An Leughadair

An Leughadair

I tend to read non-fiction: history, archaeology, folklore, Gaelic polytheism, and witchcraft.  I listen to fiction: Scandi-Nordic crime, magical realism, and Scottish authors.

Reading progress update: I've listened 360 out of 547 minutes.
Kidnapped - Kieron Elliott, Robert Louis Stevenson
Reading progress update: I've listened 227 out of 547 minutes.
Kidnapped - Kieron Elliott, Robert Louis Stevenson

I found this a rather slow story to start, but it's getting quite good now.

Club Leughaidh Cuilean Craicte

An deagh naidheachd: tha sinn a-nis air letheach slighe dhan àireimh de dh'fho-sgrìobhaidhean a cheadaicheas dhuinn cumail oirnn agus sia mìosan eile de leabhraichean-caibideil Gàidhlig dha cloinn 7-12 a chur a-mach. Naidheachd nach eil cho math: gus 100 ball a ruigsinn air 31 Cèitean, feumaidh sinn triùir bhall ùra co-dhiù gach uile latha dhan uair sin.


An cuidich thu sinn a chuideachadh cloinn ri leughadh airson tlachd anns a' Ghàidhlig? Bhiodh sinn fada nad chomain nam b' urrainn dhut bruidhinn ri caraidean agus ris an teaghlach mu Chlub Leughaidh Cuilean Craicte, am fiosrachadh a sgaoileadh, agus soighnigeadh cuideachd, mur an do rinn thu mar-thà e!


Ma dh'obraicheas sinn còmhla, togaidh sinn coimhearsnachd de luchd-leughaidh Gàidhlig òga - ach feumaidh sinn cuideachadh bhuat an toiseach.


Airson barrachd fiosrachaidh agus gus soighnigeadh: Fo-sgrìobh


The good news: we’re nearly half way to the number of subscriptions that will let us go ahead and produce another six months of Gaelic chapter books for kids aged 7-12. The not so good news: to get to 100 members by May 31 we need at least three sign-ups per day between now and then.

Can you help us help children to read for pleasure in Gaelic? We’d be really grateful if you could talk to friends and family about Club Leughaidh Cuilean Craicte, share our information, and sign up if you haven’t already!

If we all work together we can build a community of young Gaelic readers – but we need your help.

For more information and to sign up: Subscribe



Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
Secrets of the Sea House (Unabridged) - Elisabeth Gifford

This story is set on Harris in the Outer Hebrides, and incorporates elements of folklore, and history.   A slow starter, but I'm beginning to enjoy it.

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.
Death of a Dustman: Hamish Macbeth, Book 16 (Unabridged) - M.C. Beaton

I thought it was all over, but it wasn't.

Reading progress update: I've read 90%.
Guilt  - Jussi Adler-Olsen, Martin Aitken, Steven Pacey

Just as it's getting exciting, I arrive at work and have to wait hours before hearing what happens. 

4.5 Stars
The Waves of ManannĂ¡n mac Lir, the Irish God of the Sea
The Waves of Manannan Mac Lir: The Irish God of the Sea - Charles W. MacQuarrie

Why did I read it?  I was searching out a reasonably priced copy of "The Biography of the Irish God of the Sea from the Voyage of Bran (700 A.D.) to Finnegans Wake (1939): The Waves of Manannán" by Charles W. MacQuarrie when I stumbled upon this children's book by the Isle of Man based publishers, Lily Publications Limited.   Given there are few books out there for children on the Irish myths - most are out of print and hard to come by - I thought I should like to read it.

What's it about? This collection of stories about Manannán mac Lir has been translated and freely adapted by the author with the intention of being suitable for children. In these stories Manannán serves as a tester, and a teacher to the mortals he encounters. Sometimes he appears as a nobleman, and sometimes as a churl; sometimes he imparts his wisdom gently, and sometimes gingerly; sometimes he teaches philosophy, and sometimes good manners, but he always seems to have the best interests of civilization at heart.

What did I like?  Although this collection is aimed at children, I found it difficult to discern which age group.   The book is a very quick read, containing four tales, along with intermittent illustrations in the form of watercolours.  It took me less than an hour to read all 54 pages, even with distractions. The stories are heavily condensed, and easily digestible on the whole.  

What didn't I like?  There is a mix of English dialects within the text: American, English, and Irish, and I found this somewhat jarring, along with some obvious editorial mistakes, and strange, seemingly out-of-place sentences, which might be the result of translation issues(?).   I also struggled with one or two words in the text, though I fortunately had an online dictionary nearby.   Two, consecutive tales where Manannán meets Finn may have parents answering some awkward questions about how Finn can end up dead in the first story, but walking in the forest on the next page, in the next tale as though nothing has happened.

