April has been another mixed month in terms of my mood, with the underlying stress of imposed restrictions shadowing the beauty of new life bursting forth in the woods and fields where I am fortunate to live. Lockdown was eased mid-month allowing for gyms to reopen. I welcomed the return to strength training and, as well as working out alone or with younger son, have enjoyed a couple of sessions with a personal trainer. I am hoping his expertise will help ensure my form is correct, that injury may be avoided as I slowly increase the weights I am shifting. Prior to this I had been trying to improve my fitness with lengthy bike rides. I still cycle to and from the gym but no longer feel the need to pedal endless miles. Much as I enjoy cycling, the routes I use had become repetitive. Life remains tied to my local area.
With organised sport now permitted the other members of my little family have returned to playing hockey. This means I occasionally find myself alone in the house, a strange feeling after so many months of living and working in the same shared space. What had once been taken for granted has become the exception. This also applies to making small talk at the gym. The staff there are friendly but I have forgotten how to socialise, not that I was ever much good at this anyway. Lockdown has exacerbated my hermit-like tendencies.
Shops and restaurants may have reopened but do not appeal while masks are required and certain strangers’ reactions to my proximity suggest I am regarded as a biohazard. I will return to these when I am made to feel welcome. It would be lovely to have a weekend away with husband but we shall wait until hospitality venues are permitted to be hospitable again. I have said this before – it is undoubtedly a bugbear.
My family are keeping as well as can be expected under the circumstances. We had good news last week when daughter’s exam results were released. After six years at medical school she may finally call herself a doctor. She has an NHS position confirmed, enabling her to start work in the summer. We ordered a takeaway and drank quite a lot of champagne to celebrate. Many of her fellow medical students were privately educated and I feel immensely proud that she, coming through the local state school comprehensive system and with no personal contacts within the field of medicine, has achieved alongside them.
My foot injuries continue to heal and I am running more frequently and covering longer distances. During the recent fine weather this was particularly enjoyable, although even in rain I find exercise provides a sense of achievement. As a reward for my efforts I finally treated myself to new trainers. Unfortunately the wrong size was sent – the downside of online shopping.
I reviewed 13 books in April: 10 fiction (3 translated), 2 non fiction, and a poetry collection. I particularly enjoyed The High House by Jessie Greengrass so sent the couple of proof copies I had received to other book bloggers who I thought would also enjoy this tale. I am grateful to the publisher for providing me with a beautiful finished edition.
Robyn added a further 12 reviews making this a bumper month on the blog. We have both been trying to read from our TBR piles alongside new releases.
As ever in these monthly posts, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.
The High House by Jessie Greengrass, published by Swift Press
Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura (translated by Philip Gabriel), published by Doubleday
Ouafa and Thawra: About a Lover From Tunisia by Arturo Desimone, published by African Books Collective
Sourcing the books
Robyn is on Netgalley and is grateful for all approvals of titles requested. She also purchased or was gifted some gorgeous finished copies.
I received many books that I am eager to read, although I do feel sad that I am unlikely to get to them all as quickly as I would wish.
As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.
My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.
And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind xx