Archive for Books

Forwards and backwards

Posted in Books, Journal, Musings with tags on 28/04/2017 by Jen Healey

So phase erm… 2? of the move to Redditch is well underway.  The one item of furniture I own has been transported over to the new place already, making room in my Stratford ‘cupboard’ for me to empty out the bed storage.  Where the majority of my beloved books (and a few other items) have been stowed away/neglected since I moved last time.

books

This was a task I was not looking forward to, but it was not as taxing as I had anticipated.  It even had the unexpected side-effect of prompting me to think about all the subjects I used to read, research and indulge in.  In essence, part of who I used to be.  Those things that fire our imaginations and fan the flames of our individual passions, that can sometimes be put away, intentionally or not.  In my case, I had little choice but to store away these precious resources, due to the incredibly close quarters that I have called home for the past almost 2 years, longer even, as my room in Leamington was not much more spacious.  I do find it curious though how easily these things which I held so dear, were so easily forgotten.  Almost shameful in fact.  But when handling these books and other items from my former life, I was reminded of how it felt to immerse myself in these interests.  I was reminded of who I am.  Much like my starting to write blogs again, it is energizing and restorative to feel passionate and engaged in such edifying activities.  I actually feel more hopeful and content, on an individual/personal level, than I have for a considerable amount of time.  It’s refreshing and intoxicating.

Right now I’m resisting the cynical urge to say something like ‘now watch something fuck it up’, as tempting fate is a concept I’m achingly familiar with.  That dread when you begin to feel positive and happy, almost not allowing yourself to feel too happy for fear of something dreadful happening.  Or is that just me?  I doubt it.  That being said, life is not quite ideal.  Of course, like you I’m sure dear reader, there is sadness and external stresses that can cause anxiety and threaten our perceived resilience.  Those emo mos that are to our minds silly and uncharacteristic in comparison to the image we may have of ourselves.  But hey, we’re only human after all.  That being said, I always take solace in knowing that nothing lasts forever.  Things change.  I feel a very definite shift is only a few days away and I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter, where I will be ‘taking back’ those things that I used to find pleasure in.  For instance, over a week ago I put myself on the waiting list for an allotment nearby to my new address.  As readers of my other blog will be aware, I used to have a few allotments years ago, but circumstances changing radically, meant that I had to give up that particular occupation.  I need this back in my life, along with my books.

The move will also give me the opportunity to get cooking and baking again, in a kitchen that I can call my own… oh the wonder of that!  I can’t wait to enjoy time in the kitchen again, almost as much as the boyfriend can’t wait to be on the receiving end of said culinary adventures, or so he says.  Which reminds me, I need to clear out the cupboard in the kitchen of my current house share, wrap up the crockery I treated myself to last year and hope it makes it to its new home intact.  Not to mention the cleaning and hoovering I need to do in my ‘cupboard’ so the next tenant (the lovely Agnes, who is moving from her room above mine) has a nice, clean empty space.  Also, for myself, a little purging of my lost years here in Stratford.  I refer to them as such because, whilst I found new interests and friends here, I also lost/forgot the things that were stored away about myself.  In doing so, I have made my time here harder than it perhaps could have been.  Focusing on other people and activities, at great personal cost, in more than one way.  Which kinda made me feel a little more lost than I might have done, had I made time and head-space for myself.

I have often said that I don’t believe in ‘finding yourself’, the concept of being lost (and having to search for yourself) is an uncomfortable one for me, as I have always thought that I have a strong sense of who I am at my core.  I would prefer to think that I have been attempting to ‘create myself’, which is a more constructive concept I think.  In retrospect, I forgot about some of the things that I enjoyed, projects started but not finished, and things that I have some knowledge and skill with.  Reminders of which may have been a welcome mode of self-support along the way (although some things were and remain a little too difficult to give attention to, at the moment).  Not that I haven’t had good, true friends there supporting me along the way, I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  I am speaking about myself here though, surely the main purpose of a blog is to do so.  I have not been a good friend to myself.  I’ve kept myself isolated from many things which may have been helpful, lost focus, and hidden from one pain by replacing it with others.  Hindsight is a bitch, but also illuminating.  I hope to retain the lessons I have learned and plan to work harder to steer my life in the direction I want it to go in.  Let’s face it, life isn’t a rehearsal and I’ve wasted too much time already.  The path is illuminated in many ways, especially now that I am drawing a line under so much that has gone before, but taking the important things forward with me.

