MARgINAlia

A plume with a hue

Archive for the tag “Lucy Foley”

Intentions: review and setting (week 28)

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

Health and Wellbeing

Last week: My intention was to scale down the number of items on my to-do list in an attempt to decrease that feeling of overwhelm and stress. It worked! I highlighted one or two tasks to focus on each day, which made life far more manageable.

This week: As part of the above effort to cut down on stress, I am practising extreme self-care by taking time out for a one day yoga retreat. It’s been a tough eighteen months so this feels much needed. Hopefully, the weather will brighten up as there is an outdoor pool and it would be great to have a swim as well. It seems to have been cloudy and rainy all summer so far.

Intention: Relax and refresh at yoga retreat.

Personal Development

Last week: I decided to make a start on the embroidery ordered from Craftpod[1]. I’m new to this so had to go on Youtube to find out how to do the stitches but the instructions were clear and this lack of experience didn’t prove to be a problem. It’s relaxing and strangely addictive, and I’ve almost finished. I’ve ordered another kit and, in a familiar fit of over-ambition, some materials to create my own design. It’s good to get back into a creative mode and I’ve been inspired to sign up for a fabric art and stitching workshop.

Intention: Finish the Craftpod embroidery.

Reading

Last week: I had two novels to read, both for book clubs; the first, The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, I’ve finished; the second, Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse, I’m about halfway through.

Intention: Finish Black Rain.

Writing

Last week: I had planned on spending the London Writers’ Hour session working my way through the Making People course I signed up for with Writers’ HQ. However, dog-sitting got in the way. I did, however, attend an online Flash Fiction course with City Lit, which was amazing. In just a few hours, I drafted five pieces, which I can now start revising.

Intention: Review the Making People course content.

Organisation

Last week: The idea was to tidy and organise my desk and surrounding area. This is almost completed. However, I’m off on holiday next week and so need to focus on preparing for that.

Intention: Get organised for holiday.

[1] https://www.craftpod.co.uk/

My reading week: 27/52

Currently Reading

My current novel is Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse, which is this month’s choice for the Japanese Literature book club. It tells of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and its effect on the survivors.

Recently Completed

I finished listening to The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. Set in the Caribbean, it tells the story of David, a fisherman who rescues and falls in love with Aycayia, the mermaid of the title. The mythic quality of the novel particularly lends itself to the audio version, which is beautifully narrated and transports the reader to the town of Black Conch. I love the fact that Roffey has created a mermaid far removed from the blond-haired beauty stereotype, and hers and David’s story is painfully touching to witness. This is an unusual and hypnotic novel.

I also finished reading/listening to The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. This is one of those novels that seems incredibly popular, appearing everywhere, so I had high hopes. A group of friends spend the New Year in the Scottish wilderness but things go horribly wrong when one of the party is found dead. This is not just a story about identifying the killer, who is one of the group, but the identity of the suspect is also withheld. Potential motives abound, which made me question why these people wanted to spend time together at all. I guessed the victim early on but had no idea as to the perpetrator, and by the end of the novel I honestly didn’t care. I found the characters irritating and paradoxically although the novel centred around their back stories, it felt very much plot-driven. I can understand its popularity but as I prefer a character-driven novel, it wasn’t for me.

Reading Next

My next choice is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, which I’m going to read and listen to. It’s part of my exploration into magical realism and is also one of the set texts on a two week literature course next month.

I’ve chosen this week’s quotation as I’m always fascinated by the ways people use journals. It comes from Black Rain.

Her way of keeping a diary was to deal with the day’s events in a brief five or six lines for four or five days, then, on the fifth or sixth day, to devote one entry to describing the past few days in greater detail.

Masuji Ibuse

Intentions: review and setting (week 27)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here is a review of last week’s intentions, and my aspirations for this week.

Health and Wellbeing

I ate healthy snacks in the evening and went to ballroom and Latin dancing. I also did more yoga and walking than usual.

I’ve noticed that my to-do lists and becoming too long and overwhelming, causing unnecessary stress.

This week: Reduce the number of items on my to-do list.

Personal Development

I made a list of the outstanding reading from my Critical Reading course, which has now finished. I will work through this in my own time.

Although I haven’t done any art journalling for a long time, I have been feeling a spark of creativity return but have a desire to explore with fabric and stitch rather than paint and paper. Inspired by this post on the Willow in Winter blog, I ordered the Craftpod summer box: https://willowinwinter.com/2021/06/30/craftpods-summer-box-2021/

This week: Make a start on the embroidery in the Craftpod box.

