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Keeping positive

After all that has been happening nationally and internationally in the past week, perhaps we should turn our thoughts instead to...the weather!?

Yesterday's warm, bright sunshine certainly lifted my spirits and the days are getting noticeably longer now too. It's a welcome reminder that winter will pass.

In my reading this week, I was pleased to find books which offered hope and promise.

Women writing in '100 voices' shared their experiences of bringing about change in their lives, and it urged me to think about introducing small positive actions in my life - even writing letters more regularly to friends who enjoy receiving a personal message in the post.

And 'The Comet' is a beautiful picture book for young readers who might be experiencing an upheaval, giving them solace and the promise of a positive way forward.

There will be an opportunity to share our reading treasures tomorrow, when it's our book group meeting in Woodbridge.

We will be keeping to our existing measures regarding ventilation, distancing and masks, and I hope that you will feel comfortable to come along to discuss 'Mayflies' by Andrew O'Hagan.

I need to ensure we have everything in place ahead of the meeting so would be grateful if you would reply to this email by 10am tomorrow at the latest to let me know if you are joining us, and I'll send you all the details.

Thank you for reading!

100 Voices
edited by Miranda Roszkowski 

Launching a podcast in 2018, Miranda Roszkowski invited women to share the achievements in their lives. It was well received and this book is a compilation of those contributions, and more. She describes it as "400 pages of inspiration".

It's 100 years since women were first allowed to vote in the UK. What does that mean? What do women contribute today? Is their voice heard?

I wasn't expecting to get on with the book, not being one for anthologies or collections of essays, but found it very easy to keep turning the pages. Each contribution is brief and warmly and engagingly written. It's as if you're picking up letters from friends, or friends of friends. And the short biographies of each contributor are intriguing and warrant further investigation.

There is a strong creative bent in the contributions with the writers urging the reader to stop procrastinating and find our own ways of expressing ourselves, too, in poems, songs, plays, novels or memoirs. There are also very personal observations on motherhood, relationships, abuse. Some of the contributors explain the projects they've launched - for example From Me to You which encourages people to write letters to people living with cancer.

But we're also encouraged to to make lemon curd or learn to ride a motorcycle, if we fancy it. And we are reminded to walk more for our physical and mental health, or to run, and not be daunted: take one step, then three steps, then ten "and someday maybe you can run a marathon. And if you can run a marathon, you can do anything".

This is a great book for dipping into, or reading in one long gulp. There'll be occasions where it will make you smile, other times you might weep, and perhaps it'll encourage you to start something new - or to write a letter.

For recommended non-fiction titles, take a look here.
The Comet
by Joe Todd Stanton

Beautifully detailed illustrations in a sophisticated layout give the feel of a graphic novel, in this stunning picture book which is aimed to appeal to children aged three years up, and tackles the subject of moving home.

Nyla and her dad have to move house. They've had a wonderful time together living in the countryside, but dad's job has changed and not only are they now living in the city but there are a lot of changes to their routine that they have to negotiate. There's no picturesque scenery through the window, no nutritious meals to cook together, no time for playing together. Nyla is miserable.

One night, though, she spots a comet in the sky and it transports her up and away from the city streets. And soon dad shares in the magic too, so that together again they start making their new home. 

This is a wonderful book. I loved the illustrations and it's a delightful way to look at overcoming the difficulties of moving house and being open to new and exciting experiences. 

Read about more recommended children's books here.

Browsers Bookshop Book Group

at St John's Hall, Woodbridge

Monday 28 February 8pm talking about...
by Andrew O'Hagan

A coming of age novel in Thatcher’s Britain, this has been described as a book about male friendship and male fragility. "A heartbreaking novel of an extraordinary lifelong friendship." Based on the author’s experiences: nearly all true, he says. What will we think of it?

Everyone is welcome to join the meeting but please let me know you're planning on being there by replying to this email by 10am tomorrow.
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