Welcome to my new weekly list of things I have been reading, watching and listening to over the past week. If you have any recommendations please do link to them in the comments and share with everyone else. I’d love some new places to explore!
Without further ado…
This week I finished Yellow Face by Rebecca F Kuang. I really enjoy her writing, having read the Poppy Wars and Babel last month. Usually her books grip me from the very beginning but I often feel a little let down by the ending. Not that the endings are bad, more that the book seems to finish too early, like she lost momentum and the story’s ending trickled out. Yellow Face was the complete opposite. Whilst I enjoyed it from the very start, I wasn’t immediately gripped like I was with her other books. However, Yellow Face grew its drama from start to finish. The ending in this book was much stronger and absolutely led me to wanting more. Her protagonist should have been unlikeable and unrelatable and yet, as the book goes on I found her growing on me as I began to understand her more. Kuang created a many layered character and, by the end of the book, had managed to strip her back to her very core. I really recommend!
I’m almost at the end of How To Get To The Top Of Google by Tim Cameron-Kitchen which has been a huge learning experience for me! I’ve been blogging for ten years. I love writing and I know I have lots of loyal readers (thank you lovely people!) but I am still as clueless as I was ten years ago about SEO and the like. I’ve come away with a few small ideas which I may apply to my blog in the future, but I have to admit to feeling overwhelmed. I have almost 2000 posts on my blog and there needs to be some sort of logical progression through the sitemap of my website for google to make sense of it (or something like that). I generally do better these day linking similar posts together but in the old days I was naff at stuff like that. But 2000 posts are a lot of posts to organise…
One website I have been enjoying is Pick Up Limes. I am not a huge meat-eater and would love to go veggie one day. I was a vegetarian for years before I married Gary, but laziness and Gary’s love of meat made me turn back to being a meat eater. I enjoy Nadia’s videos and particularly like her attitude towards food and nutrition. High cholesterol runs in our family and I think cutting out animal produce might help with that so long as I manage to keep all the rubbish out of my body too… I have a new goal of learning to cook one vegan meal a week. I have a couple of children who will be very excited to hear this and will be happy to join me in vegan heaven, although one of them is still growing so I think I’d prefer she ate animal products for a year or two more until I become proficient at creating nutritious vegan meals.
I have been watching The Great British Bake Off whilst painting my next watercolour. I watch one episode and then go and do something around the house, then come back and watch the next episode. My days have taken on a melodic rhythm which is both productive and relaxing, and best of all slow and unpressured. Love it!
It will surprise no-one that I have been watching YouTube videos about Kindle Direct Publishing. I have been particularly enjoying Project Rich Mum, a single mum in the UK trying to create multiple passive income streams. She has lots of good advice for those trying to self-publish and sell their books through KDP. I’ve also been enjoying The Home Boss, which was recommended to me.
As mentioned above, I watch Nadia’s Pick Up Limes YouTube channel. I’m hoping this and website will help me learn how to cook healthy vegan food.
A couple of smaller channels I follow and watch in a rather ad hoc way (by this I mean I go through periods of enjoying them and then leave them for a while and picking them up again…). Quiet in the Land is a beautiful channel which I watch and rewatch whenever I fancy some Godly home-based content and Mimimoo Illustration is a lovely channel based on one successful illustrator’s journey carving out a living full-time.
I LOVE my Audibles membership! Seriously! I listen to something (often Elizabeth Elliot but not always) when I go for a walk with Harv each morning. When I’m painting…cooking…relaxing…cleaning… Every evening when I have a bath, and then sit on my rocking chair in the dark in the bathroom. And for half an hour before I go to sleep…Oh, and when I’m making my not very (yet) successful YouTube videos.
My goal is to read 100 books this year and I am almost half way there, helped massively by the number of books I listen to. I don’t always have time to simply read (although I do that as well!) but listening to a book means I can also do mindless activities alongside.
This week, aside from some Elizabeth Elliot teaching podcasts, I am in the depths of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I say in the depths because this is no short read. As an audible it is over 24 hours long! I have 11 hours and 30 minutes left. It is so unusual and is kind of split into different books within a book, with the continuation of the story being told from the perspective of a different person (so each ‘book’ within the main book is told by a different person). I’m really enjoying it! In fact, I’ve been listening to it on my walks with Harvey. I must say, it’s a little disconcerting to be walking in the depths of the woodland and listening to what is known as one of the first of its kind in the thriller genre! A little spooky to say the least!
I’ve also begun listening to The Bestseller Experiment. This podcast by Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux, affectionately known as the ‘Two Marks’ is so interesting. I started with the episode about KDP (episode 20) and enjoyed it so much I went right back to the beginning to listen to all the talks. They are on episode 461 so I have a lot of listening ahead of me!
Hopefully I have given you some ideas for your weekend when you have a quiet minute or two which you’d like to fill. If you have any recommendations, or if you have a channel or book or website yourself, please do leave them in the comments. I promise to check out each and every one, and you never know, they might end up in next week’s list!