May 2017: This month I have mostly been….

Feeling: A need to improve things

I don’t know what it is but lately I’ve had a real itch to either create or improve things. I’m not sure I’ve worked out quite what scratches the itch but I had the week off the other week and during that time painted our bathroom which has made the world of difference. Previously it was a terrible yellowy magnolia, the kind of colour that new-build magnolia turns after 15 years. The tiles (which aren’t what I’d choose at all) left us few options for colour but I love the deep blue we’ve gone with. It now feels more like our own home rather than somewhere rented. But I now want to do all sorts of things. I want shelves putting up in an alcove in the bathroom for storage and  I want a shelf put up in the hall above a door for extra shelving and for decoration purposes. I am replacing a floating shelf in the hall (which I generally use for all my stuff when getting ready) with the Alex Ekby drawer shelf from Ikea so that I can hide stuff away in the drawers. I am also replacing our hall mirror, which was already there when we moved in with a beautiful round gold Patsy mirror from Habitat. I also need to paint the door lintels and skirting boards. I’m going to get a handyman in to do most of it because they’ll be faster, better and the shelves have more of a chance of not falling down within five minutes of me putting something on them. I’m quite excited though, we should have done it ages ago.

Reading: The Power by Naomi Alderman

This had been on my wishlist for a while, waiting for the paperback version to come out. On the day we went to Whitstable it must have just been released and so I picked it up along with a number of others. It was well timed as it’s just been named the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction winner. So what did I think? I loved the start and the concept that suddenly women had the power to hurt people and to see how society reacted to the tables being turned in terms in terms of physical power and how that changed the balance of power. However, I wasn’t mad keen on the second half. The book moved away slightly from the characters as the focus of the story and onto a wider political context, but there was simultaneously too much and not enough on that for a reader to really get into. The ending felt rushed to me and a bit like the author ran out of somewhere to go with it. I didn’t really understand the end of the Roxy strand of story and I think it’s because as a reader I wasn’t given enough of an insight into her internal process to be able to reconcile the ending with her character’s journey. The same with Allie, her ending seemed odd too.

Has anyone else read it? What did you think? A deserved winner?

Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

Along a similar theme (Margaret Atwood was Naomi Alderman’s writing mentor), this month I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve been waiting for it to hit the small screen for a long time as I’m a big Margaret Atwood fan. In January I dug out my copy of The Handmaid’s Tale to read on the plane on my work trip to Japan and pretty much devoured it on the trip out there. It had been years since I read it and its power hadn’t diminished. In terms of how it translates to screen, it’s taken on a more thriller element, whereas the moments in the book which are most chilling are those moments of quiet desperation, which are difficult to translate to TV. It’s still pretty close to the book though, close enough to make me a happy girl.

Planning: Nothing (other than a revamp of our flat, see above)

Eek, give me something to plan!

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