September 2019

Hello again, and thank you for dropping by.

At last spring is upon us, and how welcome it is. I’m sure it will bring a burst of energy and enthusiasm for those new projects I have in the back of my mind. (I hope).

August was an emotional time for us as our youngest granddaughter joined the thousands of other youngsters who go overseas to work as a rite of passage. We are lucky she will be staying with family to work as a nanny to two young children, so we can be sure she will be secure. But to a young girl born and bred on the Sunny Coast, London must seem a daunting place. How grateful we are for the easy and various ways of communication available to us these days. This is the upside of the technological age. We may curse when things go wrong, but when they do go right we wouldn’t be without our mobile phones and gadgets.

August has been busy, too, for the writing part of my life with two speaking engagements and a new client asking me to edit a book she is working on. It is proving extremely interesting as the author designed and built the impressive building with the waterwheel in Montville. If you have been up to the Blackall Ranges in the hinterland behind the coast, I’m sure you will remember it. Learning the history behind the building and the skilful artisans who made it a reality makes me wish I had met her when I was writing the Sunshine Coast book. The story would have been a great addition.

It is with mixed feelings that I am closing my Facebook page. Once again my account was hacked leaving me less than impressed with the security issues that have been plaguing the social media giant. I have made some great links through FB but I think the time has come for me to focus on more personal and direct contacts. Will I regret it? Possibly, but I find I am enjoying more the face to face contact I have with people than just having a series of ‘likes’ and perhaps a brief comment. Time for me to focus on other ways to keep in touch.

After reading another 500 page marathon, I was ready for something completely different. So I returned to two old friends I have read before, and really enjoyed. What made these books stand out for me was their style. Both were written in the form of a series of letters, and it really is a different way of keeping a story moving. The first one I reviewed in an early edition of my newsletters but it’s worth a second recommendation.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is the story of a long-distance friendship between an American script writer with a love of English literature, and a second-hand book dealer who supplies the books she is looking for. Quite apart from their common love of books, which is captured beautifully in their letters, it is the relationship between them, which develops over a period of twenty years, that will capture your heart. Although the two never meet, the reader can feel a rare and gentle kind of love story growing

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is totally different with a cast of various letter writers. Centred on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, it tells of the trials of the people living there during the German occupation of World War 2. At times it is harrowing in its reporting of what they endured, but any heaviness is lifted by the wonderful collection of characters. If I have any criticism, it is that the story ended very quickly. Perhaps that is because the original author became terminally ill so could not finish writing it and it was completed by her niece. However, don’t let that prevent you from reading it. There is much to be learned and enjoyed in this book.

That’s all from me for this month. Bye for now.

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