Monthly Archives: November 2021

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The Book of Two Ways

Candice: Buying some books for my holiday the other month I picked up this. The premise sounded interesting, and a bit different from my usual murder mystery or woman’s romance novel.

There are two strands to the book, which is part of what interested me about the story. The first is a love story, the second a history of Egypt. I’ve always been interested in Egyptology, years ago I was supposed to go to Egypt but couldn’t because a volcanic ash cloud stopped all the flights. I’ve haven’t got there since due to one thing or another but I’d still like to go and see the pyramids one day.

The story follows American Dawn, who was an Egyptologist, highly rated at her University and with future plans to discover new tombs and more history. Her nemesis, is Wyatt, British Aristo, who is fighting to be top dog with her Professor both on the cause and on the dig. While in Egypt the two of them discover that their animosity also breeds passion and they have a tumultuous love hate relationship.

Out of the blue while they are away Dawn receives a call to say her Mother has passed away, leaving her in charge of her much younger brother. She has to leave Egypt and Wyatt and take up a new life at home, looking after her brother and giving up her PhD.

Fifteen years on she is married and a daughter but she just feels like something is missing. She meets a new client though her work as a death doula, someone who helps those terminally ill, who wants to pass a message to her lost love from many years ago. This, plus the suspicion that Dawn has that her husband has been looking elsewhere for attention makes her rethink her old life, and her old love.

On a whim she catches a plane to Egypt and reconnects with Wyatt. Their love has not died and they realise, though all this time has passed they are meant to be together. However, on the flight home the plane crashes and Dawn has to tell her husband and daughter about him, rather sooner than she planned.

The story twists and turns between past and present, Dawn’s earlier interactions with Wyatt and her present day confusion over her marriage and issues with her daughter. Its interspersed with lots of historic Egypt references which add an extra layer to the love story.

Its about following and not giving up on your dreams, even when a long time has passed. I think her job helps to carry the story as it shapes the idea that we could all die tomorrow, and therefore life is to be lived. I really enjoyed it, it stretched my brain a bit more than the usual read.

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Farewell to MY library

Sign

Phil: I went to the library on Monday. Nothing unusual in that you might thing, but I went on a mission.

You see, the library I have known all my life, is closing down. When the doors closed at the end of that day, they would open no more. The walls won’t resound to the sound of children enjoying being read a story. No longer will adults browse the shelves, wondering where the pages of a good book would take them in the next few weeks.

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OK, I’m being maudalin. The library isn’t really closing, it’s moving to a new community hub around the corner. There will be a cafe, multi-puropse sports hall and meeting rooms you can book. Outside there is parking and a children’s playground. It’s next to the shops – pretty much everything our little town can offer all within a few feet.

But I had to go and pay one last visit. I’m sure the new place will be lovely, but it won’t have that airy 1960s feel of the old library. More to the point, it won’t be the one I spent hours chosing my books from as a child.

I know things have to move on. When I borrow books now, they are placed in a machine to book them out to me, something that would have seemed like magic back in the 1970s, and young Phil would have been desperate to have a go with it! No little card wallets nowadays. No librarian stamping the date in the front of each one either. Lot of stamps meant I’d borrowed a popular title, and you also knew when the books were due back, something far easier than logging on to the library website, which is what you have to do now.

Just for old times sake, I wanted to borrow some more books. My reading has been hopeless recently. Maybe the impending fines will make me buck my ideas up a bit.

Books

My choice were a couple of “grown-up” books, becuase they appealed to me. And Five on a treasure island, because when I was a kid, I read all the Famous Five books, mostly from this very library.

I’ll miss the old place. Libraries are the last public spaces you can visit and no-one expects you to hand over money. Books will still be available for loan in the new community hub, that is a very good thing, and I’m sure a new generation will become as nostalgic about it as I am about MY library.

Now, can someone lend me a pile of cash? There’s a nice looking 1960s property coming up for sale nearby, and I think I’d like to live in it. There are even enough book shelves…

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Time for a proper holiday read

Candice: I’ve just come back from a great weeks holiday in the sun. It was great for lots of reasons one of the main ones being it was a proper break for the first time in a long time. I got on an airplane, something that felt very alien compared to two years ago, where it was a twice a year event. I really had to remind myself what to pack and what I needed to remember for the airport, apart from the additional Covid stuff. Thankfully I remembered the clear bag for liquids in your carry on luggage at the last minute!

Arriving in the Canaries was heaven. It wasn’t a ground breaking holiday, I didn’t go and see anything from the seven wonders of the world, I didn’t really do anything but work out one of the many ways to get to the breakfast area, which pool to lie by (there were seven) and what entertainment we were going to watch in the evening. There was a regular visit to the mini disco!

But what it did provide was a chance to wind down, and also read. Due to baggage space I only packed two physical books, but quickly realised that wasn’t going to be enough. Pre-child I would have taken four books on a weeks holiday, but I’ve got into taking less as I don’t usually get so much sunlounger time. Or I would have dived into the hotel library, but with Covid this concept has disappeared.

The first book I read was a Sophie Kinsella – ‘Love Your Life’. She is well known for writing the ‘Shopaholic’ series, which I have to say I am not a big fan of. The main character is a bit too wet. But, as we all are, she has moved on a bit, though her females are still a bit too weak for my liking. The story however was a simple premise that I rattled through pool side and when chilling in my room. A quick synopsis of the story is two characters meet on a writing retreat where they are asked to stay anonymous. They fall in love. When they get home they are not the people they thought they were. But love wins out. Along the way there are some funny scenarios but also some comments on relationships, communication and compromise which struck as chord,

Having finished book 1 I got concerned. It was only three days into the holiday. Before we’d left I’d signed up to Kindle Unlimited so I had a moment of inspiration and downloaded some books on to my phone. But I also wound down more, and just got into the habit of people watching and relaxing, so less reading needed. By the time I came back I’d half read two other books (one Kindle one paper as you can’t read a phone screen in the sun) both of which I am finishing off now.

It was lovely to had some time for back to back reading, something I don’t get to do so much at home. Though I have to say since I’ve been home, with the dark nights now starting I have been picking up a book when I finish work rather than turning on the TV for a post work wind down, and it feels good.

Holding on to that holiday vibe as long as I can, and planning to book the next one asap!

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