Biscuits

I have recently concluded that I am an extremely uncomplicated biscuit consumer.

Many (many) moons ago, I read: “A nice cup of tea and a sit down” by Nicey and Wifey (honest to grapefruit that is how they call themselves).

Anyhoo, I was cogitating my optimum biscuit choices as I was happily munching on a Garibaldi biscuit the other day and I realised that my top 5, go to biscuits of choice are not particularly extravagant or interesting to others…though now I am thinking about it, maybe that is in part self-preservation of always knowing you aren’t going to have a great deal of competition for any given biscuit type.

So, in no order…

  • Garibaldi
  • Rich Tea (Thick Tea for preference, but generally you cannot find the things for love nor bloody money)
  • Fig Rolls
  • Nice
  • and Rusks.

So basically, the only competition I am likely to find is in the under three and teething set. I can take them… I am certain, though some of them are extremely persistent in the face of biscuit delights. Also, Pensioners…don’t think I’d win there, though I could probably proffer the one available Pink Wafer at a Church Coffee morning and make a break for it with one of my biscuits of choice. I have noticed it’s the quite ones,, who get there early and then casually nip around all the tables and pilfer the pink wafers before anyone else gets a look in.

I’m not much of a chocolate biscuit fan… I do rather enjoy a Lemon Puff or on occasion a Jammy Dodger, possibly even a Ginger Nut. But for the most part I refer back to my optimum choices more often than not.

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10 books to re-read (part 2 – 6-10)

Well…nothing like a humongous gap (couple of years?) between parts. 

6. Serrano Legacy – Elizabeth Moon

Nothing like a little (7 massive books) bit of political/military Space Opera to get you going of a morning. 

A really great series, though admittedly the first book delves into Hunting which I have absolutely no truck with at all and made me leave the series for a couple of years before I decided to finally pick up the second book and give it another go. Of course after that point I cracked on and read all of them in a week or two. And that was that. Sold! 

Trying to get hold of the fourth book was a surprisingly difficult task, not to mention increasingly vexing. But once that little hiccup was solved, plain sailing. 

The series is kind of split in to two parts, splitting between Heris Serrano being the lead in the first three, Esmay Suiza in the second with the fourth book as a jumping off point for the switch in character leadership. Initially I wasn’t so sure about the switch, but honestly it works really well. Heris’s story has kind of played out (not entirely) and the rejuvenation by a younger new character injects the series with some great forward momentum and allows audience and author to remain within the same world building which was definitely not over and done with. 

In fact, at time of writing I am part way through a re-read of the second book. (I just finished Moon’s other Space Opera series the Vatta Quintet, which was also marvellous – finished it in a little over a week).

7. Old Kingdom Trilogy – Garth Nix

I love this series! I’ve re-read it several times and I will likely do so again. I am picky about my Sci-Fi and my Fantasy reading choices. I admit it, but this series ticks all my boxes. Nerdy Librarian, loner with a magically created ‘Dog’ companion? I’m all over it.

Lirael is one of my favourite characters in fiction, ever! As is the Disreputable Dog. 

The books have magic, librarians, Paperwings…so many things. 

8. Becoming Bobbie – RJ Stevens

I’ve read this book a couple of times already. The first time I was intrigued though slightly suspicious based on other queer books I’d read leading up to finding a copy of this one. Totally unwarranted. A brilliant book that I have passed on to others, one of whom bought her own copy. She reads a lot, but doesn’t own physical copies of any but the most meaningful and important to her.

9. Star Trek Corps of Engineers – Various

A large, sprawling series in a similar vein to the others in the Star Trek franchise. Despite the layout of collated (sequential) short stories, I find it hard to just read one. The character development is as intriguing as the stories themselves. 

So, I feel the need to set aside some time to reread the WHOLE series and not just dip in and out.

10. The Little Dog Laughed – Douglas Carter Beane

I saw this at the theatre in London on a whim. I passed the Theatre, saw what was on, who was in it and decided that if they had any tickets left I’d go see it, and no worries if not.

