The mostly settled weather throughout September has enabled me to get out and about locally each day – to exercise alone as I still fear socialising may be fraught with strongly held opinions and brusque castigations. I am marking time in this way as so many lockdown restrictions remain – in people’s heads even if no longer legislated. The media continues to whip up fear that fits their agenda, with few readers appearing to dig deeper. It is hard not to despair at the apparent lack of critical thinking and bullying nature of so much commentary. Facts on issues remain a challenge to access if off message, with name calling endemic. So much of the science will not be provable until properly researched over years. The sociological and psychological effects already appear chilling.
September saw the reopening of the local gym and swimming pool I had been a member of for years before it closed its doors in March 2020. Although I have continued to run and cycle outside throughout lockdown, I missed my strength training, hence why I joined a town gym when access to such facilities was granted again. I don’t understand why it took so long for my original gym to reopen to former members but, now that this has been rectified, I am very glad to be back to regular swimming (my long unused muscles beg to differ). I am, however, considering whether I can continue to justify two gym memberships. The strength training equipment is much more extensive at the town gym but attending both feels decadent.
In addition to my local runs, I have continued to enjoy weekly Parkruns since they restarted. Husband and I attend these together, although he tore a muscle in his calf fifteen minutes into his first hockey match of the season so has since been volunteering as a marshal while I lollop around the course. I was pleased to beat my personal best time mid month. Some weeks I push hard and others I simply enjoy joining in.
Husband’s hockey may have been curtailed but our boys still train and play – for different teams this season which can make transport logistics interesting. Daughter has been working nights and then weekends so has yet to play a league game.
Younger son continues to apply for jobs – a frustrating process when everything is online and not all links provided work. He has been offered two interviews thus far, neither of which he could progress due to inoperative booking systems and a lack of contact details to be found to raise the issue.
For my fellow teddy bear fans, the month included two updates in my occasional series, Edward Explores. These were, A Happy Birthday and London in the Time of Covid.
Edward’s adventures in London occurred because I was invited to a party – an actual in-person literary event where people chatted and enjoyed themselves in a fine venue. I wrote about the evening here: Launch Party for Dreamtime by Venetia Welby.
Following this, husband and I talked of arranging another trip away, to a remote location rather than a city while access to attractions remains limited. We are, however, reluctant to book anything much in advance due to the threat of sudden changes to restrictions. We have no desire to travel abroad at this time but a short UK break would be welcome once his injury heals.
I have been pleased to note that businesses are starting to state whether behaviours such as mask wearing will be expected at events. It makes arranging attendance – or avoiding – an informed choice. For this reason I will not be at the Marlborough Literature Festival next weekend – a shame as I enjoyed this in previous years. I assume they are catering for what the majority want and that makes economic sense.
I posted reviews for 7 books in September. Robyn added her thoughts on a further 5 books. I also posted an author interview, gleaning some interesting background from Sam Reese whose latest book of short stories I reviewed.
As is customary in these monthly posts, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.
A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, published by Granta
Some Rise By Sin by by Siôn Scott-Wilson, published by Deixis Press
The Passing of the Forms That We Have Loved by Christopher Boon, published by époque press
Stories We Tell Our Children by Marc Nash, published by Lendal Press
On A Distant Ridgeline by Sam Reese, published by Platypus Press
Translated Short Stories
The Song of Youth by Montserrat Roig (translated by Tiago Miller), published by Fum d’Estampa Press.
The Sun Is Open by Gail McConnell, published by Penned in the Margins
The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis, published by Hodder & Stoughton
The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino, published by Titan Books
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, published by Tor
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson, published by Simon & Schuster Children’s
The Winter Garden by Alexandra Bell, published by Del Rey
Sourcing the books
Robyn has made many purchases this month, including three copies of the same book and a third copy of her favourite story of all time (The Night Circus). She now earns her own money so who am I to ask questions?
I also received a generous stack of enticing titles. I am eager to read each of these.
As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their books 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