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Lost Sentences

Hacksaw Ridge, 2016 – ★★★½

Since The Passion of the Christ I have come to expect to be challenged by films directed by Mel Gibson. The first half of Hacksaw Ridge lulled me into a false sense of security. We see Desmond Doss tackling the challenges of a childhood with a drunk for a dad, growing into an upstanding member of the community and falling in love. It was hard not to get swept away in the romance of it but I knew war was coming.

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Grace in small things 1/2017

January is a hard month. Coming straight after the fun and frolics of Christmas, it’s dark and cold. And oh so long. This year with despots and appeasers in power January seemed at its darkest, and there’s no sign the lights will be switched back on anytime soon. It seems therefore even more important to take note of the small, everyday things that keep us going.

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Reading goals for 2017

In 2014 I read a pitifully poor number of books – just nine. So, for 2015 I set myself the challenge of reading 12. One a month seemed like a good target. I did it. In fact, by the end of the year I’d read 15.

Always looking to make improvements, I set 15 as my target for 2016. By September I’d reached it and I embarked upon a new reading challenge.

Now we’ve hit 2017, where will my reading goals take me next?


Well, I ended up exceeding my 2016 target by nearly 10 books. For 2017 my goal is 25 – two years ago I could hardly manage one book a month and now I’m looking at trying to fit in two!

I’m pretty confident I can achieve this for a couple of reasons, both relating to how I’ve changed my daily routines to build in more time for reading. Firstly, my partner and I have, for the past few months, been setting our alarm a bit earlier. This allows us to take our time waking up and begin the day with 20-30 minutes of reading. Now that I work freelance for 50% of the week I’m also more flexible with how I spend my working hours. My aim this year is to build in 30-45 minutes of work-related reading into my two days working from home.

The extended reading challenge I set myself towards the end of last year expanded my reading horizons. I read books that I’d been putting off, or was determined I wouldn’t like. What I discovered is that there’s more to my reading interests than historical and crime fiction, and over the years I’ve been missing out by not reading more widely. As a result of this realisation, in 2017 I’m planning to choose my books based only on recommendations. Those recommendations could come from anywhere and will include the titles chosen by my book group, suggestions from any reviews/articles I read, and especially references in other books.

See what I read in 2016 on Goodreads, and find out what’s made it on to my to-read list so far. And if you’ve got any recommendations I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

What I’ll be watching this Christmas

Every year I get asked ‘What are your favourite Christmas films?’ And I’ve never had a satisfactory answer… until now.

After much head scratching, and much discussion, I’ve settled on three films that I could watch every year to give me that festive feeling.

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2016 reading challenge update

In September I extended my annual reading challenge. Not just content with reaching a numerical goal (I’ve now read 16 books this year, my target was 15) but looking to vary my choice of book, and challenge myself to pick up something I might usually avoid.

When I set this new challenge there were gaps in my list. So here’s an update with all categories assigned and another couple checked off. The books in bold are those left to read.

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The Cabin at Seaview

On a recent trip to Skye, inspired by the atmospheric landscape I started writing poetry.

Today, on National Poetry Day, I’ve decided to share my first poem.

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Grace in small things #10

The start of the new academic year and new hockey season is upon us. I’m trying to not let the sudden shift in the pace of life overwhelm me.

To do this, I’m remembering the things that I’ve been grateful for over the last few weeks:

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Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell

Charlotte Brontë published a ‘Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell’ in the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, shortly after both of her sisters had died.

Here she comments on their decision to assume masculine names when first seeking publishers for their writing.

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2016 reading challenge

For 2016 I set myself the challenge of reading 15 books. It may not sound ambitious, but it’s a step up from the number I read last year – 13 (my target was 12).

I find myself in September and I’ve already read 13 books, so I’m well on my way to meeting this year’s target. And hopefully exceeding it. So, taking inspiration from Jo, I’m going to step up my challenge.

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