Bloody brilliant. Extremely funny and well performed. Bought a copy of the play at Foyles and went from there. 

NB: I feel like this didn’t end up where I originally intended it to. I guess I can blame the long hiatus between posts. (ie I totally forgot I’d posted any such thing in the first place)

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2018 Read list – Ongoing

  1. Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth
  2. Shadow of the Workhouse – Jennifer Worth
  3. Farewell to the East End – Jennifer Worth
  4. You’re never weird on the Internet – Felicia Day
  5. Moranthology – Caitlin Moran
  6. We should all be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  7. The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
  8. I’m sorry I haven’t a clue: The best of 40 years – John Naismith
  9. Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars – Rob Thomas
  10. Women & Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard
  11. Cults, Conspiracies and Secret Societies – Arthur Goldwag
  12. The Book of Forgotten Authors – Christopher Fowler
  13. An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge – John O’Farrell
  14. The Brownie Guide Handbook (2015)
  15. The Brownie Guide Handbook (1990) – Linda Neilands
  16. The Guide Handbook – Gillian Sutton
  17. The Guide Badge book
  18. God Bless You, Dr Kevorkian – Kurt Vonnegut
  19. A History of London in 100 Places – David Long
  20. Humanism: A Very Short Introduction – Stephen Law
  21. Bizarre England – David Long
  22. Hidden City – David Long
  23. English Eccentrics – David Long
  24. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a day – Winifred Watson
  25. The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy
  26. The Worst Witch Strikes again – Jill Murphy
  27. A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch – Jill Murphy
  28. Hunting Party – Elizabeth Moon
  29. Trading in Danger – Elizabeth Moon
  30. Marque and Reprisal – Elizabeth Moon
  31. Engaging the Enemy – Elizabeth Moon
  32. Command Decision – Elizabeth Moon
  33. Victory Conditions – Elizabeth Moon
  34. The Bumper Book of Simon’s Cat – Simon Tofield
  35. Wild Chamber – Christopher May

 

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Books I absolutely, categorically, NEVER want to read again!

A positive start I am sure. The reasons are not always entirely negative though, some are because they resonated with me in a specific way I might not feel the need to experience again, or even be able to. The desire to search out a particular book and read it in the first place might have been for specific reasons or the book moved me in such a specific way would the experience potentially be ruined by a re-read when the initial experience was so powerful? What if it proved to be anything less than that? Perhaps that is rather a hard order to expect of a book at all, never mind as a second read through.

Sometimes it is simply due to the book being badly written/edited that makes it almost unreadable.

Sometimes it is down to the specific mood/reason I initially sought out that particular book etc.

Luckily, I find that I form this particular view very infrequently. I’m not saying I reread every book I’ve ever read, I rarely do with the majority, but the ones listed below are those that I definitely do not look into reading again.

So, in no particular order, here we go. (Sorry “No such thing as a Fish”)

Sugar Rush” – Julie Burchill

For someone who wrote a regular, and not at all bad, column for a Broadsheet newspaper I had expected a lot more from this book. The writing was trite, ineffective and not at all engaging. The characters likewise. I think she might have heard of teenagers but never actually seen one. Kind of like Michael Palin’s character in the Monty Python sketch “The Vocational Councillor: who wants to change from being an accountant to being a Lion Tamer…except what he thinks are lions are in fact Anteaters (ironically probably just as dangerous as Lions in some regards).

I honestly could not fight my way through this terribly slim volume. In an extremely rare move for me I quite fancied burning/ripping it up. (It was a library book so I refrained) It was so flabbergastingly awful. Disappointingly, I had really wanted to like it, I tried so hard to be fair and give it a decent amount of pages, but “Alas! Earwax!” – granted it wasn’t the flavour, but I found it as enjoyable as Earwax.

The Turn of the Screw” –  Henry James 

This is a short novella, the version I read came in at 130 ish pages…I fell asleep THREE times whilst reading it (not quite as good as Virgil’s “Georgics” for curing insomnia – I have never got past page 3…Roman farming methods in poetic form are exceedingly soporific!). Gripping it was not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I’ve read it. I’m glad I persevered and finished it, but “God, at what cost?” Dull and lacking in riveting-ness. Blech.

