Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Jess,

Thank you for being one of my favourite people to spend time with. Your enthusiasm and grace will be missed now you’ve moved to London (*sob*) but I’m excited to have a new penpal and a new part of that beautiful to city to visit. Cardiff’s loss is London’s gain – knock ’em dead, kid.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

30 for 30: Read 30 ‘To Read’ – Books 1-5

Posted by in 30 for 30, Books, Projects

This post is an update on my 30 for 30 goal: Read 30 Books I’ve Been Meaning To Read. So far I’ve read 5 out of 30.

1. Pamela Ribon – You Take It From Here


Date Read: 29th June 2013
Rating:  3 stars

Mini synopsis: Bossy girl with terminal cancer wants her reluctant friend to take over her life once she’s gone.

Read it because: Pamela Ribon is a talented, funny writer. I personally couldn’t get along with the main character, but a lot of people like this one so I’d suggest giving it a chance.

2. Kim Edwards – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter


Date Read: 6th July 2013
Rating:  2 stars

Mini synopsis: The stigma of down syndrome causes a secret family rift.

Don’t read it because: it’s really not worth it. The premise is there but the writing is clunky at best, it’s about 50 pages too long and I really couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the selfish, maudlin, boring characters.

3. Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex


Date Read: 24th July 2013
Rating:  4 stars

Mini synopsis: Greek hermaphrodite tells his story; intriguing, interesting and heartbreaking all in one.

Read it because: Amy loves it – more than a good enough reason I think.

4. Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls


Date Read: 25th July 2013
Rating:  5 stars

Mini synopsis: If Stephen King had written The Time Traveler’s Wife this is what it would have been like.

Read it because: I couldn’t put it down. Thrilling, frightening and utterly compelling. Lauren Beukes is on fine form, I can’t wait to see what she puts out next.

5. Maggie O’Farrell – Instructions for a Heatwave


Date Read: 28th July 2013
Rating:  3 stars

Mini synopsis: A missing father brings all the secrets up to the surface.

Read it because: Maggie O’Farrell has a wonderful gift with words. I’d have given it 4 stars but she has a bit of a noncommittal stance to endings and that bugs me. For the thread that bound them all, Robert felt like a bit of a lost character in the end, which I thought was a shame, but it’s definitely still worth a read.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  •  Making someone laugh unexpectedly
  • Friendships spanning a decade
  • Yellow lilos
  • Holiday countdowns
  • Cinema snacks

See the whole list here

July Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. RR Amor Towles – Rules of Civility [30 for 30]
02. NEW Kim Edwards – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter [30 for 30]
03. RR Berlie Doherty – Tilly Mint & The Dodo [30 for 30]
04. RR Douglas Coupland – Girlfriend in a Coma [30 for 30]
05. RR Toby Litt – Journey Into Space [30 for 30]
06. RR Alice Sebold –  The Lovely Bones [30 for 30]
07. NEW Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex [30 for 30]
08. NEW Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls [30 for 30]
09. RR Douglas Coupland – Life After God [30 for 30]
10. NEW Maggie O’Farrell – Instructions for a Heatwave [30 for 30]
11. RR Stephen Clarke – A Year in the Merde [book club]

This month was the first full month of my 30 for 30 list, and I think I did pretty well at crossing a few of those books off my list. I read four of the books that I’ve been meaning to read forever, and six of my favourite favourites – a nice mix. I would have read more of the new books but, to be fair, the favourites are the ones that I already have on hand.

Of the new books, The Shining Girls was definitely my favourite. Tense, gripping and compelling I finished it in a day and described it to Amy as “A Stephen King version of The Time Traveler’s Wife” which I think is fairly accurate. I was really disappointed in The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – it was insipid and bland and I’m sorry I waited all those years to read it thinking it was going to be good. I enjoyed Middlesex but I feel like I need to re-read it to pick up on the intricacies of the plot.

Of the old books The Lovely Bones was as heart wrenching as ever, Rules of Civility took me back to 1930s New York all over again and the three Douglas Coupland books I read were as enjoyable to read now as they were the first times I picked them up.

We’re going on holiday to Greece for a week in a couple of weeks and my Kindle is already loaded up and ready to go. I can’t wait to have nothing better to do than lie in the shade and read as many books as I can. Bliss.

