Read a non-fiction book – challenge No 10


Happy New Year to you all and welcome to 2016, the year I become 50!!  My first blog is going to be about one of my passions….reading.  As a young child reading did not come easy, in fact I struggled (my mum was called into school – such shame for me at the time). We had few books at home but were always encouraged to use the local library.  I never recall my parents reading (except my dad read the paper and devoured the racing pages)  which was hardly surprising as they worked harder and longer hours than I have ever done. I especially dreaded reading aloud and it was not until attending an ‘access to university’ course in my 30’s that I overcame this, discovered my love for literature and went on to take my degree in it…and furthermore I will now bore anyone prepared to give me the chance on books, authors, poetry, folk lore, the issue of boys and reading……blah blah blah…you get the picture.

So this is the interesting thing, I often hear myself saying to people (mainly men) who claim not to be readers….of course you are!!  They read newspapers, journals, instruction manuals, web pages, blogs, maps, biographies, how to… books, gardening books, hobby books etc, etc. Yet consider themselves non-readers as it is not fiction…..complete nonsense.

Yet, ironically, I was unable to reverse this thought and apply it.  I specifically chose for myself the challenge of reading a non-fiction book as I genuinely believed at the time that a lot of my reading was not valid as it was fiction.  How foolish!! Firstly, any reading is valid in its own right, but secondly, until this challenge when I actively considered the matter I was completely unaware of how much non-fiction I currently read.  

  • Recipes in cookery books
  • Poetry (Carol Ann Duffy )
  • Gardening books
  • Memoirs – I adore Diana Athill
  • Art books
  • My meditation book (thank you Neaths)
  • My drum music
  • BBC online news
  • The Brownster’s adventure blog and email swap
  • Facebook and messenger
  • My lovely sister’s brilliant letters
  • and I could even go on!!

So, whilst for this 50@50 challenge I have chosen to read, and am currently reading, Wendy Jones’ Portrait of the artist as a Young Girl ( about Grayson Perry…please see earlier blog for more information on him)…it would appear I could have ticked this one off ages ago.


I am pleased to have challenged my own reading, but sum up that I approached it from the wrong perspective…all reading it good.  I think my overall attitude though still remains very similar to my diet….varied is best but a little bit of what you fancy never hurts either 😄

If you feel inclined I would very much welcome book recommendations, fiction or non-fiction from you, with thanks in advance. 


Read all Agatha Christie Novels – Challenge No 4

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

I believe that doing this blog requires frankness, so here is a tawdry, little known, secret about myself….I used to have a rather unhealthy obsession with John Thaw’s character Inspector Morse!! However, now I am older and wiser, I have ditched that and my new guilty pleasure is Agatha Christie, in particular Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple.  It seemed then so sensible as part of my 50@50 to challenge myself to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels.

I knew ‘The Queen of Crime’ had written a fair bit, but please….who knew it was this much !!!!! (according to an internet source)

  •  78 crime novels
  •   6 other novels
  • 150 short stories
  • 4 non fiction books
  • 19 plays

Well I am now wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew in one year but I am giving it a damned good go.  So far I have read 16 of her novels (Marple and Poirot) and how superior they are to the tv adaptations.  Whilst I was originally drawn by the pure escapism, I am captivated by her turn of phrase, the quality of her writing, character detail and development, sharp wit and of course…thrilling dénouements.  I don’t try to guess who did it, I just enjoy the undulating ride.  

On a more serious note I am also enjoying the physicality of these books as a connection to my late father-in-law, Colin, who had painstakingly collected these old copies and which I was fortunate enough to inherit.  Whilst reading and handling the books he too handled and read I think fond thoughts of him and regret a missed opportunity of discussing our favourites.  

So as usual I will sign off with…these challenges are a great idea and I am having an emotional ball doing them ( so far)…keep dropping in to see what’s next!!!