The James Joyce Murder” – Amanda Cross

Nothing. Happens. At. All.

I love Amanda Cross’s books, I genuinely do. Literary, nerdy crime solving is totally my jam. This book was dull as dishwater, I still have no clue as to why it was written or what the purpose of it was. Truly disappointing, and the only book of hers that I have emphatically culled from my shelves with no regrets. (Might I recommend “The Theban Mysteries” – absolutely bloody brilliant! I’ve read it twice.)

Chosen” – Nancy Holden

This one was truly unfortunate. I used to love the Buffy tie-in books and Nancy Holden was one of my favourite authors. This book is not awful due to the subject or the author, but the sheer laziness of the editing. Out of 688 pages it averaged a grammatical/spelling error PER PAGE! Many pages had multiple of these issues. The story was great, the writing engaging…the editing absolutely appalling. How they had the gall to charge what they did for that book, or even publish it in the first place is utterly baffling.

Again, if it hadn’t been a Library book I would have taken a red pen to it and sent it back to the publisher. Someone should have been fired for that level of ineptitude. (Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t generally advocate the firing of people over an incident, but whoever edited this volume should not have been in that particular job in the first place)

“Allison” – Tatiana Strelkoff

Awful. Melodramatic and not even vaguely positive. Almost as if the author felt that the protagonist deserved the ending. Which was dire!

I thoroughly recommend giving this one a miss unless you have a serious yen to a)read EVERYTHING LGBT that is out there or b)you are looking to purposefully depress yourself and are filled with a severe level of hatred (either of self or sexuality)

Completely disappointing.

“Slithers Tale” – Joseph Delaney

To start I want to be quite clear; I loved the Spook’s tales right up until this point. I always found his brand of misogyny (Witches are evil, women are witches therefore women are evil and not to be trusted too) rather irritating, but went with it as a sign of the time he was supposedly writing in/around (Pendle Witch Trials)

However, this book takes that view to another level. It involves the selling of women as slaves (read that as sexual I am quite certain) and is just generally full of veiled hatred of women.

As a children’s book I find this particularly concerning; either from the point of view of teaching young boys this or from girls reading it and realising that that is a view people have. I went right off Mr Delaney at this point. It’s not new, or clever, or innovating and thrilling story telling. It’s small minded, misogynistic claptrap and he doesn’t deserve validating in that regard.

Go sit in a Witch pit Mr Delaney.

“Cyanide and Happiness” – Kris Wilson

Basically a bunch of “funny” cartoons by a bunch of privileged white boys. Not funny. Not original. Racist, homophobic and misogynistic.

 

Conversely, there are several that I am not sure if I will ever be able to read them again or not. Though this is for radically different reasons to the above selection.

 “The Book Thief” – Markus Zusak

Gah! I cried so hard. I have never been quite so wrecked by a book. I ended up phoning my Aunt and talking to her for a bit. Then took a bath to stop shaking. Having not read it since (and it was probably a little over a decade a go when I last read it) I am no longer certain what it was about it that affected me quite so extremely. I do not feel I am able to or want to read it again to find out.

I do recall it being an amazing read, utterly gripping. I recommend it a lot. I think I just don’t want to run the risk of ending up feeling “meh” about the book if re-reading it doesn’t have a similar effect, or it doesn’t have a significant impact. Not sure I could handle the disappointment to be honest.

To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee

I only read this in 2013…I never read it in High School and I am so glad. I am glad I read it at an age where I was in a frame of mind to truly appreciate the novel and the themes it raised.

Similar reasoning to The Book Thief. It didn’t make me cry, but I found it so enthralling, thought provoking and emotional, I’m not sure I could cope if a re-read left me anything less than as moved as the first reading. For similar reasons, I was both disappointed and monumentally glad that Harper Lee had never written anything else. Of course a couple of years after reading TKaM, that was proved wrong, but I live in denial and I have never picked up “Go Set a Watchman” (Admittedly, also because I was in a quandry as to the moral veracity of it being published after her death)

 

I feel I became a lot more negative with the three prior to my no re-reading for an emotional reason. Sorry about that. I do feel rather strongly about them, but I don’t think I was very constructive with my criticisms! I think they were the three that made me the angriest whilst I was reading them.

