Sunday, June 25, 2023

Speeding Along and Going Nowhere

 The other day, as we were nearing the end of another week, Bill mentioned that time seems to be speeding by. I agreed that the weeks seemed to be zipping by, but that somehow June felt endless. It feels like it's been June forever. Indeed, I am sometimes astonished when I remind myself that it is still June, because surely it has been June for several months already! It's been warmer than usual this June--could be the warmest on record by the time (or if) we ever reach the end, according to Met Eireann. We had a couple of weeks where the temperature was around 80F, which is hot for here. I have been knocked back by this. I always have issues in summer, but usually they come on gradually and build up over time. Not this year. I went through a week or 10 days of not being able to get to sleep until after 5 am. Combined with stomach upset, headaches, achiness, a clogged head, sore throat, and other things, there were days when I was just doing the bare minimum. Once I was able to get a little more sleep, I could function slightly better. I'm used to having all these issues in summer, but not so early or at such an intensity. Things are more manageable, at least for now, so I am taking it as it comes.

One thing that provided me with some smiles during this time was Lennnie the Blob. I had never heard of Lennnie until someone from HarperCollins UK contacted me and asked if I would like a copy of Lennnie's book. I accepted and several weeks later, just as I was starting to be assaulted by summer, the postman delivered Lennnie. It was perfect timing! 

Lennnie has some wise words for all of us. They made me laugh out loud at times and this was most welcome under the circumstances. In addition to the words of wisdom, the artwork is fun and endearing. This is a book to revisit from time to time, during moments of ease or times of discomfort. Lennnie and their friends have an uplifting, encouraging, and positive attitude that doesn't get sappy or saccharine. This is a great little book and I thank HarperCollinsUK for sending me a copy. Lennnie can also be found on various social media platforms.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Twelve Words for Moss by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

 Twelve Words for Moss
by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
ISBN 9780241556832
Penguin Press UK – Allen Lane, Particular, Pelican, Penguin Classics, Allen Lane

I loved this beautiful book--the subject matter, the writing, the structure, and the personal insights. 

The author is grieving the loss of her father and finds hope in the way moss grows, thrives, and survives, even under harsh conditions. She finds comfort in her pursuit of knowledge about mosses. She revels in the times she can spend in the natural world, but since she is forced to be in a city for work much of the time, she is able to look for and observe the mosses growing in the urban environment she inhabits. She says that in times of grief or other hard times, a friend found it helpful to focus on small details to "block out the bigger picture." For her, mosses serve this purpose as well as providing a focal point from which she can explore various other aspects of her life and history, as well as that of her ancestors. She finds connections with her mother's experiences growing up in Kenya, for example.

The book is written/structured in an interesting and very effective way. There are short poems about specific kinds of mosses, but also prose sections. Nestled within these sections are rhyming sentences that form mini-poems within the prose. 

Being a fan of moss myself, I enjoyed reading about it and how it grows. I will have even more respect for it now that I have read this book. Beyond that, this is jsimply a lovely book to read. The descriptions of the moss, the insights the author gains through her close observations, the gorgeous writing, the mini-poems within the prose, and the foundation of hope the author finds--each strand weaves together into a whole cloth that is full of colour, vibrancy, and beauty. 

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. I thank them, the publisher, and the author.