Would I recommend it? Yes.  It's a rarity.  However, I do so with the caveat of not knowing for which age group the material is suitable.

Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Stars
"An Irish Country Wedding" by Patrick Taylor
An Irish Country Wedding - Patrick Taylor, John Keating

Why did I read it? I have thoroughly enjoyed all the other books in the "Irish Country" series written by Patrick Taylor in audio format, and as this is the seventh book of nine (thus far) I had to read it.

What's it about? Dr Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly and Kitty O'Hallorhan are (finally) going to make it down the aisle after many years, and Dr. Barry Laverty is set to say his farewells to Ballybucklebo. Of course, there are the usual shenanigans of the residents of Ballybucklebo to negotiate, and patients for the two doctors to attend to, and some issues to solve.

What I did I enjoy? "An Irish Country Wedding" seemed like a return to form for the series, where we are back in the 1960s, northern Ireland village and hearing about the everyday lives of the two doctors, their housekeeper, Mrs Kinky Kincaid at No. 1, and everyone else in Ballybucklebo. The last few books seem to have taken a diversion to the past, and I wasn't so enthralled as I was with this book.  The stories may not have have unusual twists, but that is part of the pleasure. Gentle humour injected into hard times, a sense of community shown with rose-tinted glasses, and escapism is what the "Irish Country" series provides.  The author, Patrick Taylor, writes with such warmth for his characters, it's very hard not to love them, even when they are misbehaving.

The audio versions of the "Irish Country" series is superb, and "An Irish Country Wedding" is no exception.  Yet again, John Keating does an excellent job of narrating these stories; I could not imagine anyone else taking up the role.  What a joy it is to listen to these books during long, boring commutes on grey days - Mr Keating's readings of these heart-warming stories really lift the spirits.

What didn't I enjoy? There is a surprise patient for the two doctors in this book, and I must admit I was very concerned, and a little upset, despite knowing the books generally have uplifting endings. It was certainly an unexpected turn.

Would I recommend it? Oh yes. These books can be read out of order, but I suggest reading them all from the beginning; you won't be disappointed.

[REBLOG] Some Advice From IT Professionals on How to Handle the Latest Goodreads Shenanigans

from Kaia


As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband is a programmer. He works for an international company with a high bar for its IT staff. 


I ran GR's latest nonsense--their claim that Booklikes is causing Goodreads content to be deleted--past him, and the verdict is that this is actually probably GR's fault. More than likely is has to do with flaws in their API code that are more like security holes than features. Other sites should never be able to delete GR user content. The fact that it may have somehow happened indicates that the blame lies with Goodreads, and they're trying to use Booklikes as a scapegoat.


My husband also ran this past his colleagues, who agreed that there's only one way to handle this:


Run. Pack up your shit and get the hell out of dodge, because Goodreads is not a site you can trust. Their API code is a mess and they're trying to blame it on someone else so they don't have to take responsibility for exposing their user base to potential security breaches. The best thing you can do for yourself is jump ship.


I'm appalled at Goodreads' behavior. Their lack of professionalism and unwillingness to take responsibility for their mistakes is horrifying. They're a shit snowball rolling down a hill and with each new fuck up, the mess gets uglier and uglier. Find a place that respects you as a user, a place that doesn't try to censor you and doesn't think you're an idiot who can't see through their bullshit. That place is not Goodreads. 

Reblogged from Thalia @ Pictures in the Words
Reblogged Image
Please spread this everywhere. Reblog, reblog!
Please spread this everywhere. Reblog, reblog!

Reblogging because it's important.

Reblogged from Great Imaginations

Rebel children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory. ~ Russell Brand

Missing Book Covers

I am one of the refugees from GR, and my books are currently being uploaded (it's taken over 3 days so far), but I'm struggling with getting covers.  This will be the third time I will have spent weeks scanning, and uploading bespoke covers and, hopefully, the last.


In the interim, I am unable to change the cover of this book: 


"Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic" by Bill Griffiths (ISBN:  9781898281337)

This is how it current looks on my shelf:



BL, Image, Book, Cover photo MissingCover-BL.jpg


Yet, I am unable to change it, despite having the cover scanned.


Any help/suggestions welcome.

4 Stars
"The Wine of Angels" by Phil Rickman: An Audiobook Review
The Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins, #1) - Phil Rickman

Why did I read (listen to) it?


I had this on my iTunes in audio format for ages, so I can't actually remember why I chose it, but I'm glad I did.


What's it about? Merrily Watkins arrives in a Hereford Village with her teenage daughter, Jane. Merrily is the priest-in-charge and soon finds herself courting controversy, while struggling to make sense of her dreams. Jane, too, finds herself in a sticky situation. When they finally move into the vicarage, events seem like they will overtake them.


