The Year in Books: May


It’s all been in the mind this month…

There have been two reading highlights for me this month, one pure escapist fiction, the other not fiction at all, both have given me and my imagination a great deal of pleasure. Fiction first…

The Good Knight Sarah Woodbury

This was another Kindle late night purchase. The reviews said it would appeal to Cadfael lovers and I was ready for a mix of history, mystery and a light touch of romance.

So, it’s set in Wales in the 1140’s, a similar time period to the Cadfael novels, and the hero and heroine – Gareth and Gwen are out to solve a murder mystery, but I’m not sure that’s enough similarity to endear it to Cadfael aficionados. I’m a huge fan of Ellis Peters and I don’t think we’re on the same page as far as literary style goes – but and it’s a big but, despite the sometimes awkward Americanisms that crop up, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. (Let’s put it this way, if you liked the film A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger, with its modern speech and soundtrack, then this book won’t offend – if you prefer your history more in period, it will probably annoy you).

Anyway, this is all a bit beside the point, because what kept me up reading wasn’t the plot, but one of the characters, Prince Hywel. I managed to fall in love with him! Fancy that, a middle-aged woman going gooey over a character in a book. Just goes to show what the brain is capable of given the right stimulus.

Needless to say, I’m already reading the next in the series…

My other favourite for May, was unexpected. It was…

Sane New World: Taming the MindRuby Wax

This is really an exploration of depression and her views as a sufferer on ways to treat it.

I came to mindfulness and meditation via a different route to Ruby, a much more esoteric one, and one she’d probably have no time for, but  what I enjoyed were her facts about the brain and it’s function and the research results that have led to mindfulness being used as a treatment. It was a bit like being given a factual explanation for what you already knew on trust or faith.

It’s written in a very accessible style, not aimed at neuroscientists, but doesn’t dumb-down. It doesn’t give you the techniques in detail, but there are many sources for taking up a mindfulness or meditation practice if you’re persuaded to try yourself. Even if you’re lucky enough not to experience depression, I’ll bet you know someone who does – it’s an interesting read and anything that helps make mental illness less of a stigma has to be good.

Right, off to find out what Prince Hywel is up to…

Happy reading.


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