Books: Fried Green Tomatoes

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Inspired by my good friend ‘Shaista’s Books‘ I wanted to document my reading more, I am liable to forget why I loved some of the fiction I happily consume. I have been aware of the film for a few years and was always interested, so I bought Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe from Gutter Books in Dublin on a lovely trip earlier this year.

For some reason it took me many weeks to read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so I wanted to press it upon loved ones. On my copy, Harper Lee’s comment is emblazoned: ‘ A richly comic, poignant narrative.’ and this rings oh so true.

Moving between the town of Whistle Stop and Birmingham, Alabama during the Depression and Birmingham, and a nursing home in Birmingham Alabama in the 1980s there are echoes of ‘The Help.’

It’s a novel about love. And friendship. It addresses huge themes subtly such as sexism and racism. The characters are strong and larger than life loveable. The main part of the story centres around the small town of Whistle Stop, and namely the cafe that Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamieson run. There are hilarious ‘newsletters’ from Dot Weems the post mistress of the town. And in the 1980s, Evelyn Couch befriends old Mrs Ninny Threadgoode in Rose Terrace Nursing Home, Alabama while her husband visits his grumpy mother. Evelyn and the reader are riveted by the stories of bravery, the ridiculous, true love and of course the murder trial…

Idgie Threadgoode is a deeply flawed character but one who knows the meaning of love, and who goes above and beyond for those around her, especially Ruth.

There are stories of real pain, taken in the stride of many of the main characters. The brilliant writing includes many tiny stories within stories that fill the reader with wonder and leave you drawing your own conclusions. Naughty Bird and Miss Fancy the elephant, so touching. I was telling my other half, my friend and my Mum all about it.

You can almost taste the barbecue and the lemon icebox pie!

I look forward to watching the film now. Something to look forward to, just as Ninny Threadgoode looked forward to Evelyn’s visits and the sweet treats.

It’s a book that does you good! It will stay with me for a long time.

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Image from here

Send Some Happy: The kind of post I would like…

Send Some Happy is a blog series with myself and the ever inspiring Zoe from Zoeprose We are both long-time snail mail and letter lovers, and we have some exciting post-themed blog posts up our sleeves for the next few months. But really, this isn’t about us, it’s about inspiring you to join us in promoting post. Each post Zoe and I will add a little challenge, if you feel so inclined to join us in sending happy post. It will probably be something fairly simple- we are all busy people- but a way to encourage you and us in our post sending. Share your thoughts/ pictures by using the hashtag #sendsomehappy on twitter or instagram.

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Hoping to read this soon/next. Love letters are my favourite.

A surprise hand written letter full of love to make me blush and cry. Everyone likes to know what they mean to another.

A job offer for the perfect one… as yet undreamed up.

A funny note from a far away friend full of hilarious stories and juicy gossip. Other people’s lives, especially those you love are endlessly interesting.

Birthday cards and even better…letters!

A mysterious package without the Amazon branding. Hand put together. How exciting.

A formal letter from a publishing company with the best news. Imagine. My heart stops to think of it. Really better get writing, then.

Invitation to important and joyful celebrations in friends lives.

Thick parchment paper and ink with secrets and stories.

Mostly I think it’s the love of people and words and my penchant for the old fashioned that drives my passion for post! There’s a chance to be creative and get inspired and reach out to people. I do think that I equally like plotting and putting together something for a friend to enjoy. I really believe that everyone likes a letter. The other day in work a colleague said he might send his girlfriend ‘something from the postman’ for their anniversary. I just started telling him to write a love letter and got really into it and he was just looking at me like…’I dunno about a LOVE letter…’ Ha.

My challenge for you is to have a think about the kind of thing you would love to receive from the dear postie, and then recreate it for someone else. It will brighten their day and have them showing off on Instagram! As long as they use our hashtag #sendsomehappy !

