Sunday, December 18, 2011

Books read in November

 In no particular order, the slightly eclectic (eccentric?) range of books I got through in November.

The living garden: a place that works with nature by Jane Powers.
This was part of my leaving present from the old job. I read it once over the summer, then read it again! It has a nice, chatty style, with titbits about plants interspersed, with more detail at the end where there are suggestions for planting for different seasons and types of soil. It's a good read, and a great book for dipping into at the end of the day.

Love wins by Rob Bell.
This one's attracted a lot of controversy, but I suspect from people who haven't actually read it. The style is a little annoying - lots of tiny paragraphs with big spaces inbetween in quite a big font, as is the questioning tone, but it doesn't actually say the things it's been accused of (heresy, for instance). It is good for making you stop and think, which is probably what's scared some people away from it? Should be compulsory reading for hellfire-and-damnation-style preachers everywhere, but they'd probably spontaneously combust...

The good parents by Joan London
This was a random choice from the "quick picks" selection by the issue terminal in the library. It follows Maya, an 18 year old Australian, who disappears following the death of her boss' wife. And it also follows her parents search for her, which takes them back through significant parts of their lives. I found it very compelling. One of those books when you actively look forward to the commute as you want to read some more of it. It was also nice to read a book that wasn't set in either Britain or America! There are some incredibly evocative descriptions of the country. I hadn't read anything by Joan London before, but I've now reserved Gilgamesh from the library.

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
This seemed to be compulsory commuting reading for a while - everyone (who's female) was reading it on the train! The title also mystified the OH, who pointed out that he thought I'd already know how to be a woman. She didn't say anything I didn't know already, and some of the assumptions were a bit annoying (no, I've never liked wearing heels, unlike apparently most women, surely that's not true? No, I haven't been planning my wedding since I was a toddler) but I liked the way she told things. Some parts are particularly graphic - which did nearly give me the giggles on the train as I wondered how many of the Very Serious Looking other commuters reading the same book were reading the same section...

Give me time by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development
As the new job is a lot busier than the old one (where we actually had time to stop and have a tea break at 11 and 4 every day, complete with giant teapot) I thought I'd get something from the library at work about time management. This one is quite easy to dip in and out of, and also up to date (the first one I got out had been published in 2000 and felt the need to explain what email is (!?!?!) and thought the answer to all your problems was a fax machine). There are some very sensible parts of it - working out what aspects of your job (or your life) you can change and what you don't have control over, as well as working out what times of the day you function best, and then planning your time around that. It sounds obvious but I hadn't stopped to think about how the flexi-time in the new job helps me with this. I now work earlyish hours (usually around 8.30 - 4.30) whereas some of my colleagues work 10 - 6, or 8 - 4. It's made me stop bombarding them with questions at 10 when they arrive for work (because they're barely awake) but has also given me ammunition when someone suggests that 4.30 is a great time for a meeting... Apparently delegating is also key, although I suspect this is less easy if you're at home without anyone to delegate to?!

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