Any books you recommend people stay thoroughly a way from?

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Downsizing

In an update to a post I made…oh dear 3 years ago…

https://willowrs.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/downsizing-and-my-families-apparent-marie-kondo-obsession/

I eventually gave in and read this book. Well, I say read…and I say book. Really the whole premise of her ‘method’ could be summed up on a post-it note. I am not going to be the one to begrudge her a decent moneymaker however…and I never finished the book, because I came to this conclusion at a relatively early point about a third of the way in. Skimmed the chapter headings and realised she hadn’t actually got that much to say on the subject to warrant killing the trees and pulping them for this particular book.

In my opinion!

I know lots of people who think she is great and that’s absolutely fine. She does have some very sensible suggestions though.

a) Discard first and then put things away.

b) Don’t do it by storage area…drawer etc, Do it by ‘subject’. For example; clothing. Gather ALL your clothing and lay it out in front of you, so you can see exactly what you actually have and then start making your discard decisions. Don’t put anything back unless you really want/need it.

c) Don’t let anyone else get involved, as they will persuade you to keep things or pass them on to people etc.

Kondo reckons you should do it as one big event. Personally I did it in as many subject sections as I could feasibly manage at one time, and still make good decisions. So mine took a few days. But actually I think that that was a good thing, and ultimately far less stressful.

I do have one stipulation on her suggestions of discard however. I do not know if Charity/Thrift shops are a thing outside of the UK/USA/Canada type places, so maybe there aren’t really any other options, but she advocates binning the lot. I advocate donating all that is suitable instead. Invariably their probably will be a spot of landfill. Hopefully a lot that can be either donated or at worst; recycled.

End results;

a) I charity shopped a hell of a lot more stuff than I had really anticipated I would.

b) I had more things than I really thought I had…granted, now I don’t but…

c) My room is much easier to keep tidy and uncluttered.

I got rid of penfriend letters from my teens, which I have never re-read again (I did reread them, before recycling as I wanted to make sure), clothing, books, stationary, excess all sorts. Generally I feel more…free and actually slightly invigorated by the deep clean and reorganisation.

Give it a whirl. Just please recycle/donate as much as possible.

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10 books to re-read (part 1 – 1-5)

Mostly, whilst agonising over the making of this list (and believe me I did… at least after the first 5 were filled in) I realised that it is mostly series of books that I am looking at wanting to re-read as opposed to novels singular, there are only a couple of exceptions to that statement.

I guess the main reason for this is that (generally) series take longer to read, therefore in re-reading them I am choosing to commit more hours to the endeavour and thus taking away from time spent where I could be exploring the thousands of books I have yet to read or are already on my ‘I would like to read’ list.

After all there is no earthly reason why I should not go back and ‘re-read’ whatever and whenever I choose to. It’s just that sometimes I am reluctant to, as a person is only around for so long… and my TBR list grows every day. So many books, so little time.

All of these books I initially read quite some time ago. The point is the choice of what tore-read.

1. Lord of the Rings – Tolkien (re-read January 2016)

The time has come…

I read this for the first time the Christmas after the final film had come out at the cinema. I was still in University, so I think I was probably 19 or 20… I realise that generally no self-respecting geek waits for that late in life to read Tolkien’s masterpiece of epic sword and sorcery fantasy but this one did. In my defence, and I do feel that I should proffer one. I purposefully put off reading it until after I had seen all of the films. I wanted to experience the whole in spectacular cinematic glory, to realise the full scope of what was being offered on screen without spoilers or knowing most of what would or wouldn’t happen. certainly, for me this was the perfect way of going about it.

The books themselves hardly need any introduction by now I am sure. However my reasons for wanting to re-read this trilogy (or rather one epic tome cut into three marginally smaller bricks of slightly easier heft… at least that is how my edition of LOTR has been published).