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Without Social Media…

About a week into lent, I decided to try giving up social media for the remaining five or so weeks. I was inspired by a friend who has a three month old baby and found that herself and her hubby were glued to their phones while a beautiful girl was gurgling and discovering the world for the first time. I don’t really know where I’m at with my faith but I try to honour Lent and make a bit of a sacrifice. I was already off chocolate and popcorn (!) which I have become obsessed with the last year or so.

To be honest I was excited to try it and test the freedom. I deleted the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps from my phone. Just so that I wouldn’t be tempted. I really feel that constantly checking facebook or updating instagram can really cloud my thinking and distract me from my life. I hated that I was checking all social media apps before I had even got up to go to the loo in the morning.

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When you look around on a bus or in a cafe, there are so many people scrolling through newsfeeds, captivated my a little ‘world’ on a tiny screen and missing all kinds of experiences around them. It’s such an unfulfilling use of time, and generally can be awful for self-esteem, I find. No one feels better about themselves or their lives after a three-hour facebook binge/stalk. There’s too much comparing, too much nastiness, too many people or situations that should be left well alone but it’s too tempting to peek and cause yourself hurt or grief.

Sidenote: what is up with people commenting when a baby is born, tagging the parents and trying to get in first when the new parents haven’t had a chance to meet their baby never mind put it on Facebook? You were lucky enough to get a special text or for someone to entrust this happy news to you, now please just be reverent and respect that the news is not yours to share with the world. Same kind of goes with engagement news and sometimes wedding pictures.

I have definitely have had more time to read, and I’m flying through books at the moment.Last three books: Ancient Light by John Banville, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. All excellent in their own way, and I do have plans to do some reviews.

I don’t have a TV in my room and my family is so big I don’t really attempt to watch TV at home. I have been a bit at a loose end at times, but I have recently started writing letters again and as I say, just feel better having a clearer head and not loosing hours in an unnecessary time suck.

Music of late is Stay Gold by First Aid Kit and still The Take Off and Landing of Everything by Elbow.

Unfortunately, blogging hasn’t really been affected! I should have been using the time to blast out at least several more posts per month. I’m really dying to do an overhaul but I don ‘t know where to start and I am disheartened by my ancient unreliable laptop. I do love this old blog though and it’s my only link with the writing world at the moment.

Interesting the things I have missed, also. Baby news of an old friend, new car news of my best friend, new cafe news from my very good other bestie and her hubby, a lot of breaking news stories, both at home and abroad as facebook was evidently my main way to see headlines. Facebook keep sending me emails with how many notifications I have which is terribly sneaky of them. And several people have commented that they miss my Instagrams which I am quite proud of. I think I miss Instagram most of all. I generally see facebook as a necessary evil.

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t share in my brother’s engagement photos and news, and share photos such as my selfie with David O’ Doherty today ! However, I have found myself sending individuals certain photos and funny videos, and others sending me stuff ‘since you’re off facebook’ so in a way it has encouraged more one to one personal connections and messages which are so valued and important. I have probably had conversations that I would never have had because it would just be assumed I would see it on Facebook. My friend took me to Starbucks one evening to update me on a mutual friend’s shock announcement which was quite exciting!  It kind of calls into question the way people announce things and the priority that is given to social media.

Chris Judge and David O'Doherty get a wee selfie with me after their event at the Humdinger children's Story festival on Saturday. I was there selling books with work. I love this event and these guys were so cool.

Chris Judge and David O’Doherty get a wee selfie with me after their event at the Humdinger children’s Story festival on Saturday. I was there selling books with work. I love this event and these guys were so cool.

So, with one week to go, I am glad I did it. It got easier and easier and it’s a relief to me not to be constantly checking and updating. It’s a few less ways for people to contact one. I think I will feel a bit of pressure when I go back on it. I do want to get rid of Facebook some day. I have a new phone with a brilliant camera so there have been plenty of missed Instagram opportunities, but equally plenty to look forward to! I think I have achieved all my aims of thinking clearer, reading more and trying not to miss life! With the added bonus of connecting in more real and personal ways with people and shaking myself a little freer of a modern addiction.