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 189.

30 for 30: Re-read 30 Favourites – Books 2-6

Posted by in 30 for 30, Books, Projects

This post is an update on my 30 for 30 goal: Re-read 30 of My Favourite BooksSo far I’ve read 6 out of 30.

2. Berlie Doherty – Tilly Mint & The Dodo

Date Read: 6th July 2013
Rating: 4 stars

Mini synopsis: Young girl takes a trip to a mystery island, meets a dodo.

Read it because: It’s one of the books that stuck with me ever since I read it when I was a little girl. Read it to your children, especially.

3. Douglas Coupland – Girlfriend in a Coma


Date Read: 9th July 2013
5 stars

Mini synopsis: The tales of friends struggling to cope with the loss of a friend, watch out for curve balls.

Read it because: It’s wacky but it’s intriguing and beautiful. If you can suspend disbelief for a bit then you’ll probably enjoy it.

4. Toby Litt – Journey Into Space


Date Read: 
Rating: 4 stars

Mini synopsis: Teenagers in space (unlikely to reach their destination) dream about trees on a planet they never saw.

Read it because: Toby Litt is such an intriguing writer. His books are being released alphabetically and each one has been written in a different genre. How many writers can you name who’ve done that?

5. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones


5 stars

Mini synopsis: Murdered girl can’t stop watching her family from heaven. Will her murderer be caught?

Read it because: Oh, just read it. Whatever you’ve heard about it, whether you think you’ll love it or hate it please just read it. But avoid the film like the plague, that thing was a bloody train wreck.

6. Douglas Coupland – Life After God


5 stars

Mini synopsis: Short stories that intertwine about loss of faith, humanity and being alone.

Read it because: Coupland has a beautiful, distinctive writing style. This is a short book, so a great way to dip your toes in to see if he’s your kind of writer. If you love one, you’ll love them all. (See also: Girlfriend in a Coma)

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • A fan on a hot day
  • Dreams of swimming pools
  • Disco balls
  • Writing letters
  • Cool showers

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear summer,

Thank you for making such a  heartfelt appearance this year. I always feel better when the days are long, the nights are warm and we can have as many BBQs as we can squeeze in to our weeks (side note: that’s a lot of BBQs just so you know).

I’ll be sad to see you go this year, you’ve been a good one.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Booking holidays
  • Beautiful books about your hometown
  • Tissue paper pom poms
  • Solar lights
  • Growing something from scratch

See the whole list here

30 for 30: Rules of Civility

Posted by in 30 for 30, Books, Projects

This post is an update on my 30 for 30 goal: Re-read 30 of My Favourite Books.

1. Rules of Civility – Amor Towles

Rating: 5 stars

Mini synopsis: Loves young dream, not meant to be. Glittering high life comes crashing down, yet 1930s New York remains fabulous.

Read it because: It transports you to a world of gin martinis, jazz club dances and sneaking into all manner of soirees.

My favourite quotes:

“Old times, as my father used to say: if you’re not careful, they’ll gut you like a fish.”

“It’s a bit of a cliche to refer to someone as a chameleon: a person who can change his colours from environment to environment. In fact, not one in a million can do that. But there are tens of thousands of butterflies: men and women like Eve with two dramatically different colourings – one which serves to attract and the other which serves to camouflage – and which can be switched at the instant with a flit of the wings.”

“How little imagination and courage we show in our hatred. If we earn 50 cents an hour, we admire the rich and pity the poor, and we reserve the full force of our venom for those who make a penny more or  a penny less.”

“As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion – whether they’re triggered by anger or envy, humiliation or resentment – if the next thing you’re going to say makes you feel better, then it’s probably the wrong thing to say. This is one of the finer maxims that I’ve discovered in life. And you can have it, since it’s been of no use to me.”

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

I inadvertently took a little break from my Grace in Small Things list – not because I stopped noticing them but because I stopped making the time to note them down – oops. Back now!

  • Nectarines for breakfast
  • Dipping your feet in a paddling pool on a hot day
  • BBQs with friends
  • BBQs in general, in fact
  • Our favourite wedding mementos on permanent display

See the whole list here