessed he would and so glad he stuck with it). The other two titles were graphic novels – we both read Paper Girls and will carry on with this series.
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (5/5)
- Paper Girls: The Complete Journal of Luke Kirby by Brian K.Vaughan (4.5/5)
- Summer Magic by Alan McKenzie and John Ridgeway (4/5)
Two utterly fantastic witchy reads. We enjoyed the Em Lynas book so much that we’ve bought all 3 in the series. These will keep us going until Christmas so expect them to feature next month,
- The Witches by Roald Dahl (4.75/5) – note: this was associated with a paid ad for Bookstagram
- You Can’t Make Me Go to Witch School! by Em Lynas (4.75/5)
Movies and TV
The most powerful TV programme we watched was by far David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. We have already greened our lifestyle considerably – cutting energy, reducing meat and diary, investing ethically and rewilding our garden but this reminded us to keep on going.
We’ve started watching Rebecca on Netflix and to be honest, it hasn’t completely held our interest. There have been lots of comparisons with the much darker Hitchcock version and although I like some aspects of this release (the Monte Carlo section in particular), Lily James shifts between under and over acting. Still, we’ll see this one through to the end to give it a fair chance.
Family Days Out
Loads of highlights this month – first with a trip to the Elizabeth Gaskell House in Manchester which totally turned our preconceptions of this Victorian novelist around. She was a witty socialite with a fine skill for writing and if you haven’t read any of her work, I highly recommend giving it a go – especially if you enjoy reading novels by Austen and the Brontes.
We carried on the literary theme during our holiday to Northumberland – visiting Abbotsford, the fairytale home of Sir Walter Scott (featured in post image). Alongside all of these, we included lots of indie bookshops and now have a major haul stacked up on the TBR trolley.
Because of lockdown, November is going to be centred around the home and I’m certain my subconscious mind planned for this. I wrote three posts in preparation – 5 Steps to Organising a Reading Retreat at Home (which will be my birthday gift to myself), Book Nook Magic – 8 Tiny Rooms to Add to Your Bookshelves (future goal!) and 10 Books about Courage and Perseverance that Will Make You Stronger.
The world is an anxious place right now, but books, writing and creativity will see us through.
Mel, Al & Little M