 

 

 

 

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Absolutely Amazing!

Posted in Books, Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings, Reviews, Wonderful Words with tags , , , , , on 15/03/2013 by Jen Healey

An exciting sounding title, I know, but I’m so filled with surprising good feeling at the moment.  (Let’s hope that me posting this doesn’t jinx that!)  But, I have recently been finding that despite dire finances and a lack of career focus, there really is more to life than these material matters.  Those of you who have spoken to me of late will be well aware of my latest fascination with Philosophy.  Please don’t run, I’m not going to start getting all pretentious and lofty, that’s just not me.  However, when I find something that is both helpful and interesting I like to share it with anyone that is willing to listen.

So, with this in mind, I’m going to sing the praises of both a book that I have recently read and the library services which made it possible for me to do so.  The book is ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ – by Alain de Botton.  Which I will own for myself one day soon, as it has become a very important book to me, marking the beginning of a love affair with this subject.  Here is an open invitation to join up on goodreads and share a world of books and opinions – click here, if you like.

The other link that I’m going to pop on this quick little post is one to my local library service, which enables me to search, reserve and collect books without leaving the village (courtesy of the Mobile Library service).  Yes I know this may sound a little old-fashioned what with E-Readers and the like, but I don’t think that anything compares to the feel and smell of a real book, that has been held and read by other people before me.  Okay, enough sentimentality from me.  I would urge you to support the work of your local library though, it is free after all and is a precious thing that would be terrible to lose, in my humble opinion.

I hope to see you on goodreads soon.

Enjoy something simple and cheap/free where you can.

N.B.  The Rush obsession continues also – The Trees – please skip the stupid feckin advert and give this song a listen.  I love it.

 

Wuthering Heights

Posted in Astronomy, Books, Gothic, Journal, Music, Reviews with tags , , , , on 27/08/2012 by Jen Healey

Now, I’ve never been so arrogant as to consider myself as a well-read person, I know I am not.  However, I do try to remedy that whenever I can, particularly when it comes to literature that is considered ‘classic’.  As you may have guessed by the title of this entry, subtle as it is, I recently read ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte, in scary-fast style (for me anyway).  Before now I had tried to read this novel, on more than one occasion, but was never able to get more than a few pages in.  I am really glad that I did not give it up though, as this time I could not put it down, I loved it.

Subsequently my Bank Holiday Monday has sounded like this –

Or if you’d prefer Noel Fielding as Kate Bush, here you go – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJqq6LbNjEw

I have even started to learn it on my 99p piano, courtesy of YouTube.  I’m sure I’ll get sick of hearing it very soon, but today it’s been all I’ve wanted to listen to, soppy ol’ romantic that I am.  After I’d finished the book, yesterday I had a quick skim through some of the other comments/reviews left by some other members of goodreads, which I found differed wildly to my impression, for the most part.  The only one that I completely agreed with said simply “Ah Heathcliff!” – aches the heart as much as listening to the song gave me chills after I’d finished the story.  I’m as surprised as you, my friends.

My current interest in ‘classic’ art forms is not limited to literature, I’ve also been dipping my toe into classical music – stop falling off your seats!  It is mostly limited to pieces that are considered gothic in mood though.  However, thanks to Beth’s recent interest in astronomy, I have been revisiting Gustav Holst.  Beth loves Jupiter, both the planet and the piece of music, so we are both looking forward to our upcoming visit to the National Space Centre later this week (the second of the summer holidays!).

It’s been a while since we had some ‘dust’ (as hubby puts it) –

 

As for the gothic classical music, YouTube is also instrumental (punny – no?) in my discovering some pretty amazing stuff.  Check this out, it is a bit long, but pop it on in the background whilst you do something else if you don’t have the time –

Sinister stuff, eh?

