Category Archives: Life

Should you judge a book by its size? AKA: Does size really matter?

A Kindle and a pile of books

So, I have started reading and am really enjoying Dominion by CJ Sansom, but there is one thing that I am struggling with. See, for a while now I have been resorting to “Old School” reading aka, buying paper instead of electronic, but I am really wishing that I had gone the electronic route with the book. It’s a whopper! So much so that it barely fits into my handbag in the morning, and it adds a load of weight to one shoulder (picture a 40-something woman sloped to one side while walking to get the bus, and that’s just about right, lol). It’s 717 pages in length & measures: 19 x 13 x 5 cm – 5cm thick!!

Then there’s the problem with holding it to read. I don’t have overly small hands, but I find it difficult to hold this book to read. It’s the kind of book that needs to be sat on a desk to read, which in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a) I don’t have a desk, except at work & I suspect that my boss would frown upon me sitting at said desk to read while I am actually meant to be working, and b) I usually read, as previously mentioned in another post, whilst sitting on the bus for 30-40 minutes on the journey to and from work. So, since I am finding this book hard to hold it has meant that on several occasions I have chosen to stare out the window, or cat nap rather than read. Not good! Also, I sometimes suffer from a pinched nerve in my left wrist, which I have self diagnosed as a repetitive strain injury, and reading/holding Dominion has aggravated this as

So, when does a paperback book become too big? Is there such a thing as too big? Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that this particular book is exactly as long as it needs to be, but maybe there was another way of doing this? How do the publishers decide on what format a paperback is going to be in? I realise that this last sentence doesn’t make much sense to anyone but me, but what I am trying to say is, couldn’t they have gone with one of those paperbacks that are larger than a standard paperback? Like this: (apologies, this was the best example I could find)Different size

The larger size book would have meant more words per page, therefore less pages needed, therefore thinner book. To all you authors out there, have you ever seen one of your books and thought “oh boy, that’s sorta big.”

…Surely I cannot be the only one who finds chunky books hard to read?






by | February 16, 2014 · 10:56 pm

Hi! Remember me?

It has been 248 days since I last wrote a post here on this blog. Wow, really? 248 days? Holy crap. Where has the time gone?

Well, the time certainly hasn’t been spent avoiding books, quite the opposite, really. I’ve read (at a quick estimate) 20+ books in that time, but for some reason I just could not face taking the time to sit here at my computer & write about it. It wasn’t a case of writer’s block, not really. I just couldn’t be bothered. There, I’ve said it! For some reason writing this blog became an act of drudgery, something I dreaded on a weekly basis. I didn’t want to stop writing, but for a while I kept comparing what I was doing to all the other successful book blogs out there & that made me start to wonder why I was bothering, which then became the drudgery.

So, unintentionally (or maybe not?) I started staying away. The reading continued, but the writing stopped. I made excuses to myself, told myself that I needed to expand my reader base by getting someone else to write posts, someone who reads different things that I do – maybe YA would do the trick? So, I enlisted the help of my nephew, but it’s hard to encourage someone else who’s new to blogging when you really aren’t that enthusiastic yourself. So, 248 days has passed & I keep thinking about this place & about the reasons I started this in the first place. It was for me. As a record of the books I was reading, as a way of keeping a journal of the thoughts & feelings that by books were invoking. Somewhere along the way that all got lost. Lost in the competition to get noticed, to have people find (and like) my little piece of the bloggosphere.

Now, I won’t lie & say that I don’t still want people to find this blog, think it’s a nice little place to come to see some interesting books & see what I thought about them, cause I do. Only, now it matters a lot less than before. Before I go to the point that I was more concerned with the stats than the real reason I was blogging. So, now its back to the beginning. Back to writing (and reading) for me, and if people find me, then great. If they don’t, then I’m ok with that too. I’ll still be doing reviews of books from authors, but they will be few & far between.

So, Happy New Year & here’s to a book-filled year!

