Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Book Exchange

One of the most priceless gifts anyone can give me is a recommendation of a good book. Choosing a book to read is a risky business...you are committing to spend the next few hours with this compilation of pages with black markings on them that are bound together and somehow create meaning, so you want it to be worthwhile. You want a story with soul...something that makes you feel warm inside, with a shiver down your spine; something that you makes you laugh and cry and wonder how everyone else is simply going on with their lives. You want to FEEL, to be taken to another world, to meet new faces and call them old friends by the end.

I have read (and, I confess, compiled) many lists of 'top 10 reads' but one of my favourite questions to ask (and answer) is 'what have you read lately?' and that is my question for you. What's on the bedside table at the moment? What book has challenged your thinking? What have you read that has transported you to another dimension? What would you tell everyone to read? What have you gone back to and re-read multiple times? I'll start us off; here are a few of my recent reads:

The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kid)
This novel was not at all what I was expecting it to be when I picked it up. It was expected with intriguing characters and beautiful descriptions.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)
The narrative perspective of this novel was original and although at first I struggled to empathise with the narrator, the novel provides a lens through which to look at the world in a way that I had never seen it before.

Your turn now...your mission is to recommend a book to someone. Loan it to them, buy it for them, mail it to them. Start the conversation! And if it's been a while since you have read a book then it's high time you pick one up.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A glorious sky

It was worth pausing on my walk up to my car this evening as I left work...quick snaps taken on my phone with no filter-it doesn't quite do it justice, but the sky was simply glorious! 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

This Week's Spelling Test

Memories of school for most people include spelling tests. I always get some interesting responses in spelling tests-here are some examples from this week.

Word #1: breathe -spelled: fresh air (someone has a sense of humour!!)
Word #2: education -spelled: egachshoin (somewhat phonetically!)
Word #3: chop -spelled: shock (yes, I suppose when you chop something you are giving it a shock!)
Word #4: orchestra -spelled: aquester (hmmm...not sure about this one!)
Word #5: friend -spelled: firend (a fiery end to that friendship?)
Word #6: familiar -spelled: filmelea (at least some of the letters are there, just not quite in the right order)
Word #7: enthusiastic -spelled: inthezeater (going to the 'zeater'? (any ideas on what a 'zeater' is?))

And this is why teaching English is important!

Friday, 17 January 2014

A Proposition...

Defy Twitter, Facebook and Blogging. Let us revive the ancient and almost forgotten art of letter writing.

Jane Austen is my literary hero (or should that be 'heroine'?). Her characters (although a little too perfect in some cases) are quite endearing and her wit simply flies off the pages. She was a charming correspondent and extracts from her letters keep me amused for hours. Here is what she can teach us about letter writing:

Here is a way to start us off:
'Expect a most agreeable letter, for not being overburdened by subject-having nothing at all to say-there shall be no check to my genius from beginning to end.'

Always include a comment about the weather:
'What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps on in a continual state of inelegance.' (At last, a more refined way of expressing my sentiments about summer!)

Write about your plans for the future:
'Next week I shall begin operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.'

Be brutally honest:
'I am sorry to tell you that I am getting very extravagant and spending all my money, and what is worse for you, I have been spending yours too.'


So, who is with me? Take up your quill and ink and begin writing your own senseless nothings (or perhaps, you can write sensible somethings instead, but I think I will follow Jane Austen's lead and 'let other pens dwell on guilt and misery')

Life Building

Life Building

It has often been said before that
‘Life is what happens while you
are busy making other plans.'
But I have a different theory, that
You build the life you end up living
Through the choices you make everyday.

It is your choice whether or not
You move on to escape the monochrome
To experience life in vivid technicolour.
It’s all about taking a step and pursuing it
Desire more, long for something better
But learn the secret to being content.

Be inspired, learn something, remain open
Become an inspiration, teach someone, explore
Create the world that you want to live in
Don't settle for less, but don’t fear settling
Live loud and live in the whisper. Build character
Turn the page and listen with your heart.


~N.M.