 

Photos to follow

Posted in Books, Journal, Mental Morsels, Notes, Reviews with tags , on 08/10/2011 by Jen Healey

Just because I’ve not been writing, doesn’t mean that I’ve not been thinking about my little dark, cobwebbed corner of the tinty-net, I have.  My camera, with its flat battery, has some pictures to accompany some upcoming Fledgling Foodie Files that I will be blogging soon.  I have been spending some time playing around in the kitchen, which I will share with y’all soon.

In the meantime, check out this blog post by Stephen Fry, it makes some interesting reading.

Speaking of reading, those of you who get and read my updates from Good Reads may have noticed a lot of cookbooks being marked as ‘read’.  When it comes to cookbooks I don’t read every single recipe, line, sentance and word, I skim – there I said it!  Oh the shame!!!

Take care x

 

It’s nice to see…

Posted in Books, Journal with tags , on 22/09/2011 by Jen Healey

…that people are still interested in borrowing books from libraries, or just going to libraries.  I went to the library in Leamington Spa the other morning, to return and renew some books, and found a queue of people waiting to get in before it opened!  Now, I’m not talking four or five students who have to be there, no, there were over twenty people waiting to go in, from many different walks of life.  It really made me smile to know that people still love to read actual paper books from libraries.  Yes, I’m well aware that I sell books, so I am obviously more likely than most to be extolling the virtues of physical (rather than e-) books.  Please do not misunderstand me, I’m not anti-tech at all, I got a fancy new android phone today and have been playing with it incessantly.  I just love books.  So I was very pleased to see that I’m (obviously) not alone in this.

Another thing that heartened me recently, was an email I got from goodreads notifying me of a blog post by Stephen Fry, championing mental health awareness through the charity MIND.  I read the blog it on my swanky new phone whilst waiting for my little girl to come out of school today.  See, I don’t just read books…

 

Books on Prescription

Posted in Books, Mental Morsels with tags , on 03/09/2011 by Jen Healey

I have admitted it before, but I’ll say it again, I have a book-abuse problem.  No I don’t go round folding down pages and creasing covers, I hate dog-eared page corners, it is unnecessary.  In truth, I have an inability to get rid of books that I want to read, there I said it!  I have, as a result of Wagstaff Bookstore being my home, more books than I am likely to read in many years.  But, I am more than happy to lend them out to my friends, as long as they use a bookmark!  I also love to buy books for friends and family whenever I can, it’s a sickness.  I can’t help it, I like to see people reading and enjoying books.

In my job there is a way I can encourage people to read more, through the Books on Prescription in Warwickshire scheme.

Now the books that are on the list, for recommendation by professionals, cover the following problems –

Anger – Anxiety, Stress and Worry – Bereavement and Dying – Depression – Eating Disorders – Obsessions and Compulsions – Panic – Self-esteem – Sleep difficulties – and Traumatic Stress.

The recommended books are available from participating libraries in Warwickshire.  However, I am very surprised that (some) GPs and other health professionals are not shouting about this service from the rooftops.  Although, it is worth pointing out that to borrow any of the books available in libraries, a written prescription is not needed.

I would have liked to have provided an outline of the books available here, as I do have a copy of the guidelines, but I’m not sure that it is allowed/approved of as blog content.  So I’m left with raising a bit of awareness about the service, which is ok too.  Besides the ‘brief descriptions’ of each book would take a long time to copy out, as they aren’t all that brief!

Goodreads Quote of the Day

Posted in Musings, Reviews, Wonderful Words with tags , on 02/09/2011 by Jen Healey

As quite a philosophical soul, I very much enjoy the daily email I get as a result of my goodreads Quote of the Day subscription (free – obviously).  Rather than be incredibly unoriginal, rip them off and take undue credit, I am not going to share their chosen quotes on a daily basis, no matter how much I like them.  Apart from today, where the purpose of doing so is to give you a taster.  Here it is –

St. Francis of Assisi

      “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
—      St. Francis of Assisi
(The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi)
Pretty cool huh?  I love the contrast of darkness and light being thought of as a metaphor for hopefulness and hopelessness.  At least that is my (maybe misguided) interpretation of this quote.  Although, I’m not married to this opinion, so would be interested in any other thoughts.
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