Tag Archives: reading

Doggy Buddy Reader

Our local Public Library has an extensive summer reading programme on offer to children in our city.

One delightful event is the chance to read to Koko, a beautiful and well-trained, 7 year old Retriever.
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Koko is also a Pet Therapy dog and regularly visits the Rehabilitation wards in our local hospital with her owner.
I was keen to go along and observe such a special occasion. Dogs are incredibly good listeners and Koko was right in tune with the youngsters who sat near her and read books to her.
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Apparently dogs are used in some primary schools to encourage reluctant readers to practice their reading skills with a gentle, non-judgemental, no-fail audience.

Koko’s owner was happy to share lots of information about Koko and her breed and to demonstrate how well trained Koko is.

Koko will be back for more Buddy reading next week.

“The Colour of Food. A memoir of life, love and dinner” by Anne Else

“The Colour of Food” by Anne Else is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in 2014. Its popularity was indicated by the wait I had until the local Library copy became available to me. I see on the cover of this easy to hold book, that it is already an International EBook bestseller.
I love adopting a comfy reading position, holding a book, turning the pages and referring back and forth amongst the contents with ease and at a pace that suits me.
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From the first chapter I was hooked. I particularly enjoyed reading of Anne’s many and varied experiences of eating food as a child, as a new, young wife struggling to learn the tricks and art of cooking and then how being exposed to different cuisines from around the world her love of food and cooking developed and grew into a passion and a pleasure. The internet now allows her to share her creativity and pleasure with food via her blog:

At times the experiences she describes around love are very intimate and evoke emotions across the spectrum. There were many times as I was reading when I would pause and reflect on my own life and experiences, as signposts in her words touched me or pointed me back to a link in my past.

I follow Anne’s personal blog and her life without her beloved Harvey so some parts of this book already felt familiar. I also have Harvey McQueen’s “This piece of earth” on my bookshelf which meant I already knew of their special love and companionship and some of their enjoyment of food and cooking together. This familiarity certainly enriched my reading of this memoir.

So much social history is detailed in this book and when I look at my late mother’s recipe books which contain many of her mother’s recipes it is obvious that food provides a rich feast of detail on how we live our lives and how life changes. From my own experience I can well remember the advent of Kai Si Ming ( really mince with a stack of sliced cabbage and a packet of chicken noodle soup stirred through it, but a new idea in Mum’s kitchen) and Coleslaw! Cabbage had always been cooked to a very unappetising gooey mass before shredded raw cabbage came into vogue.

So reading this book was a treat, in a way food should be, and it was a surprise when I turned the final page to find the memoir’s end. As all good books do, it left me with questions unanswered and plenty to reflect on especially around what constitutes “women’s work” and our need to be creative, while also using our education, training and skills. I’ve spent time since finishing the memoir considering the many and varied aspects that food and the preparation and serving of it play in our social, emotional and psychological lives.

And like a very good meal this book left me wanting more. For good measure Anne includes 24 recipes to sample, ranging from very simple to exotic, but with her guiding hand all very achievable. And to tempt readers further she has included two lists of books which have inspired her. These include Memoirs and Recipe books.

I’ve already jotted down her “Fresh Courgette Salad” recipe as I watch the first small courgettes ripen on my plant. Yum!

“Love at the end of the road” by Rae Roadley

The interesting play on words in this book’s title and the name of the author drew my attention recently in the library.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I found it hard to put down at times.

I love peoples’ stories, how they grow in life, what makes people tick and this all forms a good deal of this book as Rae documents her evolving relationship with Rex.

But there is so much more in this book that held my attention. Rae cleverly intertwines the history of the area in which she lives. The Kaipara is steeped in history both pre- European and since European settlement. Family history abounds and again Rae cleverly links the people she meets and is surrounded by in her life, back to past generations and their lives. The family trees in Appendix one are very useful reference points to assist the reader with the detail and intricate connections Rae writes about.

I’m a “townie”, just as Rae once was, so I found her stories and experiences learning about rural life entertaining, informative and amusing. I think she adapted to the life remarkably well and in ways I would not have done.

But the house she comes to live in with Rex, at the end of the road, is not just a very old, now historic house, which is in a rural location. It also sits on the edge of the Kaipara harbour and alongside the Otamatea River. Naturally there is a wealth of history and activity to be mined from these important waterways, all of which enriched my understanding of an environment very different from anything within my experience.

The book is packed with colourful characters, both human and animal. In typical rural New Zealand fashion there are endless anecdotes around food and a sprinkling of never fail recipes included in the book.

The photography and illustrations provide visual impact and information.

It is a rich, well researched and well referenced read. I came away having learnt a lot about people and how they tick and how lives and ways of living can be so very, very different. Rae’s book has piqued my interest in, one day, visiting this beautiful part of my lovely country.

You can visit Rae’s website here and she blogs as well.

Sunday Quote: Alan Bennett on reading

The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. – Alan Bennett

Ann Lamott on Books

I’ve had a week that has taken me away from blogging and even from reading very much but here is a quote that I want to share today because I love books and all they offer to me:

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. – Anne Lamott

Autumn scatterings

I planned a day at home, taking it easy and the autumn weather has meant it was a good decision and an easy option. It has been dark, cloudy, very gusty and the autumn leaves have been scattering.

So what have been the scattering of activities of my day?

A prayer and good wishes to the people of Christchurch early this morning as I learnt that two nasty aftershocks had rocked that ravaged city early this morning. One shock was large enough to cause a brief power outage. I wish those tired, stressed people so much peace.

Humming Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi” which we learnt at singing last night.

Monitoring PG, the cat to determine his intake and output. The vet was happy today to let him track on in the hope that the extra fluid interventions he has had on Monday and Tuesday this week had helped him regain his appetite. More monitoring is required just in case he needs another sub-cutaneous bolus of fluid tomorrow.

Watching more tree felling happening in our neighbour’s backyard.

Finishing a small knitted toy and trying to embroider a face on said toy……more practice needed on that skill, but the end result is good enough.

Hearing on the radio that it is 25 years since Paul Simons’ “Graceland” album was released and singing along to some of the familiar tracks off that.

More synchronicities found in the blogosphere as I find links between several blogs that I enjoy reading and one written by a woman who taught me my first computer skills way back in the late 80’s. The course was called “Computer Confidence for Women” and was nothing short of brilliant.

Collecting two books from the library which look particularly interesting for where I find myself these days.

And I took a few photos in my garden this afternoon but for some reason WordPress is not playing the upload game right now and I need to go and prepare some dinner…..

Nice day……