Wednesday, 14 January 2015

New Year in Books

We're half way through January and I'm only just getting to my monthly book post. This is because I haven't finished my December book, 'A Prayer for Owen Meany'.  I am quite enjoying it and love the character of Owen and the child narrator - he reminds me a little of Scout in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. But it's a long book and somehow over Christmas the slow afternoons I'd envisaged reading by the fire just didn't happen.  So I'll be finishing that this month along with my January book, a Christmas present from a friend who usually makes good choices. It's 'The Miniaturist', by Jessie Burton.  I see it's been a Sunday Times bestseller so I've broken my resolve not to read these.  It's nice to have a real book too, especially one with such a pretty cover.  I've started it already as I tend to pick up real books more readily than the Kindle.  It's set in Amsterdam which appeals to me as I'll be visiting the Netherlands next month on a school trip so reading this will get me in the mood.



I also finished 'Happiness by Design' by Paul Dolan which is another one of those self-help my husband laughs at me for reading.  The writer is an economist and some sections were a bit statistic- heavy for my taste but there was some sensible advice, the main, rather obvious point being that we are happier when choose activities which give us a balance of both pleasure and purpose..  So if I record my day so far (I have most of Wednesday off), according to his chart it would look like this:

1. Drove daughter to school while listening to her sing along to Now Disney CD 20 mins
Pleasure 7 Purpose 10 (Essential journey more fun than usual)
2. Tidied upstairs, including decluttering wardrobe, putting on washing etc.  (Alone, listening to Women's Hour) 2 hr  Pleasure 5 Purpose 7 (Can find something to wear in morning)
3. Walked dog on usual route with neighbour catching up on news 1hr
Pleasure 9 Purpose 8 (Exercise for dog and me)
4. Made healthy Lentil and Bacon and Carrot and Coriander soup while watching 'Loose Women' (Alone 1 - 2 hrs including eating lunch)
 Pleasure 6 Purpose 7 (Healthy,if possibly not very nice, meal for family - looks unappetising, especially lentil)
5. Wrote this post on Blogger Alone 30 mins Pleasure 7 Purpose 5

And now because I have chosen to write this I haven't really got time for the other thing I intended to do before work at 4 pm which is go into town and return some clothes I bought to M&S,  But writing this gave me more pleasure than a trip to town which can wait until the weekend.  That's his other piece of advice: pay attention to the choices you make and do things which make you happy.  Which is why I am here rather than in M&S.  Now time for a quick cup of tea, before selecting something to wear from my newly organised wardrobe for work- dog walking clothes won't do.

10 comments:

  1. I do like the cover of your copy of 'The Miniaturist' Doris! Interesting take on the 'pleasure/duty/ purpose' associated with tasks and activities. X

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  2. I have The Miniaturist on my Kindle (it was one of their daily deals), so I'll be interested to see what you think of it.
    Leanne xx

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  3. I really enjoyed the Miniaturist. I'm hoping to talk about it at Bookclub soon!

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  4. A popular book choice! I prefer stories set in this century, or the last but I might be getting out of my comfort zone and read it, too. I'll wait and see what you think. Economists tend to write good "self help" books I find. That's maybe a bit of an assumption... I listened to Radio 4 Thinking Allowed recently, which had self help books as a topic. The programme is still available to download if you fancy it. Lentil dishes can have that already eaten look sometimes but luckily they are very amenable to a huge range of flavourings. I should probably cook them more often. Have a lovely rest of the week. x

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    1. Sounds like an interesting programme - will have a listen if I can find it.

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  5. I'll be interested to hear your comments on The Miniaturist. I haven't read it myself. The cover is pretty isn't it? I find it hard to get a balance of pleasure and purpose, there always seems to be 1001 jobs to do and then I feel guilty for sitting down to do something I enjoy.

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    1. Me too - reading and replying instead of doing last night's washing up. I am total slob.

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  6. Your day sounds as if it was full of achievements!

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  7. I also read the Minitiaturist in hardcopy, found the ending slightly disappointing as dud my work colleague. If I buy a book I like to share it with others, I find it seems better value when you can pass it on to others.

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