I don’t think I have ever been frustrated by a book until I started reading The Lady and The Monk by Pico Iyer. I read this book when we went away the last time. This old book was published in 1991. I specifically bought this book (second hand copy) because I have always been fascinated by Japan. I was hoping that it would transport me to Japan but sadly it didn’t.
The summary of the story goes like this…. Pico Iyer returns to Japan to spend a year in a monastery in Kyoto hoping to find out more about Zen Buddhism. There he is befriended by Sachiko who is in a unhappy marriage with a salaryman who rarely has time for his wife or children. Their friendship turns into romance.
Iyer’s description of Japan and especially of Sachiko was very vague. I got to know more about his American friends who were in and out of Kyoto then anything else. Equally annoying was the bad language.
I expected a lot out of a book by a travel writer but I was disappointed.
I don’t like cats. In fact, this photo terrifies me but I felt obliged to include a photo of one and this was the “friendliest” I could find on Pexel! I am terrified of cats. They remind me of tigers. There is just something about their eyes.
On Saturday, I found myself rereading the final pages of The Witch of Wyckhadden, the 9th book of the Agatha Raisin series. You see, the night before, I had finished reading that book and had moved on to the 10th book in the series. It was then that I realised that Agatha only has the 2 cats, Hodge and Boswell when she moves to Norfolk in the Fairies of Fryham. What happened to Scrabble? Scrabble was the third cat that she had “adopted” while in Wyckhadden and she had definitely brought Scrabble back with her to Carsely but strangely there was no mention of Scrabble in the Fairies of Fryham.
Ach well I might never find out but then again Scrabble might resurface later in the series.
I first came across M C Beaton‘s Agatha Raisin series of books when we first moved to England. Prior to that, I had read her Hamish Macbeth series while living in Scotland and thoroughly enjoyed it because my life resembled that of the inhabitants of the fictitious village of Lochdubh.
When I first looked at the Agatha Raisin series of books in the library, they didn’t interest me. It was set in the Cotswolds and I didn’t think that it would be as exciting as the Hamish Macbeth series of books. How wrong I was! Out of curiosity, in Autumn 2019, I started buying and reading the Agatha Raisin series book by book and got hooked. I still have not finished the whole series and the pandemic meant that I got a bit side tracked.
Fast forward to Autumn 2021, I decided to re read the Agatha Raisin series of books in my bookshelf and order the remaining books from the series so that there will be a steady flow to the storyline. I started with the very first book “Agatha Raisin and Quiche of Death”; I couldn’t remember the story which is not a bad think. I have also read “Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet”. Tonight, I should finish the third book of the series “Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener”.
A little bit about Agatha Raisin herself, Agatha Raisin is a 50 something woman who retires to the Cotsworld village of Carsely after a successful career in PR in London. However, Carsely is not the quiet village that she had imagined it to be. The first murder happens very shortly after she arrives and Agatha Raisin becomes a suspect!!!! It is this experience that causes her to turn into an amateur sleuth much to the annoyance of the local police.
M C Beaton’s books are known as cosy crime books so they won’t give you a nightmare when you sleep at night!
This book is for you if you have always wanted to live in a cosy little English village.
If you have enjoyed this blog, then you will enjoy Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife!!!😁
I use Morning Exercises by William Jay as part of my daily spiritual exercise. It is a very old book that I pinched from the Mhinisteir’s library as I felt I needed something heavy duty to complement my three chapters of daily Bible reading.
Anyway, because the book is very old, the reference to scripture is in roman numerals! I thought I was good at identifying roman numerals until one day, when I was stumped. The scripture reading for that day was Psalm lv. Assuming the l referred to a hundred, I started looking for the respective verse in Psalm 105! Of course it wasn’t there as lv means 55!!!! Time to brush up on my roman numerals!!!
Last week, I had an unusual request from the Mhinisteir. He wanted me to read a little red book entitled On Confidence which is part of a series of books by The School of Life. He needed a little feedback!
I would not have read this book on my own accord but since the Mhinisteir asked, I decided to oblige.
I would never have described myself as confident but this book has informed me otherwise which has come as a total surprise but much welcomed!
