the best part of the day by sarah ban breathnach

The Best Part of the Day (Regnery Kids, 2014)

Though Finn is a delight, not a day goes by now when I do not wish I could freeze time and keep him on the right side of the teenage years forever more. While he still belongs to me. While I can still tuck him in to bed, and occasionally now, read him a story.

Had Sarah Ban Breathnach written The Best Part of the Day ten years ago, as I really wish she had, it would, I think, have been a central part of Finn’s childhood, and would have helped me establish the gratitude practise for Finn, from a very early age. For this is what Sarah’s latest book is about: gratitude. What else?

Written rather surprisingly in the kind of simple verse once common to children’s books, The Best Part of the Day takes us on a gentle journey through the seasons and asks at the end of each seasonal chapter, what was the best part of the day. Richly illustrated throughout and accompanied by a letter from Sarah at the end, The Best Part of the Day should be in every child’s Christmas stocking this year because it is the stuff bedtime memories are made of…

dig here!

Dig Here! (Project Gutenberg)

Someday’s I don’t think I have got the brains I was born with. Words wiggle about on the page and I cannot make sense of even the most sensible of sentences. These outbreaks of stupidness come and go, most often when I find myself in a spot of emotional bother, and when they do I seek literary comfort in the pile of vintage books I almost always keep stacked at the side of my bed.

Sadly since Alfie came into my life, the need to stash everything even remotely edible has reached comical new peaks as this is a puppy with a taste for yellowed paper and  the sight of him wandering past me with yet another vintage children’s classic chewed to bits is enough to make me want to cry…

So today I have had to banish my books to high places. No more the pretty little stacks of lovely words I have been used to but instead a Kindle filled with little vintage treats, sourced form the virtual library that is Gutenberg and just right for the days when your head won’t work and your dog is determined to drive you to devil-worship.

Tonight’s bedtime book? A charming little school-based mystery from one Gladys Allen. Just right for a head won’t work day and utterly free on Project Gutenberg…


Survival Lessons (Algonquin Books, 2013)

I have always said that books find you when you most need them haven’t I? And it was never so true as last night, when after a long three days of playing Nurse Mummy to a child with a peculiar bug he was kind enough to share with me, I switched on my Kindle Fire to find that it was recommending I read Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman – a book that turned out to be a short, sweet masterclass in life affirmation.

So being the kind of lady who likes to do as she is told, I duly downloaded it for free with my Kindle Unlimited subscription (so very much worth signing up for if you have a Kindle!) and soon find myself in the company of this delightful writer, navigating her way through breast cancer by reminding herself of all the teeny tiny things that truly do make life worth living.

This is a Brocante book if ever there was one, resplendant with puttery treats, recipes and little to-do’s woven through a narrative that speaks at once of both joy and sorrow. Don’t miss this one. Especially on the days when life seem exhausting or unfair. Or the need to be brave seems all-encompassing.

i murdered my library

I Murdered My Library (Amazon, 2014)

Well if this isn’t the most wonderful title for a book then I don’t know what is. I downloaded this short Kindle Single last night and read it in no time at all, nodding my head past myself as novelist Linda Grant tells of what it is to dismantle your library, and choose to read on your Kindle thereafter. A lament for all our lost books, Grant’s feeling on her (indispensable) e-reader remain ambiguous  until the very end when she is settling into a tiny flat after many a year in a rambling house, and finds herself with empty bookshelves…

Read it and weep for all those hardbacks lost for ever. 

do the work

Do the Work (The Domino Project, 2011)

Over the weekend I signed up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited ~ (US Amazon accounts only at the moment) and for absolutely nothing I have been going a little e-book crazy! You simply download your chosen book from the collection of over 600,0000 currently available, read it and then virtually “give it back”. What’s not to love??

Do the Work is a book I have been meaning to read for many a month now, and last night as I simultaneously painted my toenails and sipped from a long cool glass of cucumber water, I read it and found in among its pages all my creative demons. This then is for every artist, writer, entrepreneur, blogger or other creative who knows what it is to hit a wall…

It is short and sharp but it is absolutely key to understanding that our creative battles are never our own but simply part of the process of birthing something that matters.


Absolutely Now! (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

I have long admired Lynne Franks – indeed her Seed Network books inspired me as I was starting my own business – but as I read this autobiography I feel even more admiration for her than ever before: not least because she is so willing to mark herself as ridiculous during some of her more extreme “phases” and to recognise when she has outgrown something and spiritually needs more room to grow.

Published next month “Absolutely Now” is true and real and occasionally silly: the story of our times for women of a certain age in search of something more…

death comes to pemberley

Death Comes To Pemberley (London: Vintage, Random House, 2011)

Heck this is a treat and a half: a delicious combination of Jane Austen and an absorbing mystery by mistress of the genre, P.D.James. I only started this one in the wee small hours of last night (after acquiring it at the school fair), and I am already head over heels obsessed…

Thank heavens I didn’t see the BBC dramatised version this past Christmas. Don’t tell me whodunnit will you?