Away from my desk : the extended version

Lake Huron sunset

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Scott and I don’t get away every summer, but this year we decided to rent a cottage, and it was fabulous to be truly away from my desk for an entire week. The cottage was equipped with wi-fi, so I I wasn’t totally unplugged, but doing a little networking on social media is as close to work as it got.

With all that extra downtime, you can be sure I got caught up on my reading! I finished one book, read a second, and started a third (which I’ve since finished). Here they are, in order of how I rated them on Goodreads:

The Journey (Northwest Passage #2)

Every day I receive an email from BookBub, letting me know about deals on ebooks for Kindle, Kobo, and iBooks (since I have all three apps on my iPad, any format works for me). Often ebooks are available free for a limited time, and I especially keep my eye open for those. I’m cautiously selective when choosing ebooks, having previously discovered that sometimes things are free for a reason (e.g. David H. Burton’s Broken: A Paranormal Romance).

John A. Heldt’s The Journey is one that I obtained this way, and although it could have used some serious editing, it was an unusual yet enjoyable mix of chick lit and time travel. It tells the story of a middle-aged woman who suddenly finds herself thrown into her own past, where she has the opportunity to change some of the decisions she and others have made in their lives. I would be happy to read other titles in this series, which I believe are not connected, but all are about time travel.

Saving Saffron Sweeting

This was another free Kindle ebook, but this one was already on my “To Read” list, as author Pauline Wiles and I go way back on Twitter, so I was very excited to receive it.

Reading a book by someone you know can bring about a certain amount of anxiety. What if you don’t like it and they ask you what you thought? Fortunately, in this case, I didn’t have to worry. Saving Saffron Sweeting is both well-written and a pleasure to read, with very likeable characters and a charming setting in a small English village called Saffron Sweeting.

I look forward to reading Wiles’ second novel, Secrets in the Sky, also set in Saffron Sweeting.

The Infinite Plan

My sister suggested I read this novel by Isabel Allende when she found out that the next item on the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading List Challenge was a book that was originally written in another language. Her recommendations are usually spot on, and this was no exception.

I don’t feel equipped to describe this wonderful book in a way that does it justice, but adjectives that come to mind are rich and multi-layered. I love the way Allende takes us through the life of Gregory Reeves from early childhood to adulthood, including his struggles with the world he lives in, his relationships, and his own attitudes.

I also loved the reference to events of my youth, such as the Vietnam War and the hippie movement in San Francisco, which form part of the backdrop and play an important role in the story. And Margaret Sayers Peden did a fabulous job of translating from Spanish to English – there was almost no sense at all that this was indeed a translation, which is often not the case (see my comments about Nana).

If you like a good meaty novel that spans several decades, add this one to your list!

2015 Reading Challenge

Coincidentally, the first title discussed by my book group (long before I joined) was Isabel Allende’s Eva Luna.

What’s so special about vacation, anyway?

Other than one rainy day, we spent most of the week sitting outdoors, soaking in the fresh air and the sights, sounds and smells of Ontario’s West Coast, and of course it went by much too quickly. View some of my photos here. We’re already talking about going back next year, but in the meantime, I’m trying to find ways to keep that “vacation” feeling in my everyday life. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Stay up later
  • Sit on the balcony to read or just relax
  • Designate certain days as computer free
  • Shop at a more interesting grocery store
  • Drink beer in the afternoon
  • Take a drive in the country
  • Play cribbage and listen to tunes

If I did even one of these each week, I bet I would notice a difference.

Speaking of vacation, I’ve often wondered which scenario is more appealing: a Permanent Vacation or A Million Vacations? Would it be better to be on vacation forever, or over and over again?


Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Kathy Stinson on July 29, 2015 at 8:12 am

    So glad you enjoyed The Infinite Plan as much as I did, Janet. I’ve been slow to comment on this post because I’ve been away from MY desk too. 🙂

    • Janet on September 9, 2015 at 10:55 am

      And due to a technical glitch, I’m just seeing this now. I guess you’ll soon be back at your desk!

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