Sunday, 31 May 2015

Monthly Reading - May

I've done lots more reading this month and the book pile is going down very nicely. The first book I read this month was this fictional title, another one by Winifred Holtby.

Set in the Yorkshire Dales, I must admit that I found this book pretty hard going most of the time. I also found it quite hard to develop any sympathy for many of the characters. I think I had this problem with the last book that I read by this author.  By the end of the book, I was a little more sympathetic to the main character, who was wrongly accused of something by the local community in which she lived, which made life very difficult for her.

This book did remind me of how sometimes in small communities, gossip and incorrect assumptions made by others, can make life very difficult for people and made me grateful that I now live in a very large city, although having said this, people are by no means exempt from the same treatment by doing so.  Although overall it was an okay read, I'm not sure I will be looking out for any more by this author in the near future.

The second book I read this month was this one by Dr Jana Klauer, as I have mentioned already in another post.  A very interesting book about diet and lifestyle, which has inspired me and made me think about aspects of my nutrition, that I haven't paid attention to before now.

I read this book concurrent with reading this book by Leo Babauta on the subject of minimalism and living with less.

I received this book for Christmas or my Birthday a year or so ago, having requested it from OH, but have only now got around to reading it, as I was trying to get my reading pile down and there was a preponderance of fiction in it, which I focused on first.  It was the second of two books by the same author that I have read recently. The first was a very slim volume on the same subject.  This book was, however, more detailed in expressing his ideas about living with less.

I enjoyed reading it, but did find the book quite extreme with regard to his ideas about having a clear workspace and keeping everything online, rather than having papers filed away in other areas of your home.  Personally I find this idea quite frightening, as I would hate to lose some things, should there be a problem with getting access to them online.  I know there are ways of circumventing this, but I am not familiar enough with them to fully commit to this approach.

As I got further into the book, I did start enjoying it more and he did suggest some good ways of simplifying your life, stuff and commitments, to enable you to spend more time doing what is truly important, rather than filling your life with commitments and tasks that you simply do not enjoy.

On a completely different subject, the final book I completed this month was this book.

It is a book about the demise of the middle classes in our society and how they have found themselves squeezed from both sides by austerity measures, wage cuts, reduced job security and the pressure/competition to get a good education for their children.  This book may not appeal to some people, but I always find such books about social class fascinating.  It is quite a thick book and there is a lot of information to disseminate, but sometimes I do enjoy a good, thought provoking read.

The author, himself a self-confessed member of the middle class, takes us on a journey to discover how the middle classes in this country are finding themselves increasingly in debt and under pressure to be able to afford/maintain their lifestyles. It has some interesting stories in there, such as what really happened in the scandal surrounding the near collapse of Lloyds of London insurance brokers back in the 1980's and how hundreds of middle class families who were invited to be 'names' on the register, were driven to financial ruin by what subsequently happened. 

Likewise, it tackles the issue of pensions in one chapter and how they have been eroded by both legislation, the financial sector taking an ever larger cut of the profits and the phasing out of final salary schemes, which has left many middle class families facing potentially difficult financial futures on retirement.

You may or may not have any sympathy with middle class woes, but this did make very interesting reading. Finally this month, I started reading 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd, which was recommended to me by Penny at The Hen House.

I've had this book sat in my pile for a long time too, but I was really pleased to finally get around to reading it and I am finding it a really great book.  Set in the southern states of  the US, around the time of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, it tells the story of a young motherless girl and her housekeeper, who are forced to flee the racism and violence of their small southern town and initially find refuge with a family of bee keepers. I've only got a couple of chapters left to read, but have really enjoyed reading this book.  Thanks Penny, for the recommendation.

My book pile is now looking decidedly small.  It's gone from this

to this

in the last 18 months and I'm hoping to finish reading the remainder in June. I've then got another two bookshelves full, that I need to work my way through.  At least removing the pile from the side of my bed will make the bedroom look a little less cluttered and a little more restful.


  1. Interesting choice of books. I like Winifred Holtby but this is one I haven't ever read - always reminds me of Hull where there is a street of the same name. Maybe because she came from the East Riding that's where she got the idea?

    1. Yes, I know the street, I grew up in this part of the country, hence why I was interested to read some more of her books.

  2. The Land if Green Ginger always makes me think if the street in Hull too.

    I know lots of people would be aghast at this but I don't read fiction at all, "Broke" sounds interesting though.

    1. Each to their own, I would say. Fiction hasn't always appealed to me either at some points in my life.

      I always think of Land of Green Ginger as the street where quite a few solicitors had their offices. I do like that old part of the city with Hepworth's Arcade and some of the pubs in the Old Town. Brings back lots of memories for me.

  3. if you have the secret life of bees to read you are in for a treat ! I love it x

    1. I'm loving it too. It's right up my street. Still got a couple of chapters to go.

  4. I think I need to take a leaf from your book, as it were ... pile up everything I hope to read somewhere and plough my way through, rather than allow myself to be distracted by the latest appealing title I've picked up.

    1. I guess it does help to motivate you to clear the pile. Having said this I have been distracted on occasions and added in several books I've found in the Little Free Library, plus some that have been bought for me as gifts along the way. I may just get out and make a pile of the books I intend to read each month, now that I've cleared this pile.