This little book is easy to read with only 93 pages but I was disturbed by the coarse language.
I was also surprised to learn that confidence is a skill. I thought you are born with it!
However, as a Christian I cannot agree with the book. For example, it said that sometimes even our own family members will become jealous of our success and in circumstances like that, we should explain our situation to ease the tension. Quite frankly, it is a very naive way of operation. In life, nothing is as simple as that because if it was Cain would never have killed Abel!
The is the book that I took away for my holiday reading.
It is written by Angela Kelly who is the Senior Dresser to Her Majesty the Queen. It took me just 2 days to finish reading this excellent book. This is the second best book I have read this year! The first was this.
The book is full of colourful photos mainly of the Queen wearing some of the outfits from her extensive wardrobe, usually designed by Kelly herself. It also contains photos of some of the most precious jewellery that the Queen owns!
This book is basically about Kelly’s work as Senior dresser to Her Majesty the Queen. She writes extensively about her close working relationship with the Queen without divulging Royal secrets! It is definitely not a kiss and tell book. The book is well written and DOES NOT contain cheap gossip. It has been personally endorsed by the Queen herself which I think is quite a big deal.
A little snippet from the book…. The Queen does her own makeup! The only time that a makeup artist is involved is when she is filmed for the Christmas speech.
There is only one slight disappointment. Kelly refers to The Queen as the Head of the Church of England. She is wrong. Her Majesty the Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England. Christ is the Head!
If you are royalist or simply interested in the Queen’s wardrobe then this book is for you!
In the Shadow of the Shahs is a wonderful biography by Farifteh V. Robb. I would say that it is one of the best books that I have read in my life!
It is a book that talks about the challenges faced by the author in her country of birth, Iran. It is about her trying to survive the political revolution and about her new life in the United Kingdom. In the process, she a Persian muslim discovers Christianity and becomes an Anglican Christian.
However, I hasten to add that this book is not at all about “Praise the Lord” after every second sentence. Farifteh transported me to this beautiful country that is called Iran, educating me about how life was during the time of the Shahs and at present. Her conversion story is so beautifully intertwined that you wouldn’t even realise it!
It was also very interesting to read about the Anglican Church in Iran! I am ashamed that in the western world, we are fighting over church buildings and other trivia while for the Christians in Iran, just existing as a Christian is an everyday struggle and dangerous.
I never wanted to read Pilgrim’s progress as I always associated it as a “holy Joe’s” book.
In my circle in Scotland, people went on and on about John Bunyan’s pilgrim’s progress that it actually put me off the book. I had never read it and had no desire to read it until late summer this year!
It is one of the hardest books that I have ever read in my entire life but it was worth every minute of my time. I started reading it in late summer and only finished reading it about a week ago! I struggled to read it because Christian’s journey is so true to mine. I needed to take a couple of days to ponder on the few pages that I read each week!
I am unable to do a proper review because trying to do one will be like trying to review the Holy Bible!
In short, the book is about Christian who is a pilgrim in this world and his journey to the celestial city. It is a wonderful reminder to the reader of the ups and downs of Christian life.
The Author John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s progress when he was in jail. A tinker by trade and though not ordained, he preached in pulpits when invited. It was his preaching as an unauthorised person that got him imprisoned. He was imprisoned from November 1660 to May 1672 and again for six months in 1676. It was during his second stint in prison that he started writing Pilgrim’s Progress.
Today, Pilgrim’s progress is regarded as one of the best theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated in over 200 languages and has never been out of print.
It is a book worth reading especially if you are a Christian!
I bought this book for a pound at a Charity shop on Monday 23 March 2020,the day when the National lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister. 6 months later, we are still in some kind of a lockdown with news today that the rules are being tightened as the number of Covid infection cases rises again.
Anyway, back to the Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane. I would describe this as a rom com version of a book. A book one would read when you are having a bad day! The main character, Roxanne, a 46 year old fashion director from London goes back to her home village in Yorkshire to nurse a broken heart.
I usually don’t go for books like this. I like cosy murder mysteries like the Agatha Raisin series by MC Beaton. I also like books by Alexander McCall Smith. I was only attracted to this book because of its colourful cover! How wrong can you go for a pound?