Reading

I finished listening to The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. The next books I need to read are The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley and Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse.

This week: Read The Hunting Party.

Writing

I finished working through the first section of A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders and wrote an outline for a short story I’ve already drafted in order to give it more structure. I’ve also signed up to a Making People course with Writers’ HQ.

This week: Begin working through the exercises in the course, applying them to my short story character.

Organisation

I managed to tidy the spare bedroom and the kitchen.

This week: Organise my desk and workspace.

My reading week: 26/52

Currently Reading

I’m still reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and listening to The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey, both of which I’m enjoying.

I’ve also started reading Busy@Home by Tony Crabbe, which is a guide on how to survive and thrive during the Covid crisis. Hopefully, I’m a bit late to the party on this one.

Recently Finished

For the first time this year, the answer is: nothing. I didn’t complete any books this week. After reading Leaf Storm by Gabriel García Márquez, I was a bit slow to decide what to read next.

Reading Next

My next read will definitely be The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, which I need to read by mid-July for my book club.

This week’s quotation comes from The Mermaid of Black Conch and expresses the idea that when all else fails, we still have our story:

I am an ol’ man now, and sick sick so I cyan move much, sick so I cyan work, go out to sea, and so I go write my story.

Monique Roffey

My reading week: 25/52

Currently Reading

My current read is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, which was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and has been recommended by my daughter. So far I’m enjoying it and this is from the blurb:

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, her employer Alix resolves to make things right. So begins a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

I’m also listening to the audiobook of The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey, which is beautifully narrated by Ben Onwukue and Vivienne Acheampong in a way which transports you to the Caribbean island. It’s the July choice of the No Book No Life book club.

Recently Finished

This week, I finished listening to Bullet Park by John Cheever. The novel tells of the collision of the world of Eliot Nailles with that Paul Hammer and is set in the ordinary American suburbs where extraordinary things happen. It’s both bizarre and interesting in an unlikely sort of way.

I also finished Leaf Storm by Gabriel García Márquez, a novella which spans the period of time between 2.30 and 3.00pm on a Wednesday afternoon in September as the Colonel fulfils his promise to provide ‘an honourable burial’ to the doctor, who has committed suicide, knowing that by doing so he will inflame the town’s residents. He instructs his daughter and her son to join him and the story is told through their multiple first person narrations. Through flashbacks, the reader is slowly able to piece together the events which has led to this day. For a short book of 119 pages, I found it a slow read requiring intense concentration. In the constant switching of narrative voice, it was not immediately clear who the narrator was until a couple of pages into the section, which made it quite confusing. Having said that, I still enjoyed its slow-paced revelation of the past.

Reading Next

My next read is The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, chosen for my July book club. This has been highly recommended by so many people so I’m looking forward to seeing what I think of it.

This week’s quotation is from Leaf Storm, as Isabel speaks of her father, the Colonel:

Actually, he’s spent his whole life doing things like this; giving the town stones to chew on, keeping his most insignificant promises with his back turned to all convention.

Gabriel García Márquez

Top 5 authors I would like to try

This is a difficult one for me as there are a great many authors whose work I would like to explore in more detail. However, for the purposes of this prompt, I have chosen writers whose work I have yet to taste.

Lucy Foley seems to have become extremely popular for her novels The Hunting Party and The Guest List. She has also written: The Book of Lost and Found, The Invitation and Last Letter from Istanbul. When I see a number of people praising a writer, I become curious and make an effort to read their work.

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian American author, whose novel, Mornings in Jenin, has been highly recommended to me by several people. Her other novels include: The Blue Between Sky and Water and Against the Loveless World.

Helon Habila is a Nigerian novelist and poet, extracts from whose novel Travellers I have just come across. Other novels are: Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time and Oil on Water.

Shokoofeh Azar is an Iranian Australian writer, whose novel The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. It appears to be her only novel.

Mieko Kawakami is from Japan and has written several novels, the following of which I believe have been translated into English: Miss Ice Sandwich, Breast and Eggs, Heaven, and All the Lovers in the Night. There’s something about Japanese literature that I find particularly appealing so I’m always on the lookout for new writers to try.

The only novel currently in my possession is The Hunting Party and I will have to wait for my current TBR pile to reduce slightly before I order any more.

Post Navigation