December 2015 was wet and miserable here in the northern England. Some sixteen thousand homes flooded, including ours.
The past few weeks have been busy with clearing up, finding somewhere to live and starting to resume normal activities.
One of the things I plan to do in 2016 is to celebrate twenty years of teaching speed reading. This blog will keep you updated with the latest news about this.
It looks as if it is going to be an exciting year, with trips around the UK and Europe to teach speed reading.
I am also going to be writing reviews of some of the books I am reading and posting them, as well as tweeting about author events here in the North East.
Other than devouring information about ways of protecting homes from floods, I had not really felt like reading during the last few weeks. I started to feel as if I wanted to read fiction again with a visit to the amazing little bookshop in Corbridge, Forum Books. I picked up a copy of Ragnar Jonasson’s ‘Snow Blind’. I wanted to escape from the continuing rain and gloom and a crime novel set in an Icelandic fishing village seemed a good way to do it. The great thing about detective fiction is that it is so involving. There is that race between the reader and the protagonist to figure out who the murderer is before all is revealed at the end. ‘Snow Blind’ is a really terrific read and it provided a much-needed relaxing break. I have now read the sequel, ’Night Blind’, and I think it is even better.
The first author event hosted by Forum Books was a visit from Sarah Winman, author of ‘A Year of Marvellous Ways’. It was interesting listening to her talk and I felt that her account of how she came to write the novel and how she was influenced by Jung gave me a better appreciation of it. Storytelling, healing and fantasy are themes. There is cleverness in the juxtaposition of different realities, different characters’ perceptions and the healing power of stories.
There were many in the audience who were fans and who clearly loved the book. Their enthusiasm was contagious and at the end of the talk there was a long queue of people wanting to buy books and have them autographed.
We had the opportunity to try some sloe gin, which features in the novel quite frequently. Does the combination of sloe gin and storytelling have healing properties? More research may be needed. It is certainly a heady mix!
See you next week!