Ceinwenn xx




by | January 1, 2014 · 3:06 am

The Conquest of Canada by James & Netta Windle

So, a few weeks ago I was clearing out my emails at work & I came across an email from Mr. Windle, who I have had a couple work related encounters & I happened to notice a link at the bottom of his email, which when I clicked it took me to Lulu – a book self publishing company. There I found The Conquest of Canada, which I immediately bought, then uploaded to Thor (my kindle, in case you didn’t know that). My first regret is that I did upload it to Thor because it was sooo difficult to read! See, it is a PDF document, not a kindle file, so the print was about 1/4 the size of what is written here & even with my glasses I found it very difficult to read, especially first thing in the morning.

The Conquest of Canada is a travel journal of the trip that James & Netta Windle took to Canada in September 2007. They flew to Vancouver, where they spent about a week before heading into Alberta, then getting the train across the country to Toronto, then onward to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, then back to Quebec before flying home to the UK.

Like all my other books I have read of late, I read The Conquest of Canada while on the bus, traveling to & from work. When I started out I was really excited to read what Mr. Windle & his wife thought of Canada, never dreaming they would have anything but a good time & a positive experience. Only, they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were positive experiences that they had, but as I read, I found myself initially doubting what they had written could possibly have happened, then that doubt was replaced by horror at the behaviour of my fellow Canadians. I was shocked to read that Mr. Windle had been warned that Canada was not a very tourist friendly country. That’s something I have never heard in my life! I know loads of people who have traveled to Canada & they all had nothing but good things to say – raving about what a beautiful country Canada is & how friendly & wonderful the people are.

A couple times in the journal the Windles wrote about how the most friendly person they met was the car rental person in BC – who was not from Canada originally. They also said something that really baffled me, which was that when Canadians are asked a question they only answer the question as it was asked, with no elaboration. As in, ask a Canadian if they know the time & the answer would be “Yes”, and nothing more. Seriously? Have I never seen this because I am Canadian & I am used to it? I don’t think so, and I am pretty sure I have never experienced it. If I had I would have thought that person was incredibly rude & I have no recollection of anything like that in my home country.

I found some of their comments about the B&B’s they stayed in to be pretty snide & some of them were pretty mean, too. I have to admit that I didn’t like the comparisons to how things are versus the UK. I’m sorry, but Canada, even though it is a member of the British Commonwealth, it isn’t the UK. It is a different country, with different customs, a different way of doing things, and different people. In other words, it isn’t England or the UK. So, I was annoyed by the constant comments about how different mobile phone service was, how the food wasn’t the same/as good as the UK, the references to how the service they received was worse than anything they received in the UK, etc. That said, I loved following the Windles across Canada, with their stops in places that are so familiar & beloved to me (Banff, Toronto, Calgary, Montréal, Saint John (my home town), Nova Scotia & Northern New Brunswick.

What I wish more than anything though is that I could have met the Windle family before their Conquest of Canada – I know a million better places they could have gone, things they could have done, things they could have seen!

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by | April 18, 2013 · 9:20 pm

A change is coming!

I have been thinking for a fairly long while now that I might broaden my reading base, i.e; add a genre or two to what I already read – like YA. Only, I am not interested in YA, and don’t even get me started on the whole zombie/vampire thing. Classic literature bores me (is that bad?) & well, the thing is, I like what I like & I don’t really have a desire to change what I read – it just seems like a good idea. Maybe then my broadened reading would also broaden my reader base on here, right?

And then I had a great idea! Why not rope invite someone who has different reading tastes to mine to start writing for the blog? And I knew just the person! He’s 15 (yesterday), a voracious reader & a pretty cool kid*. He was the perfect choice! So, last night I asked him what he thought about the whole idea & he thought it was great. So now I just have to set him up as an author, take him on a tour of the blog & blogging, then soon we should have some new posts about different kinds of books (most likely ones I wouldn’t consider reading in say, ever!). He’s chosen a name (no real names here, please!), but I can’t remember what it is (must call him & ask, lol) and I am sure has a list longer than his arm of books he has read that he will want to talk about. So, I hope that if you are reading this you will welcome him once he’s settled in!

*See, I can call him a Kid & get away with it because I’m his aunt!


