Monday, February 17, 2020

This week....

I'm reading....

This week I started reading The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin which, as you may have guessed, is about a bookshop in Paris. So far, it's a fun read, and there are numerous quotes about books, bookshops and Paris that have already caught my attention. This is the first of a trilogy set in Paris, with the other two being The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower and The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysee. It is,however, connected to a different trilogy by the same author and, as someone who prefers to read in order, I do feel as though I have walked in part way through Sarah's story.

I have been contemplating what these types of books are called, whether they have a sub genre or category of their own because there does seem to be a lot of them. Generally, they are the story of an outsider moving to a place, or someone who is coming back to the town they grew up in but feels like an outsider, and the locations are always made to seem so desirable, whether it be a major tourist destination like Paris or a remote Scottish island, they often have a cartoony cover, usually feature an unlikely romance and they are always described a feel good or something similar.

When I look back at my reading history I can see a few different examples. I've read a couple of different books by Jenny Colgan which would fall into this category of book. Welcome to Rosie Hopkin's Sweet Shop of Dreams and Christmas at Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop are both set in a small village in England and The Cafe by the Sea, The Endless Beach and Christmas on the Island set in the islands at the north of Scotland. I've also read Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop and The Little French Bistro. I;m sure that there are others that I have read too.

It also doesn't take much searching to find other examples. Want to find a book of this kind set in Provence, Verona, Italian mountains, Greek Islands, small town USA, Copenhagen, Croatia all you have to do is look.....the list of possibilities is endless!

Have you read any really good examples of this kind of book?

I'm watching....

We started watching The Stranger this week. It is a British thriller that stars Richard Armitage, Dervla Kirwan and Jennifer Saunders and it is based on a  Harlan Coben book. We've watched the first couple of episodes and so far so good.

A few years ago, I was pretty obsessed with Richard Armitage, but I wasn't alone. It's hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Kristie J from Ramblings on Romance was leading the Great North and South crusade, and since then I have rewatched the series many times, watched The Hobbit movies, listened to audiobooks that he narrates (because that voice is just aural bliss) and every Christmas I try to rewatch the final two episodes of The Vicar of Dibley, just because...well...Richard!

We also started watching the Ken Burns documentary about country music called Country Music. I've long been a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and visiting Nashville last year was a bucket list item for me! I would love to go back again one day!

In life...

I traumatised myself last week!

I have a spreadsheet that I have been maintaining since 2004 which lists all the books I have read including date finished, author, and the ratings I gave amongst other things. At one point, I even recorded every book that I acquired so it was an accurate reflection of my TBR pile. I stopped doing that a while ago, but it still is my go to resource if I want to check up on something I have read over the last 15 years. I have it in Google sheets because it meant that I could update the details wherever or whenever although that is a bit harder now as my current employer has blocked all access to Google documents/spreadsheets along with any thing else where you can share files with external parties.

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday post the theme was "Love Freebie" and so I decided I would look for any titles that included some variation on the word love. So the obvious first step is to put a filter on to find any words that include the letters  "lov". So far, so good.

Where I ran into trouble, was having completed that step I accidentally dragged one title down the list, so suddenly I had around 40 books that also had the title of The Virgin's Lover by multiple different authors, instead of just one, and unfortunately, my panicked undo, undo, undo resulted in only limited corrections.

After completely freaking out about having ruined something that I have been maintaining for so long, I spent the next two nights trawling through my blog, author websites and Goodreads to try and rebuild the list. I think it is right now, or maybe I should say I hope it is.'

On Friday it was Valentine's Day. One of the things that still surprises me about my husband is that right from our first Valentine's Day he has been keen to go out for dinner on the day. We are not supposed to do presents, although he doesn't necessarily stick with that. In previous years we have gone into the city and had dinner along the riverfront. This year we decided to do something a little different, and went for a Sunset Safari at the local open range zoo. As part of the package you got to go on a "safari" tour, have an African inspired dinner and then there was a drumming and dancing show.

Apart from the fact that it was very wet, we had a good night, although I think he struggled with the safari idea a bit because he grew up in South Africa and so has been on safari more times than he can remember so this was like safari lite. For a lot of people though this is as close as they will get and it was quite fun.

I enjoyed our outing, and it bought back memories of when we went out into the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve when we went to South Africa a couple of years ago. I can't wait to go back again!

Posts from the last week

Top 10 Tuesday - Love books (traumatising!)
Review of Chalk Hill trilogy by Lily Malone
Weekend Cooking: Beef and Vegetable Red Curry

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date


  1. I had something similar happen to me with a spreadsheet that I've maintained for years. I feel your pain!

  2. I guess either a sub genre or trope for The Bookshop on the Seine. I enjoyed the story although most likely won't read the others as it was only the book aspect that drew me to the reading.

    1. Too early for me to tell yet whether I will read on or not Kathryn!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful Valentine's Day! Love the safari idea. :) And so sorry to hear about the spreadsheet thing. Something like that can be enough to give one a heart attack lol when it's something you've maintained for so long! Glad you were able to mostly work it out...

    Have a great week!

    1. It was a very nice way to spend Valentine's Day night Greg. And yes, definitely heart attack material!

  4. I think there must be hundreds of the Moving-and-Starting-Over variety of story (though Bookshop on the Seine is just a temporary trade). They often seem to involve starting food-related businesses, for some reason. I'm pretty sure I could write a book like this.

    Love your Valentine's celebration. Unique.

    1. Deb I think you just need to get the right mix of feel good and emotion as well a great location!

  5. Oooh, a safari sounds super fun! I've never been on anything like that. We definitely avoid going out on Valentine's Day - all the restaurants are busy and chaotic. We do a family dinner at home instead. We can get dinner out any time - we don't need to do it when places are crazy busy.

    Also, yes, the going home trope is one of my favorites. I don't know what the genre would/should be called, but I know exactly what you're talking about!

    1. Susan, we go out for dinner on other occasions too, but it is nice to do something special on V Day!

  6. Beautiful post.Love them all. Thanks for sharing it!



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