Wednesday 4 March 2020

Yarn Along March 4th 2020: World Book Day

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Yarn Along post, but it’s World Book Day tomorrow, and I’ve actually read some books recently, so the timing seemed right. 

My current work in progress is a jumper for a magazine, and the body consists of a lot of stocking stitch, so at the weekend I sat on the sofa and did a lot of (very bright!) knitting. The major advantage of stocking stitch in the round is that all you have to do is knit, which I can do without looking, so my eyes are free to read. Reading while you knit is easiest with an e-reader (I have a Kindle), but it is possible to read without one: at the weekend I was reading a paperback, which I broke the spine on (don’t tell the reading police, needs must…), and held it open with my phone (I have also been known to use a clothes peg or bulldog clip to keep the pages open, but it’s harder to turn the pages). Once I’d finished the paperback, I moved onto a hardback book I’d borrowed from the library. Hardback books are much easier to lie open, and library copies definitely lie flatter as their spines have been opened and closed many more times than a book that is read once.

So, what have I been reading? I’ve been reading The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley for what feels like forever, and thought I’d made a lot more progress than I actually have when one of the kids moved the bookmark on by 300 pages… The Seven Sisters is about seven sisters who were adopted in turn at birth by one man. When their adoptive father dies, each of the sisters is given a clue to their birth story. I’m about 150 pages in, and so far the book is written in two time streams: one in the present day, and one from the time before the first sister’s adoption. I’m finding the book rather slow, and it is the first in a series of (somewhat predictably) seven books, so I’m not sure whether to continue. If you’ve read the book, is it worth carrying on?


As a break from The Seven Sisters, I picked up a couple of books by Jenny Colgan, who is one of my favourite authors if I want an easy read. Both books are from the Summer Seaside Kitchen series, set on a fictitious island to the north of Scotland where the winters are long and dark and in the summer the sun never sets. I read The Summer Seaside Kitchen and A Very Distant Shore a couple of summers ago and loved them both, The Endless Beach and An Island Christmas are the third and fourth books in the series, and I read both in quick succession over the past couple of weeks. The Endless Beach catches up with all the original characters: Flora and her distant boyfriend Joel, Lorena, the headteacher at the island school, Fintan and his boyfriend Coltan, and Saif, the doctor who is a refugee from the Middle East, who lost his entire family when war broke out in his homeland. The book covers a huge range of topics, including mental health, isolation and loneliness, racism and homophobia, all told in a warm and welcoming writing style. While the book could definitely be classed as chick lit, I feel it offers a lot more depth than many authors in the field. I can’t tell you much about An Island Christmas without giving you spoilers for The Endless Beach, but Jenny does include a synopsis of the earlier books at the start, should you want to dive in with book four. I didn’t find An Island Christmas as enjoyable as The Endless Beach as it lacked the depth, but it was an entertaining enough diversion for me to read the book over a 36 hour period, and I was sufficiently engaged in the lives of the characters to sob the whole way through a couple of chapters towards the end.

As I said at the start of this post, tomorrow is World Book Day, and having spent this morning trawling the shops for a Poppy the Troll wig (not possible to buy locally, so I ended up buying the whole costume; no planet-saving points acquired there), and a green t-shirt for my son to wear so he can be Howard Hutchins from Captain Underpants (trickier than anticipated – green is not one of the colours of the season, so I’ve had to buy an adult-sized one that may be on the large side; at least he’s made his own comic book to take, so he does get some points for creativity), I can’t help but feel that the meaning of World Book Day has been lost amid the fancy dress. Surely my money would have been better spent on some actual books? In an attempt to reclaim World Book Day for the books, tomorrow I plan to camp out somewhere and do some very obvious reading in public, and to ask everyone I see for book recommendations. Let’s start here: what are you currently reading? What have you read recently that you would recommend?

Joinig in with Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny.

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