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by | April 17, 2013 · 8:01 pm

YMCA Sleep Easy 2013 ~ a non book post

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On Friday night I took part in the YMCA Central Herts’ Sleep Easy, with 5 of my work colleagues. The aim is that people sign up to raise money & awareness & spend the night sleeping on the street, so that others don’t have to. The above photos are some of the ones I took through the course of the evening.

We arrived at the Galleria in Hatfield shortly after 7 & part of our team were already setting up our camp for the night. We decided to set up a group of boxes, one for each of us, but then figured that the boxes were big enough for some of us to share, which would increase the volume of body heat two fold. The first 2 hours we were all there was used to create & decorate our box homes, in the hope of winning some prizes. Our team decorated our boxes with a luau or tiki hut theme, complete with fairy lights. Around us we had a Paddington, a Thomas the Tank Engine, Finding Nemo, a Dog bed, a cardboard tent & a few others I can’t remember. After the judging of the boxes we had time for some Zumba to keep warm & then some games for fun. After the games we set out to sort out our sleeping arrangements, and people started settling in for the night.

I started the night wearing 2 layers, with 3 more in my bag, but I was really hoping I wasn’t going to need them. I did! By the time we all crawled into our boxes & sorted out our sleeping bags/blankets the reality of the situation was starting to sink in with me. All my friends had been telling me how brave or how crazy I was for doing this, telling me all of the things that were/could go wrong, how cold I would be, the risk I was putting myself at, etc & now it was starting to feel real & more than a little bit scary. The area we were doing the sleep out was on a very public route, where loads of people – drunk people – were destined to pass on their way home from the clubs. What would happen when they discovered us? Then there was the cold. Sure, we had our layers & our sleeping bags & our cardboard boxes, but we were bound to feel the cold, right? Add onto that the discomfort of sleeping on tarmac – well, I guess that was the point, really. We were supposed to be cold, scared & uncomfortable. And I was.

Shortly after midnight we crawled into our sleeping bags (wearing 4 layers) & tried in vain to get comfortable. I settled in with a bit of a heavy heart because I was tired, but I knew I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep, not because of the cold, but because it was too light & far too noisy. We were under a lit canopy, with a very well lit building straight across from us – which the people from the Y told us would not be going out all night. Behind us is one of the main roads through Hatfield, the A1M & there were semi trucks zooming up & down the road constantly, with no sign of let up. The funny thing was that in the hotel, before we went to the Sleep Easy site they made fun of me for bringing a book, but I sure was glad I had one now!

The first hour or so was pretty easy, just lying there listening to the traffic & the people around us talking (wishing they would shut up, so we could try to sleep!), then the muscle cramps started. My legs were cramping like crazy, my sleeping bag didn’t zip up & there was a draught that I couldn’t seem to eradicate. By now I wasn’t very comfortable & was starting to get a little worried. We tossed & turned trying in vain to get comfortable, now having a better understanding of what it must be like to be homeless & have to sleep rough. My hat kept sliding off my head, my pants kept riding up my right leg, making me cold & those stupid people just wouldn’t shut up!

Then the clubs let out for the night & things got a little hairy. A group of drunken lads arrived. They screamed at us, one of them kicked one of the boxes someone was sleeping in a few times. They were so loud & threatening – just their presence that late at night & as drunk as they were made me fear for my safety. To me, they seemed determined to cause chaos, and they made me afraid – now I really knew what it must be like to be asleep on the street. It was scary & I didn’t like it. Around 04:30 I gave up trying to sleep & made my way to the refreshment table to make myself a cup of tea, with lots of sugar. I decided to spend the rest of my night huddled in my sleeping bag, thinking about the temporary situation I was in & being so thankful that it was only temporary. I tried to read, but I was too tired, hungry & cold. Soon the night came to an end & everyone began to stir, then we began to tear down our little cardboard city, with most people lost in thought of what they had just done.

I learned a lot about myself that night & I think my empathy toward homelessness increased 1000 fold. I think I was pretty brave, but I was only out there for one night. Would I have been able to cope if it had been for real? I’m not sure & I hope I never have to find out!

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by | March 3, 2013 · 8:01 pm