Saturday, 16 June 2012

Book Review: The Cellist of Sarajevo

I have a lot of reading time these days. With an hour long train ride each way between work and home I get through books quicker than ever. This one is a gem.

Brief overview: The Cellist of Sarajevo is set over a period of about a month, in Sarajevo, during the Bosnian civil war. A bakery is bombed and twenty two people queueing for bread are killed. The cellist of the title happens to be watching from his window as this happens and decides to play Albinoni's 'Adagio' in memory of victims - in spot they were killed every day for twenty two days. Also in the city are three other characters, all trapped by the siege in their own ways and all facing their own challenges.

The story is told from the point of view of each of these three people. We see their struggles to not only survive the war but also to save a part of who they were before it.

My thoughts: Excellent. I felt the tension and indecision as the characters had to choose their moment to cross an alley where a sniper may or may not shoot at them. When they were encouraged and uplifted for a brief time by the cellist's performance I felt their relief. And when they wavered between survival and doing "the right thing" in a situation where right and wrong are so difficult to distinguish, I wondered what I would do.

One thing that struck me was the fragility of life in peace time. Some of the characters thought back on when the siege was imminent - they'd dismissed it. Surely it wouldn't come to that. Surely the world would intervene. And yet, here they were risking their lives to buy food at vastly inflated prices, walking through dangerous territory to collect water - living in a war zone.

I love a book that challenges me. The writing is good, but not so complex it gave me a headache to read. And the Bosnian conflict is not one you find often in literature so it was good to learn more about it.

Have you read it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Also: more book reviews.
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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Writers' Spaces

Beatrix Potter's cottage in the Lake District - source
Dylan Thomas' boat house - source
Vita Sackville-West's writing room at Sissinghurst Castle - source
The Huffington Post featured a great article and slideshow showcasing some of the writing spaces and homes of literary greats. And here's a bonus via Jane Austen's House Museum, because what literary collection is complete without her?
Jane Austen's bedroom
Also: find out which Jane Austen book comes in my top five. Which is your favourite?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

New Shoots

I've been thinking about writing here again for a while now. In the back of my mind new thoughts and posts have been stirred up and then have resettled. So here I am again.

I thought about starting a new blog, a blank slate to write on. But then I came back here and it felt like my corner of the internet. Maybe not exactly as I want it yet but absolutely packed with things I love and enjoy.

I'm writing from my desk at work. Since I last wrote we moved to a new house, our own little corner of the world, with a garden. The house is gradually filling with photos and our lives and the garden with plants. I started a new job in the new year of 2011 and now that job is not so new. I've read books (good and bad), cooked, taken photographs, painted pictures, visited new places.

And now, maybe I'll start writing about these things again. We'll see.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Snapshots of Ely

A few reasons Ely has made it onto my list of favourite places...

{The cathedral.}

{The cathedral.}

{Horses in the middle of the city.}

{Blue letterbox.}

{Peacocks Tearoom.}

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Blogging has been slipping away from me recently. I get annoyed when people talk about how busy they are. The truth is you will find time for the things that are important to you. You will grab the moments to blog if that is what you love. And I have a confession. I like blogging. I don't love it.

I have been finding time for the things I love lately. Spending time with family, working hard at my jobs, trying new recipes. Spending time with T and our friends. Planning adventures and being creative.

I've also been finding time for the things that are important to us. I don't love them, but they matter to me. Looking for jobs and round houses are the main ones.

So I will be back every now and again, and maybe in a few days, weeks, months, I will want to find the time for blogging. But until then - I'm busy doing what I love. And I hope you are too.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Cornwall Round-Up

We're heading off on holiday again this weekend so I decided it was time to round-up the last one. We spent a beautiful week on the gorgeous south coast of England.

{Deer park and gardens.}

{An old church.}

{A walk in the countryside.}

Saturday, 14 August 2010


Can you guess what T gave me for our anniversary?

{Sewing fun.}

We had a lovely evening just the two of us. I made good use of my Good Food magazine and cooked pork chops with potato slices and caramelised carrots and onions. We ate with flowers on the table and the windowsil, and then snuggled down on the sofa with dessert and a film.

{Dessert, dinner, flowers.}

{Last year - Paper-iversary}.


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