I read them the first time round in 8 days (with one off in the middle as I strained my eyes reading it). So for a week of my precious Christmas vacation, when truthfully I should have been doing revision for January exams, I read LOTR. That’s ALL I did, well, Read LOTR, made/drank cups of tea and slept.  Perhaps that explains my ‘reluctance’ to re-read them… that and the finger strain alone was phenomenal. It’s trying to find a decent chunk of time where I can OCD to my hearts content.

That and the bird paranoia that ensues is not always quite as worth it as I might have thought.

(I finally got around to re-reading them in January 2016, then followed them up with a first time reading of The Hobbit. LOTR was even better the second time round, and I took a touch more time reading them and therefore saved myself the repeat of eyestrain…which is NOT an experience that bears repeating! The Hobbit however left me somewhat cold. Whether it was due to leaving it until I was 32 to read it…or it just did not gel with me, I do not know. It was lack lustre in comparison to LOTR (granted, perhaps an unfair comparison really), did not hold my attention very well and honestly I found it really hard to persevere and crack on to the end.)

2. Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan

I absolutely LOVED this series! The man wrote about Ancient Greece (in a modern setting) with all the cultural trappings and myth based reality to utter perfection, staying as true to the subject as I could have ever hoped.

I’m a classicist. Trying to find anything (fictional) written about Greeks or Romans that does not make me want to curl up into a sad little ball of depressed classicist is truly hard to find. A roughshod mythological throwaway pleases no-one.

Again, read these in 5 days and yes that is indeedy a book a day. Not an unusual occurence I must admit.

An amazing, well-written, epic young adult/children’s fantasy series. Which is continuing with a further quintet based at the Roman equivalent for Camp Half-Blood. (Which I have now finished, I enjoyed them a great deal, but the first Quintet remain the best and the most gripping.)

For those who prefer Egyptian to Greek (and Roman), Riordan has also written a series starting with “The Red Pyramid”. Bast makes a surprising and most welcome appearance and other than Khufu the gibbon, is probably the best overall character.

My 9 year old cousin recommended them (way back when they were that age…they are now 15). I had seen them around for quite some time and kept picking them up and humming and ah-ing about whether or not to read them. It was his rave reviews that finally pushed me over the decisive edge.  He and his twin sister  have read and re-read them, as had their 14 year old sister… and they  ‘spread the word’ amongst their classmates who also read and enjoyed them.

Rick Riordan has been the cause for not only getting an entire class of 9 year olds into Greek/Roman and Egyptian mythology, but also into reading bigger and harder books than might have been expected of them previously. My cousins’ remarks sparked a general exchange of reading suggestions and book sharing amongst their classmates.

An excellent endorsement if ever there was one.

3. Pages for You – Sylvia Brownrigg

This (as mentioned here http://wp.me/pHZFO-40) is one of my Top 10 reads. It’s deliciously devourable prose and narrative flow make it (for me) an absolute pleasure of a read. It’s almost…edible.

I’ve read it only twice, for fear that upon getting to the end I’d just turn it over and start again.

Truthfully I don’t know what it is about this particular book that draws me so thoroughly. The story isn’t entirely happy, though equally it isn’t unhappy. I suspect that it is the writing style and the tone that ultimately draws me in, especially as it is in a style one could only ever aspire to achieving.

Oddly I have never picked up any of her other novels (of which she has written five…though I think this is the only queer one?). Partly I believe that this may be due to fear of disappointment that anything else would not pass muster. Usually I find an author and then promptly continue to devour everything they have written until I am thoroughly saturated and have run out of material.

A book of first love, experience it’s progression and its demise. Utterly beautiful.

4. Thursday Next (series) – Jasper Fforde

The more I read this series the more I love it and understand the complex literary references and find it funnier. Equally the more I read classical literature in conjunction with Fforde, the more I appreciate and understand not only his works, but the classic works also.This is one series where I suspect that I could read it an infinite amount of times and still be finding new ideas/things/references and nuances within their pages.

