An Fi50 Reminder and TBR Friday!

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fi50

It’s that time of the month again – Fiction in 50 kicks off on Monday!  To participate, just create  a piece of fiction or poetry in fewer than 51 words and then add your link to the comments of my post on Monday.  For more information, just click on that snazzy typewriter at the top of this post.  Our prompt for this month is…

only certainty

See you there!

TBR Friday

And now it’s time for TBR Friday!  Today’s book is The Art of Purring by David Michie; the sequel to The Dalai Lama’s Cat which I reviewed on the blog a couple of years back.  I think I borrowed the first book from the library and enjoyed it so much that I immediately purchased both it and its sequel…and then, of course, left the second book languishing on my shelf until…well, now.  Let’s kick off with the blurb from Goodreads:

What makes you purr? Of all the questions in the world, this is the most important. It is also the great leveler. Because no matter whether you are a playful kitten or a sedentary senior, a scrawny alley Tom or a sleek-coated uptown girl, whatever your circumstances, you just want to be happy. Not the kind of happy that comes and goes like a can of flaked tuna but an enduring happiness. The deep-down happiness that makes you purr from the heart.     

Before leaving for a teaching tour to America, the Dalai Lama poses a challenge to his beloved feline, HHC (His Holiness’s Cat): to discover the true cause of happiness. Little does she know what adventures this task will bring!     A hair-raising chase through the streets of McLeod Ganj leads to an unexpected revelation about the perils of self-obsession. An encounter with the mystical Yogi Tarchen inspires a breakthrough discovery about her past—one with dramatic implications for us all. And overheard conversations between ivy-league psychologists, high-ranking lamas, and famous writers who congregate at the Himalaya Book Café help her explore the convergence between science and Buddhism on the vital subject of happiness.     Sparkling with wisdom, warmth, and a touch of mischief, The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purringis a charming reminder of why HHC is becoming one of the most-loved cats around the world.So what is the true cause of purring? The Dalai Lama whispers this secret on his return—only for the ears of HHC and those with whom she has a karmic connection . . . that, dear reader, means you!

the art of purring

Ten Second Synopsis:

The Dalai Lama is leaving on a world tour and Rinpoche is left to her own devices.  While gadding about with locals, she discovers nuggets of wisdom to pass on to the reader.

Time on the TBR Shelf:

Since November 4, 2013 – so nearly three years!

Acquired:

Purchased from the Book Depository

Reason I haven’t read it yet:

I knew it would be a gentle sort of a read and more of the same as appeared in the first book so just kept overlooking it in favour of more exciting fare.

Best Bits:

  • The writing is unhurried and episodic, which means it is absolutely perfect for when you want a book that you can dip into before bed, a chapter at a time.
  • Nothing really bad happens, so it isn’t going to give you indigestion or have you up all night worrying about it
  • It is a gentle sort of a book with no preachiness or guilt-inducing exhortations to make your life better.

Less Impressive Bits:

  • I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you haven’t first read The Dalai Lama’s Cat.  You could probably enjoy it without having first read the previous book, but the first book really does have a lot more charm and character than this one.  I feel like this one reads a bit like a refresher course in being the Dalai Lama’s cat.
  • The human characters in this one aren’t as characterful as in the first book – the individual learning curves not as steep and the outcomes not as drastically happiness-inducing

On reflection, was this worth buying?

To be honest I could probably have just borrowed this one from the library.  Annoyingly, in a state of ridiculous generosity, I gave away my copy of The Dalai Lama’s Cat, and now that I have the lesser of the two books with me I wish I hadn’t.  Ah, impermanence!

Where to now for this tome?

I will probably pass it on to someone who will enjoy it.

This is another chink off the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block.

Mount TBR 2016

Until next time,

Bruce

For the kid inside the grown-up suit: Nurturing one’s jaded inner child…and a Fi50 reminder!

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image

Afternoon thrill seekers! Today I’ve got some special picture books to share with you … particularly if you are feeling the weight of the world pressing down upon your worthy and attractively shaped shoulders.  But before that, here’s a reminder for the Fiction in 50 crowd!  Fi50 for March will kick off on Monday and our prompt for this month is:

tiny beautiful button

If you want to join in all you have to do is come up with a piece of fiction or poetry or whatever in 50 words or less then link up to the linky that will be in Monday’s post, or leave your link in the comments.  For more detailed instructions, click on the button at the top of this post.  We had some new faces again last month and it was a lot of fun seeing the creative interpretations of “Love in the Time of….”  So light the fire of those creative cannons and get those powder monkeys working double time!

But on to the picture books….you know what I love? Coming across a book that is clearly written for adults, but is sneakily packaged in picture book format to trick the unwary into thinking that it’s just kid’s stuff.  Today I have two such sneaky tomes of which I’d like to make you aware.  These are definitely for the inner child who has been a bit neglected and downtrodden and needs a bit of solace and support.  Let’s all take a moment to consider our neglected inner child.  Poor little guy. Or girl.  *sniff* Sad book

First off, here’s the poignant, powerful and just plain awesome Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen (obviously) and illustrated by Quentin Blake.  If you have ever suffered from depression or know someone who has, you NEED TO GET THIS BOOK.  It is possibly the most accessible and authentic and user-friendly explanation of the ebb and flow of experience for a person with depression that I’ve ever come across.

In simple and compelling prose, Rosen describes how his behaviour changes when he feels “sad” and how his experiences of grief and loss have contributed to this state of affairs and how sometimes his sadness has nothing to do with anything that he can pinpoint….it just “comes along and finds you”.

The illustrations and colour palette perfectly compliment the tone of the book as it moves from powerlessness to hope.  Get it. Do. You won’t regret it and it may resonate (if you’re beholden to the black dog) or enlighten (if you’re blissfully untouched by such a mental illness).

Next up is a book I happened across at the library and was caught by the intriguinhappily ever afterg title…Happily Ever After is So Once Upon a Time by Yixian Quek and illustrated by Grace Duan Ying.  The beautiful cover art also drew me in and I wanted to know what this book was about.  On reading the first page, in which the narrating little girl asks, “Will Prince Charming and Snow White still love each other after ten years? Does anything ever last?” I decided that I had to find out more.  So the book was duly borrowed to be perused at leisure.

The first half of the book consists of the little girl asking fairly bleak sorts of questions in the same vein as those on the first page.  She questions the hype and hyperbole of the “happily ever after” delusion and in rather depressing fashion, notes that “happiness, like bubbles, burst all too quickly.”

“So why is this a book to nurture one’s already-doing-it-quite-tough inner child, Bruce?” I hear you cajole.  Well, it’s the second half of the book in which things pick up.  After a bit of mournful introspection, the little girl seems to take a turn into a bit of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and decides that happiness is hers to access, provided she has the right mindset.

All up, it’s an odd little concoction, but certainly worth it for the beautiful illustrations alone.

Right then. Enough faffing about with this nurturing business…I suggest you set that inner child to work creating a masterful piece of sensitve, inspiring fiction. In no more than 50 words.

See you on Monday!

(Oh and don’t forget to enter the two giveaways I have running right now. One finishes today so be quick! Click here or here)

Bruce

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