Monday 22 December 2014

It's Monday!

The Monday before Christmas is always busy, busy, busy for me.

When I was teaching , it was my first day off work & therefore the time to finalise everything for the summer holidays (ie pay rent & utilities up to the first week back at school in Feb, finish last minute shopping, pack bags, organise with neighbours to water the gardens, collect the mail etc).

Now that I'm in retail, the last Monday before Christmas involves extra work shifts, longer work shifts and much busier work shifts!
It's an exciting time - I love the hustle and bustle and everyone being so excited about reading and giving when they come into our little bookshop.

Trouble is, I'm the type who gets high-wired by excitement. I absorb all the energy and buzz and start bouncing off the ceiling! I find it hard to come down again, relax and get a good nights sleep.

I also find it hard to focus on a book at times like this. My mind wont settle, the words jump all over the place. I read a page and realise I have no idea what it was that I just read.

Somehow I managed to finish Gilbert's The Signature of All Things last week & write a review.I also read A Christmas Carol on the weekend.

The rest is a blur.

I have 3 more days of work, then a lovely 10 day break to relax with my family.

So what will I be reading during this time?

Given my head space right now, I will mostly be grazing until my holiday starts Christmas Eve afternoon.

I still have Adam Spencer's Number book to finish and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. I've also started grazing the short stories in Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey.

"Ten tales are told by the souls of animals killed in human conflicts in the past century or so, from a camel in colonial Australia to a cat in the trenches in World War I, from a bear starved to death during the siege of Sarajevo to a mussel that died in Pearl Harbour. Each narrator also pays homage to an author who has written imaginatively about animals during much the same time span: Henry Lawson, Colette, Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Tolstoy, Günter Grass, Julian Barnes, and others.

These stories are brilliantly plotted, exquisitely written, inevitably poignant but also playful and witty. They ask us to consider profound questions. Why do animals shock us into feeling things we can't seem to feel for other humans? Why do animals allow authors to say the unsayable? Why do we sometimes treat humans as animals, and animals as humans? Can fiction help us find moral meaning in a disillusioned world?

Over the next two weeks I plan to read:

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh for my Classic Club Spin

"Evelyn Waugh's second novel, "Vile Bodies" is his tribute to London's smart set. It introduces us to society as it used to be but that now is gone forever, and probably for good.

Improbably, this is a love story in which Adam Fenwick-Symes, a destitute young writer, hungers for Nina Blount, daughter of an eccentric aristocrat. But at the same time, it is a satire that plays against the social whirl of a class doomed to extinction as certainly as the dodo. "

Mademoiselle Coco Chanel & The Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick will be my non-fiction indulgence.

"Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century—throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change—here brilliantly treated, for the first time, with wide-ranging and incisive historical scrutiny.

 In Mademoiselle, Garelick delivers the most probing, well-researched, and insightful biography to date on this seemingly familiar but endlessly surprising figure—a work that is truly both a heady intellectual study and a literary page-turner."

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell will not only be my first book of 2015, but my first reading challenge of the year as well.

"When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature."
Christmas TRee QVB 2014

This post is part of It's Monday! What Are You Reading? meme at Book Journey.

What will you be reading over the Christmas/New Year break?


I hope to have time to pop by your blogs over the next two weeks as well, but in the meantime,

a Very Merry Christmas one and all
and may the New Year be full of good cheer & happiness.


  1. Merry Christmas to you too Brona, I'm very jealous of your 10 days off- I have 4. I'm also jealous of your reading Only the Animals. I'm really curious about that one. Enjoy your break.

    1. The first story was about a camel and Henry Lawson - I'm curious to see where we end up next :-)

  2. Nice, enjoy your reading and holiday season

  3. I have been really wanting to read Elizabeth Gaskell. In the last several years aI have discovered both Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope and I have heard that fans of those authors would do well to read her books. I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on her work.

    I am very jealous that folks in your part of the world are looking forward to summer. I has been getting very cold here lately!

    I hope that you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Wishing you a happy reading week and a joyful holiday!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  5. Enjoy your reading... Merry Christmas, Brona!

  6. Only the Animals sounds really interesting and I love Tiny Beautiful Things, so I think you are going to have some great reading this week! Have a very merry Christmas!

  7. All these books look fascinating. You seem to have terrific taste in literature.

  8. Some great sounding books. I love the sound of Only the Animals. Different.

    1. I've only read the first 2 stories so far - they're brilliant & fascinating. Highly recommended already Emma!

  9. I've been wanting to read Tiny Beautiful Things for quite some time...I just need to find the time to do so!

    1. It's quite an inspiring read do far. It's also like reading short stories - you read a few at a time, put it down, continue with another book, come back and read a few more.


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