I generally don’t want to be offering to much in the way of synopses for the books I am choosing for this list, because it is about what I would like to re-read, NOT what I want to recommend to folk. (Though, naturally I do recommend everything on this list) but if you have never read Fforde, a) he kind of defies defining. (in a similar way that Douglas Adams is sort of indefinable) and b) you will be SOOooo lost.

This particular series by Fforde are, in a way, crime novels. Though that does them no serious justice (and is possibly an injustice to the crime genre?). Essentially fiction within fiction.

Thursday Next, a “LitraTech” (my personal ideal job) for Spec Ops in an alternate universe set in Swindon from the 80’s onwards. In this role she verifys forgeries, goes on book raids and generally solves fictional related issues, whilst trying not to get caught dealing on the illegal cheese market. She is then recruited into Jurisfiction, which is the police force that serves within fiction (which, lets face it is my real ultimate job, but the first one is ever so slightly more likely to emerge as a real one…shh let me live my dreams). Jurisfiction work in offices set at Norwood and Sense and Sensibility and they maintain the narrative flow, ensure characters don’t make ‘in-house’ changes, that Emperor Zhark does not take over the world. That war doesn’t breach the tenuous peace between ‘Racy novel’ and ‘Feminist fiction’ and that fiction is not overrun by murderous Danvers clones.

All in all an utterly bizarre, unique, engaging series that truly defies explanation.

Having said all that, they are admittedly somewhat like Marmite from what I have heard. You love em or you hate em. (Only one of those two groups are right!)

5. The Dresden Files

Four words: Mouse, Bob, Molly and Ivy.

Admittedly it wasn’t until I was half way through book three that I had the ‘aha’ moment as to why people where raving about this series. Now whenever I recommend them, I suggest keeping with them until then and if you then don’t like them, then you probably aren’t going to.

It isn’t anything specific that happens in this book, more that the overall tone takes a maturity leap in the writing style that comes as a bit of a relief. The first time I re-read books 1-3 the style of them didn’t bother me as much as they did the first time around where they just smacked of ‘new author’ and a bit of a cheesy one at that.

An urban gumshoe fantasy series, that Benedict Jacka writes a much simplified British one clearly bouncing off the initial Dresden idea. ( Another great series, but not nearly as complex overall)

 

 

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Downsizing and my families apparent Marie Kondo obsession

My aunt recently read Kondo’s book about tidying (“The life-changing magic of tidying”), promptly, and in her usually mildly obsessive way, then re-read it, followed the rules, waxed lyrical about it to all and sundry and inundated various charity shops with her recently Kondo-d items.

My Mother, naturally having spoken at length with my aunt, has likewise devoured the book (and is on a slower, second run through) and is steadily working her own subtle warfare throughout her house.

I have, admittedly, NOT read the book. Nor do I particularly intend to. that is by no way disregarding (or advocating for that matter) it’s merits, merely that I find myself unmoved by the temptation to read it.

However, the similar desire to seriously downsize my possessions, granted not quite in a Tashjian’s “The Gospel according to Larry” 75 items in my possession kind of way, but a similar overall approach, also loomed large in my mind.

It has been extremely…liberating. I have been extremely ruthless and I have gone through EVERYTHING I own, which whilst not particularly extensive, has been a pretty decent undertaking. I have been particularly ruthless with my books. *shock*gasp*horror* (choose your own reaction) I honestly have no idea as to the quantity of books that have recently been evicted from my shelves and packed off to Oxfam post haste, but we are talking multiple boxes of a reasonable size. I do have some stragglers remaining, but that is because they have been purposefully hived off for my cousins perusal and that is time permitted. However, anything that they reject will also make it’s way to Oxfam.

On the book cull front, my parameters were thus;

1) Did I really like it so much the first time around that I need to keep the copy?

i) Do I have it as an ebook? (see #2)

ii) Will I actually re-read it? (a) Have I ever yet re-read it, b) Based on that, am I likely to want to read it multiple times more?

