Tag Archives: 17 for 2017

Books I’ve Read 2017

As it is quickly coming to the end of 2017, I have started to review my list of 17 for 2017. And oh dear, so many things are far from complete! Over the next couple of weeks I will have to see what I can do to improve the situation, but some are beyond saving.

I thought I may cover some of my list as individual posts. So I am starting with Number 11 – Read eleven new authors

These days I spend more time reading children’s books than adult fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading stories to my two, and we have some favourite authors which we have read again this year including Dick King-Smith, David Walliams, Roald Dahl, Holly Webb and Lucy Daniels. This year we discovered Jenny Nimmo, a British author. I have to include her in my list of eleven to reach my total! The first book we read of hers this year was Dog Star. A lovely tale of a child who wanted a dog and got a star of sorts! We subsequently found Toby in the Dark in the library, which we also enjoyed.

So to adult fiction. My 6 month list summary had just two books. So here is another eight to complete the task (well almost as two books are unfinished)!

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was probably one of the top three of the reading year. It is a story of a fifteen year old girl in Nigeria. Her life is ruled over by a fanatically religious and abusive father.

LaRosa by Louise Erdrich, again in the top 3, is set in North Dakota. The story follows the lives of two families who are neighbours. There is a tragic accident when one of the father’s shoots his neighbour’s son while out hunting. The story intertwines Native American culture with how the families deal with the death of the young boy.

The Time is Now by Pauline McLynn. Like LaRose there are elements of the spirit world in this book which follows the lives of a group of people in a flat in Soho. The people are from the past, present and future and yet their lives are connected.

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stemple is the best natural history book I read this year, and so again in my top 3. I found it a very engaging read. The focus of the book is the author’s wish to turn a barren arable field into something rich and full of life.

438 Days: An extraordinary true story of survival at sea by Jonathan Franklin. This is exactly what it says on the tin! A fascinating account of a man’s will to survive against the odds.

Common Ground by Rob Cowan (still reading). Cowan explores the wildlife of a piece of ground not far from where he lives.

The Man who made things out of Wood – Robert Penn (Unfinished –  but will probably take it up again at some point).

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (autobiography). If this book hadn’t taken me so long to read I may have reached my target! Still it was an interesting read about a man who was determined though hard work and grit to achieve his goal. I was not aware that Springsteen suffered from depression and it is interesting to read how he deals with it.

There may have been others, but I didn’t write them down!

Over the year, I have also read some of my favourite authors. Of those Colum McCann’s  – Thirteen Ways of Looking was probably my favourite. The title refers to the novella in the book but the book also includes three short stories. I was particularly moved by Sh’Khol, the story of a mother and her deaf son.

And Annie Proulx’s Postcards, the poignant story of a family of New England farmers – the Bloods, and how they lost their land.

 

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Six months in 17 for 2017

So six months in how is my list of 17 for 2017 doing. Definitely time to review.

17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.

Completed. I have been really lucky this year as I have been asked to run various workshops, both on pollinators and biodiversity. I really enjoyed working with our local country-life museum doing a biodiversity workshop with 30 school children a couple of weeks ago and will be doing a family biodiversity workshop for heritage week in August.

16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Only five so far. A wood mouse, two pygmy shrew and two roadkill (badger and fox).

15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes

Six to date to friends and family. This doesn’t include things grown and planted in school garden.

14. Fourteen fun days out with the family

Union wood, Enniscoe House,  Longford Demesne, Ross beach. And summer holidays have just begun so more planned.

13. Learn thirteen new words

Oxford dictionaries.com is a great website I have been looking at. I have learned the world muumuu. Which I think is great addition to my scrabble vocabulary.  It’s a type of dress in case you were wondering.

I also like “mouse potato”  which is someone who spends a lot of time on the computer for leisure or work.

And “nagware” which is computer software which is free for a time but then constantly reminds you to buy!

12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic

Need more work here.  Short post on International Biodiversity Day, and one on Earth Day with some practical ideas, a couple of bee ones including plants for bees, and one on Climate change,

11. Read eleven new authors

A boy made of  blocks by Keith Stuart: A story about a dad learning how to love and see his autistic child just as a boy and not as a child with autism.

The trouble with goats and sheep by Joanne Cannon: A who done it with a difference, sometimes viewed through the eyes of a twelve year old.

10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year

Only four so far. Hopefully will get more done in the summer

9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden

Am creating two new wildflower area. Work in progress

8. Discover 8 new things

Chi seeds, beneficial health benefits and good for baking

Plantain (the plant) has amazing properties. Need to do more research

7. Send seven letters to friends

Only one yet

6. Try six new recipes

Oh dear, failing again. Must try harder! Though did try frying fresh kale leafs with some lamb cutlets which proved popular with everyone in the house.

5. Have five swims

Only paddles yet!

4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need

I visited a school to give them some advice on making their school grounds more environmentally friendly

3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year

So far I have only stuck with the old reliables!

2. Record two new species for the garden

Done. Humming bird hawk moth and a carabid beetle who’s name I can’t just recall.

1. Attend one cultural event

Nothing yet!

Ribworth plantain

Ribworth plantain

17 for 2017

So it is a new year. And I intend to start with an attitude of hope, that we are heading for a year that will bring, as a friend said, some calm. What can I do for 2017? I’ve been mulling over this question for a few weeks now and here is what I have come up with. (If you are interested this was my 2016 list and how I did).

17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.

As some of you may know, I do help run pollinator courses and I am sometimes asked to give wildlife walks/talks in a voluntary capacity. What I would like to do is reach seventeen people through these means and help them learn more about the natural world.

16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Last year my goal was relatively easily reached so this year I want to make it harder by concentrating on mammals, and upping the number of mammal records I send from the 10 in 2016, to 16 for 2017.

15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes

Last year it was twelve so I should be able to manage 15.

14. Fourteen fun days out with the family

There is nothing better than finding somewhere nice to enjoy for all the family.

13. Learn thirteen new words

English words or even some foreign words I am not going to be too fussy!

12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic

Many of us are aware how much our environment is suffering, so I hope to post blogs that will raise awareness and maybe give examples of things we can do as responsible citizens

11. Read eleven new authors

This year I’d like to read books by authors I haven’t read before. These could be new authors or just ones I haven’t previously read.

10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year

I have not changed this from last year as firstly I can’t think of a new number 10 plus this is something I want to continue to do, so I feel it is important that it remains.

9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden

8. Discover 8 new things

This has been inspired by Cathy at (https://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/17-for-2017-the-beginning/). It could be anything but I would like to focus on health and researching a couple of health topics that affect our family.

7. Send seven letters to friends

Proper letters, not just emails!

6. Try six new recipes

Okay as I failed miserably last year on this one, so I have lowered the number and will hopefully achieve a few more this time!

5. Have five swims

Ideally in the Atlantic – I hope the weather is good this summer!

4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need

3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year

2. Record two new species for the garden

1. Attend one cultural event

A play, concert or something like this.

Ross Beach