Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What I've Been Reading

The Bought New

I'm not going to go into detail on this first read as I'll be sharing the fun of our first Sheffield vintage book club meeting next week. I knew the story of The Wind in the Willows well as a child through an abridged audio version of the book and the David Jason animated film, but I had never actually read it. I absolutely loved it and found it a really relaxing read.

The Thrifted

Way back in the mists of time, when this blog was but a mere dot on the blogging landscape, I think I may have mentioned my weakness - nay love affair - with the very lengthy and epic Outlander saga, the tale of Claire, a woman from the 1940's who stumbles through a stone circle near Loch Ness and finds herself in 1743. There she gets married off against her will to a dashing young scotsman named Jamie Fraser, and so far there have been nine - soon to be ten - whopping volumes telling of their adventures. Oh, and the four spin off books that you can start halfway through the Outlander series.

 Yes, the plot at face value seems a little clich├ęd, but what I love about these books is that Diana Gabaldon never meant for the first book, Cross Stitch (American title Outlander), to be published. Struggling to find a book she wanted to read, she decided to write one for herself, and because no one was going to read it she threw everything imaginable in there: adventure, battles, pirates, time travel, a romance I dare you not to become completely absorbed in, death, history... you name it, it's in there. 

The Fiery Cross is the fifth in the series, and I tend to read lots of other books and then treat myself to the next in the sequence as I come across them, because I know I will be instantly drawn in. This one is no exception. Anything to do with history - and particularly the Battle of Culloden - is a hit for me, and I never get tired of reading about Jamie and Claire. Claire in particular fascinates me as a strong modern doctor finding herself in a time where women should be seen but not heard. By this book her own time is the 1960's, and man has just walked on the moon. In the 1700's she's still struggling to convince her patients that they need to brush their teeth.

If you like historical fiction you won't be disappointed - the historical research for these books is second to none - so I urge you to try these books. Buy Outlander, and as Gabaldon says, read three pages. If you can put it down again she'll give you a dollar.

The Audiobook

March's Audible download came as a recommendation by Jo of The Dexterous Diva. The title immediately piqued my curiosity and I looked it up. I loved the concept Marianne Cantwell puts forth on her website so I knew I wanted to give this book my full attention. And I'm so pleased I did! It's a simple concept. So many of us feel 'caged' into our careers - we have to go to work to make money to live, and we live so we can go to work so we can live. Quite often someone else dictates where we work, whether we work, how much we get paid and how our working life looks. Too many of us are miserable spending hours each week commuting and being stuck in offices, dreaming of more freedom and counting down the days until our next bit of time off. Quite rightly, Cantwell argues that this entire concept is bonkers, and her book sets out a range of ways by which it's possible to break free of the cage and become a free range human. 

Have I quit my job? Well... no. But I found myself nodding and shouting 'that's my life!' more times than I can count throughout this book, and it really made me think about my dreams and plans for the future. I think the greatest gift this book has is the ability to change mindsets. It changed my thinking  from 'it would be great to be one of those people who could do that' to 'why not me?' I'll definitely be giving it another listen and working through the exercises, and if you've ever wondered what wondrous things you could be doing to earn a living instead of turning up to work for someone else every day, I'd recommend you give this a read/listen. It makes a lot of sense. 

As for the audio version, it's read by Caroline Lennon, and although she reads well, she seems a little well-spoken for Cantwell's enthusiastic tone and language so sentences such as 'right freakin' now!' sound positively comedic. For me, this book worked well in audio form though, as I was able to listen while exercising or in the bath, which helped me to finish the book where otherwise annoying things like getting to work on time (!) would have meant I put the book down and didn't return to it as often as I should.

Have you read any ripping good yarns over the last few weeks?


  1. I have just finished 'The unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' really enjoyed the idea oaf vintage book club! :) x

    1. Ah, I have heard of that one. If you're recommending it it has to go on the list! x

  2. ive just started an old favourite, 'wuthering heights'..i never get sick of it, in fact i find new things in it each reading a vintage copy and it smells like oooold it!

    thanks for sharing ur reads


    1. I love that book too! If you're ever in the UK I recommend a visit to Bronte country - you too can run around on the moors crying, 'Heathcliff!' x

  3. Interesting post about 'Outlander', Diana Galbaldon's best I believe!
    Reading 'Gifts of War' by Mackenzie Ford and 'Escape from North Korea' by Melanie Kirkpatrick, simultaneously as both are fascinating!
    All the best,

    1. You're one of those clever sorts who can read two books at once! x


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