August already – wow. We’re coming to the end of 2020, a year I think many will be glad to see the back of. Things have been a little crazy around here. Lockdown measures were gradually easing before Bozza decided to give everybody 20 minutes’ notice again on Thursday to stop seeing their family and friends. For anybody reading from another country, our Prime Minister placed Greater Manchester and a few surrounding areas into a local lockdown at about 9pm on Thursday evening. He was kind enough to announce it on Twitter, and only start the lockdown at midnight, meaning we all had a whole three hours to prepare. Well – those of us who were actually awake and online at that time did, the rest awoke the next morning to find themselves in lockdown, with many of them having already broken the rules staying over at the houses of friends or families!
But I don’t think it really matters this time, because it’s not really a lockdown, is it? We can still go to shops, pubs, restaurants, bars, anywhere we can spend money, and we can travel outside of Greater Manchester to anywhere in the UK and even abroad. We just can’t do those things with anybody outside of our own homes. Basically, we have so many Coronavirus cases across Greater Manchester that we can’t see our family or friends in our homes or gardens, but not so many to mean we can’t go and sit in a pub full of strangers, and not too high that we can’t spread the virus around the country and into other countries. Makes sense doesn’t it?! Clear as mud.
Anyway, laughable prime minister and so-called lockdown aside, what do I have for you this week?
I actually bought this book because I’ve heard a few people mention it, then I saw Libby Page (author of The Lido and The 24 Hour Cafe – see last week’s post) share that she was reading it and then I saw it in Sainsbury’s on offer for £4 a few days later. It didn’t really seem like my kind of book, and I never really understand what it means when a story is described as a ‘coming of age’ tale, but I loved the artwork (how fickle am I?!) and figured I could get on board with the story, so decided to give it a go. And I really enjoyed it!
The story is set in North Carolina and is about a little girl who lives in the wild after having been left to fend for herself, known by those who live in the local town as the ‘Marsh Girl’. She becomes implicated in a murder case and the story generally follows her life and this event. It was a simple enough storyline, but the book is written by a wildlife scientist, so the details about the marsh and imagery of the habitat were what were most enticing.
It had some great qualities – I really warmed to the main character, Kya, and I enjoyed reading the story of her life. I wasn’t overly keen on the way it was written at times – I don’t love it when writers write in dialect anyway, but I found it especially confusing throughout this book. However, I understand the reasons for it and think it did fit the overall novel and help to shape the characters more effectively, it’s just not really my thing. I would recommend this book though, it was an interesting read!
If you fancy an easy watch mixed with a dose of food, travel and human life stories, look no further! I’ve been swamped with work this week from both jobs, but I’ve made a point to carve time to at least eat tea (or dinner to any non-Northerners reading!) away from my desk, and whilst doing so, we’ve been watching this series on Netflix. I absolutely loved it! The episodes aren’t too long, and I’d completely recommend it.
Each episode features a different place in Latin America and focuses on local cuisine and local people who run restaurants or street food stalls in each place. I love seeing the beautiful places and delicious looking foods, and I especially love hearing the stories behind each vendor. I’ve just finished the final episode, which was definitely my favourite. It was the episode on Bolivia and featured heavily around ‘Las Cholitas’ – strong, resilient and inspirational Bolivian women. You can learn a little more about them on this blog post I found. It was such a fascinating mini-series and I really recommend it!
I woke up one day recently to see The National sharing this album on Facebook, and I was confused and thought that they’d actually released a surprise album. I got so excited and went straight to listen. It was only upon listening to it immediately that I realised it was Taylor Swift(!) and that The National were sharing it because Aaron Dessner co-wrote a lot of it and produced it!
I was so intrigued by this collaboration, and honestly, I absolutely love it. It’s still early days yet to choose a favourite song, so I’ll report back on that in future, but the track that’s really capturing my attention right now is Exile – the collaboration with Bon Iver. It is a really beautiful song. I’m so impressed by the speed this secret album has been put together (they only started in April!). I’ve always quite liked Taylor Swift, but can’t say I’d actively choose to listen to an entire album of hers. However, the minute I found out it had anything to do with The National, I was intrigued and had to listen to the entire thing. It’s a fantastic album – you can clearly hear Dessner’s influence and it is beautiful. I think it also has a slight Lana Del Rey-esque vibe too, so that’s a huge win for me! If you’re a fan of The National, Lana Del Rey or that type of vibe, definitely check it out!
Word of the Week
I’m often asked what my favourite word is in English, and honestly, there are just so many. One of them is ethereal. I love the way it reads and the connotations it holds. There are many definitions, but I like Google Dictionary’s so according to that, ethereal means:
There you have it! What a lovely word.
That’s it from me this time! I’ll be back next week to share more recommendations. I’m looking for book recommendations this week so please feel free to get in touch with some – I’d love to hear them!