18 Feb 2019

AT HAWTHORN TIME.


AT HAWTHORN TIME by MELISSA HARRISON


Howard and Kitty have recently moved to Lodeshill after a life spent in London; now, their marriage is wordlessly falling apart. Custom car enthusiast Jamie has lived in the village for all of his nineteen years and dreams only of leaving it behind. Into their world walks Jack, itinerant landworker, vagrant and seer, whose flight back to the land he loves brings change for everyone he meets.
- Back Cover Blurb

Here's where it all ends: a long, straight road between fields.
- First Sentence; Prologue

'Hello,' he whispered, pouring the warm milk carefully into a plastic bottle he took from his pack. 'It's me Jack.' The collie regarded him. After a moment he returned a little to the bucket and tilted it for the dog. It slunk forward, belly low, and drank. Jack gave it his hand to sniff before he left, and hoped for a welcome if he came that way again.
- Memorable Moment; Page 49


SOURCE ... A Reading Group Read.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... Overshadowed by disaster, 'book-ended' by an event, the scene set with a car crash; the story comes full circle, gradually backtracking to reveal the events leading up to this horrific climax. Alternating chapter by chapter, At Hawthorn Time is narrated by four protagonists; 
unrelated characters with stories that cross and converge.

A social commentary of sorts; a protest against the onslaught of the countryside, a elegy to a fast disappearing way of life as man becomes ever more disconnected with nature. Born and bred 'local lad' Jamie; discontent with his job working in a distribution centre, frustrated by the lack of options this holds, desperate to get away, a nod to the reality of country living in the modern age. Howard and Kitty symbolic of the middle-class retirement-age city dwellers who decide to 'up sticks' and move to the countryside in search of their idyll.

Deep rooted in the in the natural world; the movements of the seasons, the 'turning of the wheel'. By far my favourite character and, for me, the saving grace in what was otherwise an OK read, there was Jack. Versed in the 'old ways'; one of an almost dead breed of man jobbing the English byways in search of seasonal work. I'd have been more than happy if the whole book had concentrated and perhaps expanded upon his story and his story alone.

Summed up as essentially a read that can safely be filed away as being not one for me. Yes, I adored Jack as a character and, yes, I appreciated the beauty of the prose but I felt the constant descriptions of what the characters were thinking and feeling detracted from the story. That the countryside itself took precedent over and above the characters. Not something that was ever going to work for someone like myself who is more about the characters and less about world building. And as for the ending? Well, lets just leave it at I felt the book promised so much more than it actually delivered.

15 Feb 2019

FAREWELL TO GOOGLE+.






Google Plus End Of Life ReportedI guess that given as of the 4th of this month* I was no longer able to add any posts to Google+ I'm a bit late in posting this BUT for those of you not in the know ...

In December 2018, it was decided that (and I quote) ... 


"due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations ...

Google+ would cease to exist as of April 2019 which as I was informed via email meant that I as a user of said service would ...
  • blah
  • blah
  • blah 
  • lose all of the 84 people who chose to follow Pen and Paper via this medium
  • no longer be able to link to book reviews that I had posted on Pen and Paper.

Sad to have potentially lost what were 84 followers of Pen and Paper (some of whom I'm sure followed by other means as well but still ....) and more than a tad bit annoyed that I didn't have more time to forewarn these followers what was about to happen - I received notification via email on the 1st of February only for the Google+ featured to be removed from Blogger by the 4th of February - I'd like to thank those who though they originally came to the blog via this feature have chosen to follow me by another means.

As for my no longer being able to link to my book reviews on this platform ...

Given how passionate I am about those who choose to self publish or go with the smaller publishers such as Alma Books and Clink Street I'm saddened that no matter how small that exposure may have been this means of exposing their books; of getting their name/their book out there is no longer available to bloggers such as myself many of whom are becoming disillusioned with Amazon and their increasing demands.** I can only promise to do what I can.  

* The date by which Google+ will be removed from Blogger. 
** More and more demands are being made on those wishing to leave reviews (whether they be for books or not) on Amazon since July 2018. 

13 Feb 2019

JUNG: THE KEY IDEAS.

JUNG: THE KEY IDEAS by RUTH SNOWDEN.


Jung: the Key Ideas will introduce you to the life and work of the founder of analytical psychology. It explains all the essential concepts, from the collective unconscious to archetypes in dreams. Expressing Jung's sometimes complex ideas in simple terms, and backed up with references to his own texts, this is an essential introduction to a fascinating figure.
- Back Cover Blurb 

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist . He is famous because he founded a system of psychology that he called analytical psychology.
- First Sentence; Only Got A  Minute?

Jung agreed with Freud when he said that dreams often arose from emotional     upsets, in which complexes were frequently involved. These complexes were like tender spots in the psyche that easily reacted to external stimulus or disturbance. However, Jung pointed out that one can also explore complexes by means of word-association tests, meditation or conversation - they do not have to wait to be uncovered by a dream.
Memorable Moment; Page 102

SOURCE ... Borrowed.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... Covering key concepts by way of everything from 'Jung's life and career' and 'Jung the visionary' by way of, amongst other topics,'Dreams and symbols' and 'Religion and spirituality', I thought this a concise, perfectly adequate if somewhat basic introduction to the life and work of one of psychology's most well known names. The laying out what we can expect to learn at the beginning of each chapter; the short bullet point summary at the end making it easy to dip in and out of as and when and thus not at all daunting.

Download the book here.