2) Do I have it as an ebook?

i) Yes, but the physical copy genuinely means something to me (that premise only actually accounts for three of my books as it turns out, thus despite an ebook, their little paperback heiny’s were saved)

ii) Does it not work as an ebook?  (a) Pratchett/Fforde, anything with footnotes does not. Therefore they stay on the shelves as do the Graphic Novels.

3) Do I really want to keep it?

i) Granted this is really a tie-in criteria to all of the above.

End result? Much empty shelves, a spot of rearranging and my Brent-Dyer, Paddington and picture books from my childhood have finally made their way out of their boxes and onto shelves with a little wiggle room to spare. Incidentally, it took me more than one go through the shelves to finally reach the kept books I have remaining.

So far, nary-a regret, and I don’t see any arising in potentia either….which is nice.

love books (mine or otherwise), but for many of the books I love it is not the physicality of the book itself that is necessary, but knowing I have an ebook version is often enough.

The main reason for such an extended cull was that I felt I had removed myself too far for comfort from the public lending libraries, and that that was something I really wanted to re-engage with.

With everything else (and granted books made up the large majority of my possessions) I went through I became better and judging whether or not I genuinely wanted to keep something. I went through the attic at my Mom’s, liberated my tent (aired it out in my living room for a couple of days), rid myself of things I either no longer cared for, or held no especial attachment to.

All of this sounds like I just did it in one fell swoop. It took multiple days and quite a lot of tea to make up my mind on some things.

Part of me feels like this was just Phase 1. I feel as if I may have to go through everything else again at a later date, and check to see if I was right the first time around in wanting to retain a given item. Only a very few things were allowed to stay based upon my indecision.

Ultimately it has been a freeing exercise from the trappings of material possessions. Now I need to go through and check that everything is appropriately housed and available to be accessed easily.

Oddly, all of this was primarily down to wanting an actually comfortable chair for reading in. For my 32nd birthday, this past March, my Gran decided (granted based upon my own muttered musings) to buy me a decent reading chair as my gift. I’ve gone with IKEA’s Pello type, a nice affordable model, that is actually exactly what I would want from a reading chair. It is comfortable, with a low enough seat and high enough arm rests, a big enough seat that should I wish to curl up I can and a back that does not throw your head forward when leaned back upon.

Perfect.

I’d like to take this opportunity to revisit my Larry list now that I come to think about it, and that I threatened to do at the end of the last list version I made…however many years ago and see whether or not it has changed or not.

In no order, and the caveat is that clothing counts, household items (within reason) such as cutlery, chairs, fridge do not)

1. Bananagrams

2. Rabbit (knitted – had it since I was born)

3. My mini Bast – cat statue

4. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop cafe – Fannie Flagg

5. Little Women – Louisa M. Alcott

6. Shakespeares Comedies collected volume

7. 7 Wonders Board game

8. The World Unseen – Shamim Sarif

9. Lirael – Garth Nix

10. Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

11. Collected poetry of Rainer M. Rilke

12. Photo of Dad

13. Notebook

14. Pen

15. Dogger – Shirley Hughes

16. Diary/notebook thingy

17. Camera

18. External hard drive

19. Passport

20/1. Craft Knife and board

22. Lava Lamp

23. Clock

24. NUS card

25. Library card

26. Driving License

27. House Keys

28. Glasses

29. Sunglasses (prescription)

30. Pj’s

31. Cagoule

32. Comb

33/4. Laptop/charger

35. Button up shirt

36. Rucksack

37. Sleeping bag

38. Tent

39. Sandals

40. Boots

41. Gloves

42. Hat

43. Sweater

44. Towel

45. Swimmers

46. Belt

47-52. Boxers/Pants

53- 58. Socks

59. Underwear

60-5. T-shirts

66. Jeans

67. Shorts

68/9. Kindle/Charger

70. Bank Card

71. Oxford English Dictionary

72. Complete British Wildlife Guide

73-4. Toothbrush/Paste

75. Lighter sweater

Hmm, seems that the majority of my list is devoted to pretty practical items and not a great deal of ‘frivolous frippery’. I do quite like that for the most part it would pretty much fit in a decent sized backpack.

Tobi

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