What did I like? The dramatic opening during a wassailing was interesting, but then the book started again with the mundane matters of moving from the pub to the vicarage, and providing an introduction to the characters introduced in the first scene. Bit of a jolt, but then matters build, and build to the point I had to listen to the last three hours without interruption - I wanted to get to the climax.


I liked, too, the somewhat supernatural element interwoven into a mystery. I am a fan of crime fiction and this added a new, and interesting element. The story was well told: dramatic opening, a quick come down, and then an enthralling ride to the finish. The characters seemed stereotypical village types - at first - but as the story continued, it became clear that there was much going on underneath; some of which is never fully explored, much as happens in real life wherein you know there is more, but you're also very aware you will never fully understand. The author really shows the incongruous nature of the modern village - old traditions meets chattering classes incomers.The audio edition I listened to from Audible was clear, and without fault.


What didn't I like? I have to admit, as much as the narration was good, and clear, the character voicing was such that I was not always sure which character was speaking. There was attempt at accents, but I was not convinced. 


Once or twice there were jumps in the time line of the story that I felt left too big a gap, and for this reason I have removed a star.


Would I recommend it? Actually I would, but I'm not entirely sure to whom. That said, I will be reading the next book in the series to see how this unique, crime fiction develops.

3 Stars
"Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom" by Ken Ilgunas
Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom - Ken Ilgunas

Why did I read it?


I have a significant amount of unsecured debt which I have been paying off for years, and I am contemplating returning to university to change my life, so this book definitely caught my eye, having read the synopsis.


What’s it about? Ken Ilgunas recounts his adventures as he seeks to pay off his undergraduate debts in the first part of the book, and, then how he secured his post-graduate degree at Duke University without going into further debt.What did I think?


Though this book was what I thought it might be from the synopsis - it provided food for thought as I contemplated my own future, and how I might manage financially - somehow it missed it's mark with me. I certainly know I could not undertake the route the author chose to become, and remain debt free.


Ken Ilgunas worked in some awful places to pay off his original debt, before living in a van, parked up on campus, while undertaking post-graduate study Duke university. The path he chose to travel is definitely different from the norm including working in a remote outpost in Alaska, working as part of an environmental group both of which included room and board, so any earnings could be utilised to pay off his debt quicker. Ken then undertook a journey with a group seeking to replicate the experience of the Canadian voyageurs of the 18th and 19th centuries before undertaking his post-graduate degree without going back into debt.


Although there are some interesting anecdotes about his adventures while reducing his debt, and he provides details of his budgets, overall, something is lacking in the telling of Ken Ilgunas's tale; I’m not sure I know what though. In some sections of the book I felt I was being preached at about how bad it is to join corporate America, or the rat race; in other places, the narration became somewhat wordy in describing feelings about places and/or people. As much as the author seemed to go into detail, I’m not sure I really know just how he did cope on a day-to-day level under the strict, self-imposed budgetary, and living conditions. Throughout this recollection, I always had the feeling something was missing.


Ken Ilgunas eschews the normal path people take through life, consisting of (in his opinion) getting an education, working in a job they may dislike to paying off the debts they accrue getting that education, getting a mortgage, continuing to work in a job they dislike to pay off the mortgage and other consumer debts, then retiring without having really lived. It’s a point-of-view held by many who seek the simpler life, but others may disagree believing it is more about “dropping out” of humanity, something which Ken’s mother hints at in the book.


The narration by Nick Podehl was quite well done, though I did query the pronunciation of some words, but this might have been accounted for by the difference between American and UK English. The audio edition I downloaded from Audible was crisp, clear and without any faults.


"Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom" is an interesting read about one young man’s journey to find his place in the world, and getting out from the under burden of being in debt, but it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me.


Would I recommend it? Yes, I would recommend it to any person contemplating university and taking on student loans. Read this first.

4 Stars
"The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien
The Third Policeman - Flann O'Brien

Why did I read it?  It was recommended to me by the son of an Irish author as essential reading.


What's it about?  Yes, I'm still trying to figure it out.


What did I like?  The narration by Jim Norton was fine and the audio was clear.


As to the book:  A very different style of book from my usual; and I guessed where it was heading, yet, despite this, it held my attention.  I'm sorry, it's hard to describe.  It starts someone like a biography, but soon diverts into something "other". 


What wasn't too like?  I was never sure where this book was going, but I cannot decide if that is a good thing or not.


Would I recommend it?  Yes, just for the experience alone.

currently reading

Progress: 130/448pages
The Last Witness: A D.C.I. Daley Thriller, Book 2 - Denzil Meyrick, David Monteath, Audible Studios
Understanding Scots Law - Christina Ashton
Going Loco: Further Adventures of a Scottish Country Doctor - Tom Rob Smith, Tom Rob Smith, Isis Audio Books
Norse Mythology - Audible Studios, Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman