Atomic Habits by James Clear
I didn’t read every page of this book, but browsed through it enough to glean a lot of good information. Very organized and practical writing; it lays out all the information needed to make change in your life, and it doesn’t happen overnight. The two things I found most pertinent: your habits (good and bad) come about because of what you made into your identity and the key is not to set goals but to set systems in place to reach goals.
Using myself as an example: weight loss. I’ve been trying to undo 40 years of bad habits that led me to the weight I am now. At the ripe old age I am, this seemed at the start to be formidable. Why? Because after decades of bad eating habits, I’ve formed my identity: I like to eat bad things. Often. And although I keep setting goals, there’s always something that comes up that knocks me off track (I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving & Christmas) What this book taught me is to change my identity. No, not by jumping into the nearest phone booth and turning into SUPER HEALTHY MAN (or woman, you get the idea) but by changing my way of thinking. And this leads me to the second point: don’t set goals, set systems. In other words, form the steps needed to get to the outcome I want. So, in order to ensure the best outcome (I want to be a healthier weight) I have to set in place new habits that will change me from my identity of RABID CARB CONSUMER to my desired new identity of HEALTHIER PERSON (but still consumer of carbs, but in a less rabid manner)
I’m just beginning to implement what I’ve learned (and also applying it in different ways. I’m starting to think of things as “Later Me”. Will Later Me appreciate that I washed and put away all the dishes tonight? Yes. Will Later Me be annoyed that I left my pajamas in an inside-out heap on the floor or will Later Me be happy when it’s bedtime that I took a second to fold them neatly? You get the idea. Stupidly small changes add up and change who you are.
Murder Is for Keeps (Penny Brannigan #8) by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Between 3 and 4 stars. Read through this one quick as this series is always a good read a
nd gets me motivated to read more books. I missed this one when it came out, and after reading the latest book in the series, I backtracked to this one.
The main plot, the death of John Hardwick, felt like it stewed in the background until the AHA moment came. I also liked the side plot of the 90 year old cold case of the skeleton unearthed on the property. And I enjoyed it but it seemed a bit…off. Maybe because Garth is newly retired, so Penny wasn’t exactly in the thick of things. Maybe because the characters seem to be growing and progressing. But it all took a backseat to Penny’s cold dark heart and her seeming indifference to Gareth finally giving up on her and taking off to be with a woman he’d just met. While it could be perceived as making Penny a bit unlikable, I think it uncovers how little Penny has been fleshed out as a character. She has stagnated, but the other characters haven’t. Hmm.
And am I the only one who thinks of Mrs Lloyd as Hyacinth from Keeping Up Appearances? And Florence as Hyacinth’s neighbor Cynthia? Can never shake that image.
Anyway, an enjoyable book but one that highlighted the shortcomings of the series. And frankly Gareth, I think you’re better off.
Marsupials and Murder (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy Book 13) by Diana Xarissa
Poor Fenella is feeling the burden of the millions of dollars she inherited resting on her shoulders. A year after she moved to the Isle of Man after her aunt died, charities on the island have begun their incessant requests for money. One such charity, run by Darrell Higgins monitors the local Wallaby population. Thinking Fenella will donate rather than volunteer, Higgins is surprised when Fenella signs up to take an hour on the next hunt.
The day of the hunt dawns cold and rainy and Fenella, along with police inspector Daniel, huddle in a wet field for their hour long shift before heading back to their car, but not before discovering Darrell dead, yeeted under a bush.
This was one of those books that had a boatload of suspects but it was apparent (to me anyway) who the culprit was, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment one bit. Darrell’s ex-wives were a hoot, I’d love to spend an hour at the Tale & Tail listening to them. As always, the usual gang was there, Shelly immersed in writing her romance novel, Mona the ghost, Katie the kitten’s antics and even the dogs make a quick appearance. Always a good time to catch up with all of them. I thought for sure that Fenella was finally going to move forward with her romance with Daniel but it’s becoming less of a tease and more of a chore with those two.
Overall, another enjoyable time on the Isle of Man and looking forward to the next book!
Remembering The Dead (Penny Brannington #10 by Ellizabeth J Duncan
I’ve read this series since the beginning and I love how the world of Llanelen and the characters have grown and expanded as the series progressed. In this one, Penny is tasked with preparing an elegant old fashioned dinner party at the local estate, featuring a historic artifact – The Black Chair, an honorary award given to celebrated bards; this one was given to a poet who died in WWI and was posthumously awarded the chair. After being refurbished, it is set to become the feature attraction at a local museum, but not before being unveiled at the dinner party. The dinner party mostly goes off without a hitch until a waiter goes missing and is later found dead -and the chair is missing! Penny sets off to find out who killed the young man and to find the missing historic piece.
Penny is quite involved with this one, even to go so far as to take the ferry to Ireland to track down a suspect. She also has to deal with a caravan of gypsies who set up camp in a field next to her house, the re-appearance of Gareth, who is in town to settle some affairs, and several other small problems that crop up. I enjoyed watching Penny slowly untangle all the threads to expose a killer and a thief, and I love catching up with the villagers in the tiny Welsh town.
Always a good read, this is another excellent addition to the Penny Brannigan series.